Buckets, hoses, water guns, balloons…not typical items associated with religious holidays—unless you’re in Thailand, evidently. That’s where, every April, the Buddhist New Year is commemorated with what just might be the world’s biggest water fight: the Songkran festival.

Songkran traces its origins back more than a thousand years, when celebrants heralded spring with the throwing of water. At first people would sprinkle drops on their elders as a sign of respect; then they began bathing statues of Buddha; eventually it evolved into the soggy celebration it’s become today. Songkran is a national holiday and, since it falls in one of the hottest months of the year, it’s no wonder that everyone’s eager to partake in the water wars.

For three days revelers run amok in the streets, soaking passersby indiscriminately. Thanks to the scores of people of all ages spraying everything in sight, if you’re out and about, you’re guaranteed to be the victim of a drive-by drenching.

So if you plan to be in Thailand from April 13–15, you may want to pack your rain poncho—and stow your water gun with your checked luggage.

For more information, check out