Next week is Songkran, my favorite Thai holiday.
It's everybody's favorite Thai holiday, though, because even though Thailand has about a million holidays, generally Thai holidays aren't celebrated so much as marked by Buddhist rituals. And lots of drinking.
Songkran is celebrated. There's ritual involved, too, and traditions and customs. But just like how Christmas is really about the birth of Christ, but it's also candy canes and stockings, gifts and mistletoe and Christmas carols and family recipes; Songkran has evolved.
Songkran is Thailand's traditional New Year celebration and traditionally one ritual allowed young people to honor their elders through the sprinkling of jasmine water. But over hundreds and thousands of years, reverently sprinkling sweet-scented water over the hands of your grandparents and respected neighbors evolved into the world's largest water fight. Seriously.
For three straight days, the entire country battles it out in the biggest splash-fest imaginable. You can't not participate. Everywhere you go, people are carrying water guns. In front of every home, children man the hoses, ready to douse the "unsuspecting" passersby. There are barrels of water on every street corner. surrounded by rowdy teenagers with bowls and buckets. You don't make plans that would require you to stay dry. Everybody "plays" Songkran.