Warm Up

Helpful Words and Phrases

Listen and repeat.

  1. festivities
    • ex. In many countries, the New Year festivities include a firework display.
    • ex. I couldn’t sleep last night because of my neighbor’s raucous party.
    • ex. The manager is immensely proud of his team’s success.
    • ex. The crops and plants didn't grow well because of the heat wave.
    • ex. The heavy rains triggered a power outage in the whole city.


Read the article below and answer your tutor's questions.

Font size

Thousands of people gathered in Thailand to celebrate the country’s traditional New Year festivities, the water festival. Despite the country’s very high temperatures this year, it didn’t stop people from having a raucous celebration. Many celebrated by splashing each other with water. The water festival, known as Songkran, is a three-day celebration. It is also celebrated in some Southeast Asian countries.

Songkran is immensely popular. Thailand’s tourism agency predicted that more than 500,000 foreign tourists would attend this year. And it would earn more than 24 billion baht (about ¥100 billion). The festival’s original purpose was to pray for a rainy season that would help crops. It is usually celebrated at the hottest time of the year, which is above 40 degrees Celsius. And this year’s heat wave has triggered concerns.

Heat waves are dangerous because they can affect someone’s breathing. This puts old and young people at risk. Benjamin Horton, director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore, said that the average worldwide temperature reached very high last year and that “it is only going to get worse.” This year’s Songkran was celebrated from April 13 until April 15.

This material was based on an article by The Associated Press.


Choose a topic and discuss the questions with your tutor.


  • Songkran festival’s original purpose was to pray for a rainy season that helped crops. Why do you think praying for a rainy season is an important part of Thai culture? Discuss.
  • People had a raucous Songkran celebration despite the very high temperatures. Why do you think people still did so (ex. it’s part of their culture, it’s a way to relax)? Discuss.
  • The Songkran festival is usually celebrated at the hottest time of the year. In your country, what holiday/festival is celebrated during the hottest time of the year? Discuss.


  • Thailand’s Songkran is immensely popular. Would you visit the country during this festival? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Imagine that you’re living in Thailand. What would you do when the temperature is above 40 degrees Celsius? Discuss.
  • Do you think the Thai government should try to limit outdoor activities during Songkran since the high temperature “is only going to get worse?” Why or why not? Discuss.