Songkran festival kicks off nationwide today

Songkran festival officially kicks off nationwide today with Thai Buddhists going to the temples early in the morning making merit, offering alms to monks, and pouring water on Buddha statutes brought out for prays and blessings on this Thai traditional New Year.

In Bangkok, the governor Pol Gen Asawin Kwanmuang led his city administration officials to preside over a religious ceremony to offer alms to 191 monks at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration head office.

As today is also the National Elderly Day, the governor led officials to pour fragrant water into the elders' palms as a gesture of humility and to ask for their blessings.

From noon today water splashing will start officially at various places in Bangkok, including Khao San, Silom, Central World, and City Avenue in Rama 9 road.

Silom District will close a 850-metre section of Silom road to traffic from Sala Daeng to Naralom intersections to allow people to enjoy water-splashing from noon to 8pm tonight until April 15.

But Songkran revellers are advised not to drink alcohol, not to use talcum powder and high-pressure water guns.

No entertainment activities on stages are organised this year as the is still mourning the passing of His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

According to the Bangkok Post, business in the area had told earlier they would cooperate by not allowing stages to be set up in front of their premises, shows or other activities unsuitable for the mourning period.

Checkpoints will be set up around the venue and water trucks and vehicles with loud music will not be allowed to enter Silom road.

According to the BMA, similar rules also are applied to other famous venues for the water festival including Khao San road.

Khao San business operators this morning held merit making by offering alms to monks.

Water splashing will officially start from 2.00pm until 8.00pm although revellers, mostly tourists will start water fighting hours before official schedule.

Authorities earlier said revellers are allowed only two days for Songkran water celebration on Khao San road.

Unlike at Central World, revellers can expect a three-day carnival-style event, M2F Presents Bangkok Songkran Festival 2017, including amusement park rides and game booths, a cultural show and mini concert.

Elsewhere in the provinces, Songkran in Chiang Mai started yesterday with almost the business area decorated with Lanna-style flags welcoming the festival.

In Khon Kaen, the Songkran festival on Khao Niaw Road (Sri Chan Road) will run from today until Saturday.

In Hat Yai, the whole southern town turned lively when locals joined hundreds of thousands of tourists from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and China to splash water since yesterday but under tight security screening all vehicles entering the town from other trouble-plagued provinces.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)