Splashin' good fun

In Thailand's former capital Ayutthaya yesterday, more than a dozen elephants walked along the streets with their mahouts, spraying water at locals and foreigners alike to kick off a weekend of festivities for Song-kran, the popular water festival.

Songkran marks the start of the traditional Thai New Year celebrations. Held from April 13 to 15 every year, the name comes from the Sanskrit word meaning "passing" or "approaching".

Water is an important element of the festival, and the throwing of water has become a huge part of the annual celebrations.

In homes and temples nationwide, people gather to sprinkle sacred water on images of the Buddha as a form of ritual bathing. This is also a way of praying for ample rainfall in the growing season to come.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2019, with the headline 'Splashin' good fun'. Print Edition | Subscribe