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Thailand kicks off Songkran

BANGKOK, April 13 (Bernama) � Songkran which is also known as the water festival kicks off in Thailand to mark the start of its traditional new year despite the drought in some parts of the country and calls to conserve water usage.

Songkran, which also features the world’s biggest water fight, draws tens of thousands tourists from around the world to celebrate the festival in the country, especially in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, and Hatyai.

The locals visit the temples as well as performing the bathing ritual of Buddha statues, an iconic ritual to wash away bad luck. It is also a family day for those working outside the hometown to spend time with loved ones.

In Bangkok, the scorching heat has not stopped the locals and tourists thronging the streets in Khaosan Road, Silom Road and areas within the Ratchaprasong shopping district for Songkran celebration.

Despite the local authority saying that the celebration at Thailand’s most popular water splashing location, Khaosan Road, will be on a smaller scale to prepare for the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn set for May 4 to 6, it has not dampened the mood for the celebration.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) recently announced that this year it would not host any entertainment show and event at Khaosan Road.

Clad in floral shirts and armed with colourful water guns, thousands of revellers turned the streets into a battlefield for water fights.

Despite calls from the relevant authority to conserve water, locals and tourists splashed water at each other. The calls never dampened the mood for the water battle.

Meanwhile, Thai authority also warned social media users not to share photos and videos of indecently dressed women and transgender during the Songkran celebration.Those found guilty could face a five-year jail term and/or a maximum Bt100,000 fine.

The Songkran festival is a long week-end holidays for locals and many of them take the opportunity to go back to their hometowns to celebrate the festival with family as the cabinet has approved to extend the holiday period to five days � April 12 to April 16.

Dubbed as Seven Deadly Days, statistics showed about 300 to 400 Thais die every year due to traffic accidents during the week-long holiday.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

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