Beginning on April 13, Thais across the country celebrate the Thai New Year, the most important holiday on the Thai calendar. The holiday is best known for revelers who playfully sprinkle water on each other and dab perfumed powder on each other as a New Year’s blessing. Over the years this has morphed into a huge water fight where anyone is a fair game. People roam the streets armed with high-pressure water guns or stop by the side of the road with buckets and hoses, ready to dunk any passerby. If you venture out during this period, the 13th in particular, expect to get wet!

Traditionally, however, Songkran is a time of cleansing and renewal. During Songkran, Thais perform religious rituals such as cleaning Buddha images, giving alms to monks and going to the temple to pray. Songkran is also a time for families. Many people come home during Songkran holidays and respect their elders by spraying.