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Celebrate the Thai Water Festival (Songkran) in Tianjin
 
 
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The Songkran Festival, also known in the west as the Water Festival and poshuijie 娉兼按鑺俰n Chinese, is the New Year's celebration for Southeast Asia (including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, as well as ethnic minorities living in Yunnan, China). It is one of the most, if not THE most important holiday in the region. Traditionally, people would gently pour water on each other as a symbol of blessing and good wishes. Today, Songkran Festival is a nation-wide water fight that locals and tourists participate in together. During the festival, water is used for cleansing and symbolises purification, as people hope for a fresh start to the newyear. During the festival, houses are cleaned and Buddha statues are gently scrubbed with scented waters, while elders are honoured by pouring water over their hands. Just like in the west, many people will make New Year's resolutions to refrain from doing bad things or to improve themselves as the new year is all about fresh starts and renewal. The festival originated in the northern part of Thailand but has spread all the way to the southern most beaches. However, if you go to Thailand for the celebration, it is recommended that you experience the festivities in the northern jungle city of Chiang Mai where the celebration can last for up to 10 days. 
 
For Thailand and Cambodia, the three day festival, which used to follow the lunar calendar, has been fixed, starting on 13 April and ending on the 15th. On the final day of the celebration the formalities end and the festivities begin as everyone takes to the streets to participate in a street party where strangers splash one another using buckets, water guns, hoses and anything else that can store liquid. The holiday takes place during the hottest month when temperatures can easily exceed 40 degrees Celsius, making this drenching experience refreshing and enjoyable. Of course, celebrating Songkran doesn't just mean getting wet. While visiting Thailand during the celebration it is important to visit a wat (Buddhist monestary) to pray and give food to monks. During the festival, there are also beauty and talent pageants where the audience judges the contestants. The winner is the contestant who receives the most necklaces from members of the audience. If you participate, you are sure to see a lady boy or two. 
 
If you don't have the time to experience Songkran in Thailand this April, why not join the festivities at YY's Beer House? For the past ten years YY's has hosted a Water Festival celebration in the street, right outside the restaurant on Aomen Lu (婢抽棬璺). Last year was a rowdy time that including not just water gun fights, but also Traditional Thai dancing and Muay Thai boxing. Tickets to the all day event are RMB 200 and include all you can drink and eat and entrance into a lucky draw raffle where you could win round trip airfare to Thailand. The event will be held on Saturday, 20 April. If you go, you might want to bring a water proof bag to keep your valuables safe from water damage and a dry change of clothes. Water guns will be available for purchase at the celebration!
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