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Songkran

Another dry Songkran. No water fights for the Thai New Year

Caitlin Ashworth

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It’s going to be another dry Songkran. For the third time, water fights have been banned for the Thai New Year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The holiday, which is April 13 to 15 this year, is celebrated with massive water fights with crowds shooting water guns, spraying water hoses, and dumping buckets of water on each other. Everyone gets soaked… but not this year.

The water fights and foam parties, particularly in public areas, have been banned due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. Thai officials say only traditional Songkran activities are allowed, which includes going to temples, praying, and pouring water on Buddhist statues as well as pouring water on each other and on the hands of elderly people as a blessing.

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Those attending events during the holiday in closed spaces must wear masks and maintain a social distance. Drinking alcohol at those venues is not allowed.

There are no restrictions on interprovincial travel, so Thais can still visit their families to celebrate the New Year.

The decision to ban the water fights was made by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration today during its general meeting chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Under the guidelines set by the CCSA, traditional Songkran ceremonies at temples must abide by the government’s “Covid Free Setting” health measures. The public is asked to avoid celebrations in public places, like on the road. Other Songkran activities can be hosted with permission from the government.

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The CCSA also announced that powder is also banned during Songkran, a rule that had been set before the pandemic. The white pasty powder is often rubbed on people’s cheeks and faces during the holiday, but the government decided to ban powder after sexual harassment reports of some people rubbing the powder on others on inappropriate areas and other reports of people aggressively smearing the powder.

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    Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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