Celebrate Burmese New Year in Myanmar
April is regarded as the hottest month in Myanmar (Burma) and is also the happiest and jolliest time for many people as it is the time of water festival which comes to welcome the Burmese New Year. The dates of the Thingyan festival are calculated according to the traditional Burmese calendar, but now fixed to Gregorian calendar 13 to 16 April. It often matches with Easter time.
This is the time when young or old regardless of background or religion are ready to splash water on each other. Temporary pandals (stalls) are purposely built along the streets throughout the country to entertain the festival goers with jets of water to play under. Some pandals are set up for performances such as traditional group dances, comedy acts and completions.
Especially in Yangon and Mandalay people drive through the city in open top cars and trucks queuing in long lines before the pandals to get soaked by water pipes and see the artistic performances during the day time. Children and neighbors also come out into the street in front of their houses with water pistols, buckets of icy or scented water to throw water on anyone passing by. Basically, the water symbolizes the washing away of the previous year’s bad luck and sins.
There is more to the Thingyan Festival than water. The Burmese people show their generous nature by offering snacks to people playing at the pandals and praying in the monasteries regardless of whether they know them or not. Some people choose to take quiet refuge in monasteries and pagodas to do meritorious deeds during the changing period from the old to New Year, with a belief that this will bring good karma and luck throughout the year ahead.