In Myanmar, April brings a lot of Joy, a lot of happiness, lovely blossoms of yellow Padauk flowers and a long bank holiday. The public holiday is also known as Thingyan holiday. Thingyan celebration existed since the history began. It is celebrated over a period of four consecutive days and the final day is marked as the Myanmar New Year.
It is a very auspicious occasion for Buddhist people. During the first day of celebration, the pagodas and monasteries are usually crowded with pilgrims who are peacefully practising religious rituals like prayers, laying alms and various offerings before the monks, chanting and group meditations.
The real fun of throwing clean scented water at each other begins on the second day of Thingyan. Originally, this practice is known as an act of purification, for oneself from all sorts of bad influences. Over the time, this act has been taken to the next level. People can now be found using fire extinguisher hose pipes as part of the celebration.
In many neighborhoods, pavilions or stages are built with an eye to entertain the local people with traditional dances and songs. The performers look great while wearing garland of flowers around their neck. They look fresh with Thanaka, a traditional paste with soothing smell, artfully applied on their cheeks. Each act they perform brings joy and content in the air.
Thingyan festival reveals how fun Burmese people can be! Be it Mandalay or Yangon, streets would be filled with pickup trucks loaded with people riding around shouting, dancing and getting thoroughly soaked, in high spirits. All around the streets would be pavilions and loud music systems. One can either participate by grabbing a hose and spraying all the passersby or you can be on the receiving end which is much much more fun!
Burmese in abroad also celebrate, particularly in the US, UK, Australia, Japan and Singapore. Water festivals abroad are generally community gatherings, featuring singing, dancing, and traditional food.
Thingyan is just one of the many examples to prove what fun-loving people the Burmese are. The Irrawaddy news once reported, “outsiders ask how the Burmese can be so cheerful in the face of so much hardship”. Aung San Suu Kyi has one answer: “In spite, or perhaps because, of the repression and injustices to which they are subjected, the Burmese have a remarkable capacity for extracting the maximum amount of fun from the opportunities offered to them during our traditional festivals.”
Photo – Ye Htut (love diary)
Models – Nang Sandar Hla Htun, Shwe Thamee
Make-up – Wai Wai (MRTV4)
Designer – May fashion
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