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Thailand wants drier, more sober Songkran

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Water festival restraint urged as Thailand suffers drought
Thai authorities are strongly urging locals and tourists to focus on culture and tradition rather than partake in drinking and massive water fights during this year’s Songkran Festival, which starts today.
Thailand’s traditional New Year is being celebrated on April 13-15 this year and is usually a raucous affair where people splash each other with water. But due to ongoing droughts, the worst the country has seen in decades, the government is calling for restraint.
TAT is following the government’s water-saving policy, which encourages people to use water more conservatively when celebrating Songkran,” said Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn.
“Songkran is the most important festival in the Thai calendar and is celebrated in different ways up and down the country. We want travellers to discover more about this unique Thai event and to get a taste of the huge range of distinct local festivals.”
Traditionally, this was the time when agricultural work would come to a halt for a few days so that Thais could pay respects to their ancestors and senior family members by sprinkling their hands with scented water. It is also a time to visit temples and bathe Buddhist statues in a symbolic gesture of purification.
However, this has not stopped people from engaging in water-gun fights and partying in the streets as the celebrations broke out in many parts of the country this week. Tourists are flocking to Thailand during the festive period with an expected 10% increase in revenues from last year.
TTG Asia

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