Water Festivals are an important cultural event in Southeast Asia. Pouring water on one another is part of a cleansing ritual to welcome the new year. They generally fall in April, which is one of the hottest months in these parts. People get doused with water as a sign of respect, but the celebratory festivities can get boisterous so anyone in the area can expect to get drenched! But, it’s all in good fun and traditionally it’s a show of blessings and good wishes.
Different countries have different names for the festivals. Songkran in Thailand, Pi-Mai Lao in Laos , Chaul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia, and Thingyan in Myanmar.
The Water Festival isn’t a Malaysian tradition per say, but Malaysian Water Festivals can now be found throughout Malaysia . From Penang, Fort Dixon, Malacca to Sarawak. Another such Festival can be found in Langkawi at Pantai Cenang, one of the more ‘touristy’ beaches.
As a native Floridian I had originally thought, “Cool! beach party!”. Being a simple lover of a good time, I embrace events like these. So I look forward to this annual Langkawi event as do many others. It wasn’t until recently that I came to realize there was more to water festivals in Southeast Asia, so now it means even more to me.
Tourism Malaysia sponsors wonderful annual local events like the Langkawi / Pantai Cenang Water Festival. In fact, their mobile tourism unit was in Pantai Cenang during the festival to share information brochures and speak with tourists about Malaysia. Lots of information !
I’m looking forward to Water Festival 2013 and hopefully this annual event will only get bigger and better. It really is a wonderful opportunity for tourists and locals to meet and possibly make new friends. I did .