Songkran 2018; the Joys and the Sorrows


As the main summer break the Thai New Year as a family oriented celebration and a time to get amongst revellers for the biggest street party of the year; Songkran should be the happiest time of the year.

Last year was a very quiet celebration on the streets with the mourning period for the late King being observed however reports from many checking out the street this year, describe a relatively quiet scenes. For some this was a relief with the ‘water attacks’ largely being limited to one day rather than 3 days of constantly trying to avoid a soaking.

A Final Celebration;
Lanna Style Hua Hin’s Northern Society held it’s annual event on Friday 20th April. Hua Hin’s Mayor, Mr. Nopporn Wutthikul, along many other local dignities and representatives of the Hua Hin Cha-am Tourism Association were in attendance.
Songkran Lanna style The Lanna Songkran tradition of Rod Naam Dam Hua is a traditionasking for forgiveness and blessing.

Dignitaries were seated at a long table as those in attendance filed by to pour rose and jasmine scented water over their hands. Apart from asking for blessing, it is also believed to wash away bad things in life and welcome good fortune. Over 200 guests joined in the celebrations, with everyone in colourful and grand traditional Thai or northern Thai dress. Local singers entertained the crowd and there was also a traditional Miss Songkran beauty pageant.

The Sorrow of Songkran
Due to the horrific toll on life and limb due to road crashes fuelled by speed and alcohol 

Despite all the protestations by officials about the need to abide by the rules of the road, not to drive drunk, tired or at speed, the 2018 ‘bad and ugly’ statistics show that nothing has changed with the toll exceeding the 2017 fatalities.

A total of 418 people were killed and 3,897 others injured in 3,724 road accidents during the seven dangerous day of Songkran period from April 11-17, according to the Road Safety Centre. This year’s figures surpassed those of last year when 390 people died and 3,808 injured in road accidents during the sevenday road safety campaign.Drunk driving was the main cause of fatal accidents or 40.28% while most accidents, or almost 80%, involved motorcycle.

NakhonRatchasima is the province with highest death toll of 20 persons, followed by Phetchabun (13), Chon Buri and SakonNakhon (12 each).

Chiang Mai came with the highest road accidents of 133 cases, followed by Nakhon Si Thammarat (120) and Phitsanulok (106). NikornChamnong, a member of the Leadership Council of the Global Network for Road Safety Legislators and President of the People’s Safety Foundationclaims that there is a habit among locals to appease each other over road safety violations, which he sees as “part of the country’s DNA.” Stricter laws were put in place, such as driving without a license, which can carry a prison sentence of up to three months instead of the previous maximum penalty of only one month. However road crimes that account for the majority of accidents, such as speeding, drink driving, not wearing a helmet and driving through red lights, remain poorly enforced.