You can trust the Thais to carry on with their festivals despite the troubles in Bangkok. The evening of Saturday 10th April 2010 was a dark day in the history of Thailand with at least 21 people killed in running street battles between the Thai army and red shirt protesters. I was there earlier in the day (see my moblog at www.MyThailandBlog.com) but decided to go home as darkness fell. It is never a good sign when the army are out on the streets of Bangkok.
Early the next morning, I was still in shock of what had happened while I drove to the Erawan Museum in Samut Prakan for the start of the Songkran Parade. To be honest, I wasn’t in the mood for taking pictures of Songkran, but the Governor was scheduled to go there and so I had to go. This is now the second year in a row of red shirt protests disrupting the Thai traditional new year celebrations. But, Thai people are very resilient and will carry on with their planned activities regardless. It was like that last year with the water fights in Bangkok only being delayed by a couple of days.
So, if you have just arrived in Thailand for the Songkran festival, don’t be worried that everything is cancelled. The festival is continuing. The reds themselves have also stated a few times that they will play Songkran in Bangkok at the protest sites. However, I am not sure that you should attend those events. Authorities have said the Songkran fun on Khao San Road has been cancelled. However, I cannot see that happening altogether. People will still be out on the streets this week throwing water.
In Samut Prakan, the Songkran festivities were kicked off at 8.30 a.m. on Sunday morning with a grand parade of about ten floats that went from The Erawan Museum to the Ancient Siam via Samrong and Paknam. Leading the two hour long parade was the Governor of Samut Prakan and various other VIPs. At the Ancient Siam they took part in traditional Songkran activities such as bathing Buddha images with rose scented water and also sprinkled water over the hands of their elders.
Songkran really starts tomorrow on the 13th April, but I won’t be surprised to find people splashing water on the roads today. If you are in Samut Prakan this week, you will find some interesting Songkran activities at both Erawan Museum and Ancient Siam. Then this weekend, there will be a second round of water fights and parade in Phra Pradaeng. Full information on our local news magazine www.paknam.com.