University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
A Famous Festival in Myanmar
Thingyan festival – Water Festival – Myanmar New Year – in April
The country Myanmar is Known as the “Golden Land” in the world since every pagoda is decorated and painted with gold. Myanmar is full of very colourful and deep rooted festivals. There are 13 most popular year around festivals in Myanmar. One of them is the celebration on Thingyan Festival, as the Water Festival or Myanmar’s Traditional New Year Festival. Myanmar people celebrate the Water Festival all over the country for 4 days before New Year day by throwing water on each other. It takes place on April13th to April 16th of every year. It is believed that Water Festival washes away sins and welcomes the New Year, April 17th.
The Mandats, water throwing and playing places with the large signboards are every where, not only in the cities but also in the villages. In major cities such as Yangon, garden hoses, huge syringes made of bamboo, plastic water pistols, bowls, cups and other devices from which water can be squirted are used. All these whole days, people are going round to the Mandats with their bicycles, motorbikes, opentop jeeps and trucks to play the water with each other. It is a hottest time of the year and a good dousing is welcomed by most. Everyone is fair game except the monks and obviously pregnant women.
After playing around and having fun throughout the country, people welcome the New Year on the 17th by cleaning the floors of the pagodas and monasteries, washing old and aged peoples’ hair, helping to cut their nails. Some offer free foods and drinks for everyone who comes to the pagodas. Some make other donations.
There is also a custom in Myanmar to buy live fishes and cows during the festival and let them free in sanctuaries or rivers or lakes with a prayer and a wish saying “I release you once, you release me ten times” on the final day of Thingyan. Most of the Myanmar’s believe in Buddhism and so killing any living creature is a sinful act.
All these April days, there are music and sprinkling of water in the air. Throwing water on everyone with the intention to purify their mind and spirit is really wet. If you are planning a trip to the Gold Land Myanmar, this is one festival not to be missed. All your sins are purified with Thingyan Water Festival. You will never forget true joy.