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In Celebration of Water

In Celebration of Water
One thing connects all humanity above tradition, religion, or climate. That one thing is critical to all human life: water. Used for hydration, for power, for spiritual and physical cleansing, for cooling, for transportation, and for myriad other purposes, water fills a multitude of human needs, desires, and goals. One can have no doubt that festivals celebrating water must then be magnificent and always apropos. If you’re looking to find a celebration that focuses on water itself, take a look at these events worldwide.

Bon Om Touk. Cambodia hosts two celebrations of water, the first of which is Bon Om Thook. This holiday focuses on traditional boat racing and takes place in November.

Chaul Chnam Khmer. Cambodia’s second water festival celebrates New Year’s Day using water as the medium for spiritual cleansing and focuses on good deeds. Crafts, music, and dance round out the celebration.

Dai Water Splashing Festival. The ethnic Dai minority in China celebrate for three days with a special outdoor market, floating lanterns down the Lancang River to ward off malicious spirits, and engage in splashing water while dressed in their finest clothing. The festival also includes dragon boat races and fireworks.

Fiesta del Agua y del Jamon. The City of Lanjaron in the Andalusian region of Spain engages in a truly epic water fight brightened with colorful fireworks, music, and tapas. Water goes everywhere, from people spraying each other to fire departments drenching celebrants with fire hoses.

Noboborsho. This Bengali New Year’s celebration honors parents for their contributions to their children’s lives and emphasizes bathing followed by the donning of new clothes and the making of new year’s resolutions.
Seattle Water Balloon Fight. This charitable fund-raising event bills itself as the “World’s Largest Water Fight.” The event raises money to fund Camp Korey, a recreational organization for children with life-threatening illnesses.

Songkran. Originating as a Hindu festival, hot and humid Thailand and Laos celebrate this popular, 3-day festival in mid-April with water fights to cool off.

Thingyan. In mid-April, the people of Myanmar (aka Burma) also engage in friendly dousing and focus on doing good deeds for their fellow citizens.

Vardavar. Arising from a mix of Christian and pagan traditions, citizens of Armenia drench each other with water and release pigeons or doves into the air in a festival of spiritual protection.

By Karen M. Smith

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