Thingyan festival is the Burmese New Year Festival or sometimes called Water Festival because water throwing, water spraying, dousing on each other are the main activities during this festival. It usually falls in the third part of April (from 13th to 16th April). This is the most expected celebration of Burmese people & is a similar celebration as the Songkran in Laos, the Songkran in Thailand, the Cambodian New Year, the Sinhalese New Year, and the Bihu festival of Assam. When in Myanmar during this time, do not miss this traditional festival, and wish for the best luck during the year.
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The history of the Thingyan Water Festival in Myanmar dating back from a very long time ago originated from the Buddhist version of a Hindu myth. Thingyan, in the Sanskrit language (the language of ancient India), means “transit of the Sun from Pisces to Aries”. The legend said that the Thingyan Festival is an event to henceforth signify the changing hands of the Brahma’s head – a powerful deity that lost his head in a gamble with Devas.
Performance in Thingyan Festival
Thingyan Festival lasts from three to five days and each day has its own activities.
On this day, people go to temples and pagodas to observe the Buddhist relief, offer to monks, wash the Buddha image, and pray for their life. In the evening, people start to sing and dance in the neighbourhoods across the country.
It is the day when Thagya Min who is considered the King of Nat makes his descent from heaven to the earth. It is time to pour out the street and collect the water with pots, buckets, or even water guns. The street is soaked in water. It is believed that water can fix mistakes, drive out bad luck and bring health, happiness. The more water you get; the better upcoming year you will have.
There is a break during the festival when you can grab food and take a rest for the next water fighting. Food stations for hungry revellers can be found everywhere. Some must-try dishes in this festival are Mont Lat Saung - Burmese traditional drink, Shwe-yin-aye & Mont-lat-saung - A favourite dessert of Burmese people, Mote Lone Yay Paw - A traditional sweet snack and Thingyan hta-min - Another special dish of Burmese.
Water fighting festival
On the last day of the festival, Thagya Min returns home but some people still throw water on each other until late in the afternoon. Be careful if someone says ‘Thagya Min has returned for his pipe’. Just run as fast as you can.
Today, young people do good things such as bathing elderly people, washing their hair, and cutting their nails as a sign of gratitude and respect. People also offer food to monks and bath statues of the Buddha. It is a custom to buy live fish and then release them in the open water of rivers or lakes on the last day of the Water Festival. People say ‘I release you once, you release me ten times’ when releasing captured fish into the water.
Anywhere. Almost every part of the country celebrates this festival. You can see it in the main cities like Inle Lake, Mandalay, Bagan, Yangon. However, the biggest celebrations are in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. Wherever you see bamboo stages erected, people dancing, singing, live music, and water, it is the place where you can join the Water festival.
New year's day in Thingyan festival
No matter which nationality you have, joining the festival will be fun and you will be able to avoid the heat of the summer by soaking in the water. There is also a belief about a bring new year ahead. It is great if you can travel to Myanmar this time. Contact us to book your epic trip: Myanmar Tours & Travel
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