Although the Thai Government officially adopted the western calendar in 1941, many Thais still celebrate the start of the traditional Buddhist New Year.
GV Crowd outside temple in Chieng Mai, Thailand
SV Man praying to statue of Buddha
SCU Men singing in procession
Children and youths pour water on each other (3 shots)
SV Children dousing passing vehicles with water (4 shots)
Buddhist temple in Laos
SV INT Monks praying
SV Monks and others praying in house (2 shots)
SV Buddhist celebrations at hotel (2 shots)
SV Youth dousing man with hose
SV People preparing drink
SV People pushing each other into swimming pool
SV People throwing water over Buddha images at pagoda
SV Girls pouring water on passers-by (2 shots)
Initials BB/2200 YA/PN/BB/2245
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Background: Although the Thai Government officially adopted the western calendar in 1941, many Thais still celebrate the start of the traditional Buddhist New Year.
According to tradition the celebration involves the bathing of Buddha images and the pouring of water over the hands of parents and elderly relatives in return for their blessings.
But the younger people find it more fun to completely douse one another with buckets of water, and in recent years the celebration has turned into a gigantic water fight.
Another part of tradition deems that young boys make presents of bicycles to the young girls of their choice. The girls in return throw buckets of water on the boys.
If a young woman is very fond of a particular young man she may add a little perfume to the water before dousing him with it.
Towards the end of the celebration, hardly anything is exempt form a soaking. Cars, trucks, bicycles, people, animals -- anything that ventures out into the street is immediately attacked by hordes of youths armed with their buckets.
This year in Laos, the celebration was the first under Communist rule and was on a lower key than usual.
Visnews correspondent in Vietnam reported that Buddhist flags which usually adorned pagodas to mark the New Year were absent in most areas and only a few programmes of entertainment were organised.
He also reported, however, that there were more than enough sports meetings over the three days of celebration.
The more religious spent their time in prayers and other forms of dedication to Buddha. But the youths did find a way of getting themselves involved in a water brigade. They joined employees and guests of a hotel in making adequate use of the hotel swimming pool.