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Respect for King to quieten Songkran but fun persists

April 7, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Songkran, the Thai New Year water festival this month, is likely to be a little less loud and chaotic than usual to reflect the fact that Thailand is still mourning the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Bangkok’s The Nation newspaper says the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is working to tone down wilder aspects of the festivities.

Thailand’s New Year’s Day is 13 April every year, but the holiday period includes 14–15 April as well. This year, 13 April is a Thursday and the day before Good Friday on the Christian calendar.

Songkran as it usually is – a typical scene

Songkran’s traditional water wars will go ahead along Bangkok’s Silom Road, with traffic banned from noon to 10pm. However BMA governor, Police General Aswin Kwanmuang, has warned that high-volume music and dancing on the back of pickup trucks will not be tolerated.

The city is also urging Songkran revellers to refrain from using high-pressure water guns. It’s urging people to save water.

Other activities to be discouraged: drinking alcohol, wearing too-revealing clothing and bombing passers-by with coloured powder.

Aswin said 50 “Safety Songkran Zones” had been designated, including the famous Khao San Road site and Silom Road,

Revellers should throw and spray water only within the designated zones. This would let other visitors, who did not want to join in the “water war” (including those coming to the Grand Palace to pay respects in front of the late HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Royal Urn) to go about their business in peace.

The BMA will host the main traditional celebration at Khon Muang Plaza 12-15 April. The sacred Phra Buddha Sihing image will be brought from the National Museum on 12 April and conveyed in procession through the streets of old Bangkok to the plaza’s temporary shrine so people can worship for good luck, the paper said.

Written by Peter Needham

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