• Elephants blow water at tourists in tuk tuks during Songkran in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)Source: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit
Songkran, or Thai New Year, is the country's most important holiday.
By
Alyssa Braithwaite

13 Apr 2017 - 1:27 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2017 - 1:27 PM

As many people in Australia celebrate Easter this weekend, in Thailand there is a very different celebration underway.

April 13 marks the start of Songkran, or Thai New Year - a Buddhist festival and Thailand's most important holiday.

The holiday period typically last for three days, and Thai people mark the occasion in different ways depending on the part of the country they live in, from cleaning the house and dressing colourfully, to setting off firecrackers and giving food to monks.

But one of the most spectacular parts of the holiday is the Songkran water festival, an event some have dubbed the world's largest water fight.

Revellers armed with water guns and plastic bowls soak anyone in sight.

Some areas are closed to traffic for wet and wild street parties with loud music, booze and dancing.

April is Thailand's hottest month, and Songkran signifies the end of the dry season and the start of the annual rains. Water is used as a symbol of cleansing and renewal. 

Local versions of Songkran are also observed in countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Burma.

Some reports have suggested that this year's Songkran celebrations in Thailand will be toned down because the country is still in mourning for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October 2016.

But early pictures coming out of Thailand show many people already getting into the Songkran spirit.

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