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PHOTOS: This is the world's biggest water fight

April 19, 2016 08:43 IST

Often touted to as the 'world's biggest water fight', the Songkran marks the traditional Thai New Year and is celebrated from April 13 to 15.

IMAGE: A man plays a trumpet while people are splashed by elephants with water during the celebration of the Songkran water festival in Thailand's Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok. Photograph: Jorge Silva/Reuters

The celebration coupled with large amounts of water began as a way of pay tribute to family members, especially elders, as well as a potent symbol of spiritual cleansing and physical purification.

The name of the festival is a derivative of the Sanskrit word Sankranti, which is also the name of a Hindu harvest festival celebrated in India in January to mark the arrival of spring.

IMAGE: A reveller reacts during a water fight at Songkran Festival celebrations in Bangkok. Photograph: Jorge Silva/Reuters

Over the years though the ritual has evolved into the massive water fight that dominates streets all over the country.

IMAGE: People take part in a city-wide water fight during the Songkran water festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Getty Images 

Even though the country faces its worst water crisis in nearly two decades, many places continued the water battles with traditional largess showing no signs of austerity.

IMAGE: Foreign revellers take part in a water fight during the Songkran water festival in Central World in Bangkok, Thailand. Photograph: Borja Sanchez-Trillo/Getty Images

One of the most popular locations to celebrate the Songkran Festival in the Thai northern region is Chiang Mai province, where the celebratory atmosphere is a sight to behold.

IMAGE: A Thai man pours a bucket of water on a foreigner riding a scooter during Songkran. Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Getty Images

This year, Chiang Mai not only celebrated the water festival but also it’s 720th anniversary of the establishment of Chiang Mai city.

IMAGE: The throwing of water was traditionally a sign of respect and well wishing during the festival. Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Getty Images

At Pratu Tha Pae, in the heart of Chiang Mai city, a large crowd of tourists already made their forts to start the water splashing fights.

IMAGE: Tourists employ water guns as they participate in the water festival. Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Getty Images

This year Chiang Mai made some changes to the celebrations keeping in sight the severe water crisis being faced by their fellow countrymen.

IMAGE: Several affluent foreigners travel to Thailand specifically during this season to take part in this massive water festival. Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Getty Images

The government had been promoting the use of water wisely during Songkran this year, prompting less tourists to stick around the water moats to join in the fun opting instead the use of water guns on the streetside.

IMAGE: The streets turn effervescent the morning after a foam party; a festivity that sees several thousand litres of water spilled across the streets of Bangkok. Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Getty Images

But in the far south, celebration of Songkran was even more active despite of security problem, particularly in Hat Yai.

IMAGE: Before taking part in the water fight people pay obeisance to the image of Lord Buddha as the Thai New Year commences. Photograph: Borja Sanchez-Trillo/Getty Images

Hat Yai held ‘Midnight Songkran’ event which attracts many revelers to the region.

IMAGE: A boy and an elephant splash each other with water during the celebration of the Songkran water festival in Thailand's Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok. Photograph: Jorge Silva/Reuters

The holiday atmosphere in Hat Yai went in full swing as locals and foreigners came together to take part in a water fight celebrating the festival.

IMAGE: A Bangkok firefighter squirts a Songkran partier with his fire hose during a community water fight on Silom Road as part of the Songkran water festival. Photograph: Jack Kurtz/Getty Images

They were also seen gyrating to musical numbers and enjoying foam parties during the 'Midnight Songkran'.

IMAGE: Thai people offer prayers at Wat Boworn during the Songkran water festival in Bangkok, Thailand. Photograph: Borja Sanchez-Trillo/Getty Images

Hat Yai celebrates the Songkran event by holding elaborate stage activities, as well being home to the biggest carnival parade in the country, providing visitors a glimpse of the caravan of beautifully decorated trailers, ballroom dancers, and a 'Miss Tourism' pageant contest that sees the winner take home a prize money of 30,000 baht.

IMAGE: A reveller reacts during a water fight at Songkran Festival celebrations in Bangkok. Photograph: Jorge Silva/Reuters

The event brings life and colours to the nation even as it faces a severe water crisis marked by economic troubles.