by Tan Vu
on April 17, 2018 on 4/17/18
This is how the Thai community in Hong Kong celebrate the Thai New Year: with an all-out water celebration called the Songkran Water Festival!
Thailand’s Songkran Water Festival originally started with the ritual cleansing of one’s sins with a splash of water to celebrate the arrival of the new year, but it has now become famous for being an epic party that leaves everyone soaked to the bones with a mixture of water and baby powder.
This year’s festival spanned from April 6th to 8th at Lai Chi Kok and was the fourth time that this festival has been held in Hong Kong. Thais, locals and foreigners alike joined in the festivities on Cheung Yee Street, using super soakers, buckets and hoses to drench absolutely everyone with water.
Hong Kong is such an international city with a diverse group of people, so it is no surprise to see such a strong presence of the Thai community in Hong Kong: 28,000+ to be exact.
Due to the large number of Thai restaurants and residents, the neighborhood south of the Kowloon Walled City Park is known as “Little Thailand.”
In fact, Kowloon City has been the home to city’s more than 11,000-strong permanent Thai community since the 1970s, when there was a spike in the number of people leaving Thailand to seek jobs abroad.
The Songkran festival is not all about the water fight but also includes other traditional customs and demonstrations such as Buddha bathing, traditional Thai dance, festive parade, cooking, and traditional Thai massage demonstrations.
In the morning, before the celebration begins, many Thais in Hong Kong observe the older, more sober traditions associated with Songkran, such as buddha bathing and pouring a small bowl of water over each other’s hands to represent washing away misfortunes and bad luck for the New Year. That is actually how the water celebration came about – from pouring water from small bowls, to water guns, buckets and a nationwide water fight.