Thai New Year officially began on Monday of this past week, kicking off several days of hijinks, waterlogged afternoons and clay-smeared evenings. After last Saturday's deadly protests here in Bangkok, I was curious to see how the notoriously wild festivities would unfold, but made the mistake of approaching the situation with a culturally dissonant, Western point-of-view.

Given that it was sandwiched between a calamitous army crackdown and the red shirts' promise to occupy Bangkok's commercial area until Parliament was dissolved, I thought that perhaps the traditionally raucous celebrations of Songkran would be muted.

Have I ever looked so happy in a photo? I don't believe I have. Photo from Gary Arndt's Songkran 2010 album.

Well, I was wrong.

Yes, over 20 people were killed during last weekend's army crackdown, but as one of my Thai friends said "in Thailand, there are worse things than death." As a result, the attitude toward Songkran was the same, if not more concentrated: respects were paid to those who had died, makeshift shrines were set up adjacent to one of the main festival areas for Songkran, and the celebrations kicked off, despite a statement from the city to the contrary.

Continue reading on legalnomads

Comments by other travellers

There are no posts. Why not be the first to have your say?

Post a comment

I want to
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?

About this author

  • Jodi Ettenberg

    Born in Montreal, Canada, Jodi Ettenberg is a former new media and technology lawyer who quit her job after 5+ years of working…

Also by this author

Latest travel blog posts