05/15/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Water Festival Carries On Despite Thai State Of Emergency (SLIDESHOW)

* Scroll down for photos of New Year's celebrations across Asia.

Southeast Asia is drenched in celebration this year for the Water Festival, a festive -- and dangerous -- gathering in observance of the New Year. Thailand, Laos, Burma and Cambodia are among the countries that host wild celebrations.

And the party has continued with gusto despite the state of emergency declared in Thailand yesterday and the ongoing turmoil that much of the region has recently faced. Reuters reports that the streets of Thailand that saw protesters and violence on Monday are now filled with revelers throwing water on police trucks for Songkran, or the Thai New Year.

But the protests drew to a peaceful end on Tuesday, and the Thai capital quickly returned to some semblance of normalcy during the Songkran festival, which people celebrate by throwing water on each other.

The three-day festival actually started on Monday, but the streets were tense. In the wake of the protests the government extended the Songkran holiday through to the weekend.

City Hall scrapped their Songkran festivities because of the red-shirt protests, reported the Bangkok Post But the people have taken to the streets and ignored the state of emergency to celebrate as normal, according to China Daily. The amount of people -- and water -- increased today, though the festival began on April 13. It comes to a close tomorrow.

The Water Festival

Tourism to the region for the festival is down this year since many travelers canceled their trip at the last minute in light of the recent political turmoil, reports the Phuket Gazette.

The Phuket office of the Thai Hotels Association today reported that about 20% of reservations made at Phuket hotels prior to the Songkran holiday have been canceled following the Thai government's declaration of a state of emergency in the nation's capital late yesterday.

According to the office, most of the cancellations were from Japanese and Chinese tourists, following the issuance of travel advisories by their respective embassies.

Nevertheless, Bangkok is soaked, as tourists and locals alike dump buckets of water on passersby and shoot water guns from either side of the street. The tossing of water during the festival days symbolizes a cleansing in preparation for the coming year.

Like in years past, this year's festival has turned dangerous. According to MCOT, the Thai News Agency, 220 people have died in the beginning days of the celebration.

The total number of road accident victims throughout Thailand during the first four days of the 'most dangerous seven days' peak period of the Songkran festival, Thailand's traditional New Year, increased to 220, with 2,658 people injured, a senior public health ministry official said Tuesday.

Deputy Permanent Secretary Paichit Varachit told a press conference that on Monday alone 863 road accidents took place nationwide, with 81 persons dead in vehicular accidents and 940 injured.

The major reasons given for the road accidents were driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding, he said. Most of the accidents also involved motorcycles.

Meanwhile, Burma has broken free of its military rule for at least the duration of their coinciding New Year's festival, reports Taiwan News.

The whiskey has flowed since early morning and teens in water-soaked clothing dance to pulsating music in the streets. A typically reserved woman good-naturedly takes a foreigner by the shirt collar and pours a bottle of water down the back of his neck.

"It's water festival. Best time of year," a man in his early 20s explains in stilted English, jiggling in his hand a plastic bottle of whiskey although it is only midmorning.