iReport: Wet and wild Songkran memories

iReport: Wet and wild Songkran memories

We asked CNNGo readers for their best shots of the Thai new year madness. Here are some of the highlights

In 2010, the Thai new year celebrations were overshadowed by political instability and protests, and many traditional events were cancelled. So this year's Songkran holiday was particularly festive.

Starting on April 12, the entire kingdom engaged in a nationwide water fight that went on for several days -- in some cities even longer -- as folk piled into the back of pick-up trucks and gathered on roadsides to splash, drink, dance and smear powder on each other's faces. 

In addition to the water fights there were plenty of parties, parades and traditional Thai celebrations. 

It's a risky business taking your camera out on the streets during Songkran, but nevertheless we asked our brave CNNGo readers to send us their own Songkran photos and stories. Here are some of the highlights. 

Patong Beach, Phuket

"In Patong, the Songkran festival is celebrated with huge enthusiasm," says Dutch programmer Hans van de Peppel, who spent the Thai new year holiday in Phuket. 

"Small children delight in equipping themselves with water guns and spraying anyone who comes in their path -- no one is exempt!"

Judging by his photos, kids aren't the only ones who want to get in on the action.  

Phuket Songkran"The streets are full of people by the side of the road throwing water and having fun, with many of the Phuket population paying a visit," says iReporter Hans van de Peppel.

Patong Phuket"[In Phuket] the Thai New Year's celebration started on April 12 in the evening," says Hans. "The next day the whole town was playing with water. It was a really special experience."Patong Songkran Phuket"At a time of year when the sun is at its hottest, the festival makes a welcome break and everyone is happy to be soaked," says Hans. Songkran in Thailand"The gentle sprinkling of water over family and friends has evolved to an excuse for a nationwide water party," says Hans of the Thai New Year. Songkran in PhuketNobody is safe on the streets during Songkran, when Thais and foreigners alike arm themselves with water weapons. Phuket Songkran"The festival starts in the early morning, when Thais visit temples, sprinkle water on Buddha images and then go home to have fun, eat and be merry," says Hans.Phuket Songkran"I love to have my camera with me, and to report what is going on," says iReporter Hans. "It was a big risk, bringing the camera out there, but the result was great."

Click to page 2 for images of Songkran celebrations in Bangkok.

Songkran celebrations in Bangkok

"The New Year in Bangkok is more than festive. It's a job trying to keep dry," says Marie Sager, of the United States.  

"Since it's always so hot here, you actually welcome the squirt guns, the water hose and yes even a bucket of water thrown your way. No street is safe, it's everywhere and so much fun as well."

Here are some of Marie's iReport photos of the water fights in Bangkok. 

Songkran in Bangkok"I have celebrated many holidays in my life, and these were five days filled with smiles, laughter and lots of water and being wet most of those days," says iReporter Marie Sager. "And the highlight was that I enjoyed every minute of it. I even had my own squirt gun by day two and participated in the action. Everyone has to experience Songkran once in their lifetime!"Songkran in BangkokAfter the water comes powder, "put on your face to keep away bad luck," says Marie. "I welcomed it, but no matter where you turned someone was right there to add just a little more on your face."Bangkok Songkran"Water everywhere, Bangkok is alive with New Year's celebration," says Marie. "I have enough wonderful Songkran memories to last a lifetime." Songkran BangkokIt's boom time for Bangkok's car wash companies the week after Songkran. This car was given plenty of "luck," in the form of baby powder-based hand prints. Songkran BangkokDoes this qualify as workplace harassment?

Click to page 3 for photos of Songkran in Chiang Mai.

Songkran celebrations in Chiang Mai

"Songkran in Chiang Mai was an utterly chaotic mix of people -- Thais, foreigners, elders, and children alike -- united in good-spirited, sopping wet mayhem," says Canadian blogger Graham North, currently on a tour of Asia and Africa. 

"The Old City's famous moat served up infinite ammunition to help everyone in Chiang Mai come together to ring in a truly unforgettable and laughter-filled New Year." 

Songkran in Chiang Mai"Thousands and thousands of colorful water pistols, in every conceivable size and power, lined the streets of Chiang Mai to provide waterfighters with a variety of weapons," says iReporter Graham North, who snapped this shot.

Songkran in Chiang Mai"Speeding motorcyclists don't stand a chance against the moatside bucket-toters," says Graham.

Songkran in Chiang Mai"Looks of pure joy were not uncommon amongst the many young children who threw icy cold water at anyone who dared wait beside the Old City moat in Chiang Mai," says Graham.

These photos and stories were submitted as part of CNNGo’s iReport section. To find out what other stories we are looking for, go to our iReport page.

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