Earth & Conservation

Songkran is The Biggest Water Fight in The World

At the Songkran festival in Thailand, you have no chance of staying dry.

<p>Photo: Reuters</p>

The Songkran festival in Thailand celebrates the start of the lunar New Year. Songkran means to 'move' or 'change place' in Thai, so people celebrate by spraying each other with water to cleanse them of their sins and offer a new beginning.

Songkran originally started as a religious celebration, where locals would collect water that had been poured over Buddha statues and was considered to have purifying qualities. It was then poured over village elders to bless them.

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While there are still some religious practices in place during Songkran, the modern celebrations have become much bigger and now involve enormous water fights, with both people and elephants, in cities and provinces all over the country. The photos in the slideshow below demonstrate the joyousness of the Songkran festival from many perspectives.

Sadly, this year's festival has been cut from four days to three because the country is experiencing its worst drought in decades, NBC News reports. Not only have temperatures been rising, but China has complete control over the Mekong river and right now they have six damns in place that are prohibiting water from flowing through Thailand.

Last month, China agreed to release water from one damn in Yunnan province, and while it won't solve the problem completely, it will provide more drinking water for some Thai citizens.

Elephant trainers, called "mahouts," paint their elephants before the start of the Songkran water festival celebration in Thailand's Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok.

Photo: Reuters

A woman is sprayed with water from elephants during Songkran celebrations in Ayutthaya province.

Photo: Reuters

A young Thai man splashes back at an elephant as she sprays him with water from her trunk during Songkran in Ayutthaya province.

Photo: Reuters

Songkran festival revelers spray each other with water guns to celebrate the water festival in Bangkok.

Photo: Reuters

Two Thai women cover their faces as water flies at them from the hundreds of water guns all around at the Songkran celebration in Bangkok.

Photo: Reuters

Young novice nuns collect food from people at the Dhammasathan Buddhist meditation centre in Bangkok. Many people visit Buddhist monestaries on Songkran to give alms and ask forgiveness before making their new year's resolution and focusing on their hopes for the coming year.

Photo: Reuters

A novice nun prays before receiving the food given to her as part of a Songkran ritual in Bangkok.

Photo: Reuters