GEORGE TOWN - Thousands of revellers had a merry time getting soaked during the Thai Songkran and Burmese Thingyan festivals here.
They sprayed and splashed each other with water when they converged at the Chaiya Mangalaram Thai Buddhist Temple and Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple in Burmah Lane for the festivals which marked the new year for both communities.
The revellers, comprised mainly Thai and Myanmar nationals, were joined by locals in the celebration yesterday, causing the crowd to spill onto the road.
The merrymakers were armed with water guns, pails and bottles of water as they engaged in a "liquid war".
Splashing water is believed to bring good luck, ward off evil spirits and to symbolise the washing away of sins of the previous year.
One can splash another person with a pail of water and get away by uttering Sawatdee pi mai (Happy New Year in Thai).
Many also came with talcum powder and chalk powder which they smeared on the faces of other revellers.
Royal Thai Consul-General to Penang Srirat Vathesatogkit joined devotees for a pali chanting and a prayer session with monks at the Thai temple in the morning.
She then launched the Songkran Festival after bathing a Buddha figurine there with scented water.
Devotees made a beeline to bathe the Buddha image with scented floral water and sought blessings.
Temple trustee Sungkram Apau said getting doused during the Songkran Festival would bring one good luck for the year ahead besides being an act of cleansing and purification.
"However, we only prepared three tanks of water containing some 3,000 litres this year and put up numerous signs advising the revellers to save water," he said, adding that revellers and devotees were advised not to go overboard.