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Happy New Year

Dear All,

Happy Myanmar New Year
May this auspicious New Year brings all the best to you.
May this Myanmar New Year blessing bring peace, joy, good health &
prosperity to you & your family....

I wish each of you received sprayed with cool water along with this best of New Year’s wishes. That cool aromatic splash of natural water is from Myanmar. That is brought to you by the correspondent Insha Allah, at this (Myanmar) New Year!

I wonder what you guys might be doing. I’m just sitting in the living room gazing over the fence. Children are laughing gaily, teasing each other and throwing water to each other and to the pedestrians. My clouds of thoughts are wandering with the Thingyan music. I can’t figure out whether I’m making merry or boring. Somehow today is the second day of a long holiday. Today is the fall of Thingyan water festival. I control my scattered thoughts and rally my strength for what I’m gonna do in those hot summer days staying in this house.

Thingyan is the Burmese New Year Water Festival and usually falls around mid-April. It is celebrated over a period of four or five days (from 13th to 16th of April) culminating in the New Year. The dates of the Thingyan festival are calculated according to the traditional Burma calendar. The dates of the festival are observed as the most important public holiday throughout Burma (for civil servants, it is 10-day holiday starting from 12th to 21st April) and are part of the summer holidays at the end of the school year (March, April and May is holiday for primary to high school students). Water-throwing or dousing one another from any shape or form of vessel or device that delivers water are the distinguishing feature of this festival. It has been celebrating since ancient time of Burmese kings.

Large crowds of revelers, on foot, bicycles and motorbikes, and in open top jeeps and trucks, will do the rounds of all the pavilions, some making their own music and most of the womenfolk wearing thanaka (a paste of the ground bark of Murraya) on their face and padauk (Pterocarpus macrocarpus) on their head. Floats, gaily decorated and lit up, also with festive names and carrying an orchestra as well as dozens of young men on each of them, will roam the streets stopping at every exchanging songs specially written for the festival including the Thingyan classics that everyone knows, and performing than gyat (similar to rapping but one man leads and the rest bellows at the top of their voices making fun of and criticizing whatever is wrong in the country today such as fashion, consumerism, runaway inflation, crime, drugs, AIDS, corruption, inept politicians etc.). It is indeed a time for letting go, a major safety valve for stress and simmering discontent.

When I was young, I used to be joyful celebrating the festival visiting around the city by car with my cousins and we loved to be sprayed water. Then, the festival was scented with beautiful and lovely traditional culture. Nowadays, the festival is overwhelmed with decadent behaviors and honestly, I really dare not go outside during the days. There will be the usual spate of accidents and incidents from drink driving or just reckless driving in crowded streets full of revelers and all manner of vehicles, as well as drunkenness, arguments and brawling. Last year, even unbelievable bomb blast was recorded in a crowded stage of Yangon and about ten people died and we hadn’t experienced such bitterness throughout our history. No matter the controversy of who has committed (the government itself or the oppositions); our festival has been blood-shed.

Traditionally, Thingyan involved the sprinkling of scented water in a silver bowl using sprigs of Eugenia, a practice that does not continue today. The sprinkling of water was intended to metaphorically "wash away" one's sins of the previous year. In major cities such as Yangon, garden hoses, huge syringes made of bamboo, brass or plastic, water pistols and other devices from which water can be squirted are used in addition to the gentler bowls and cups, but water balloons and even fire hoses have been employed! It is the hottest time of the year and a good dousing is welcomed by most.

The endearing memories of Thingyan festival left with my childhood. Since the teenage life, I stop taking part in the festival and going out. My family makes trip to particular wonderful places of the country where we have never been to or to the homes of our grandparents. This year, as my younger sister who is away cannot come back to family for her studies, our family doesn’t make the vacation and we just stay at home. My youngest sister and I have collected books and DVDs and those are companion for our five day holiday (from 13th to 17th).

I don’t believe the sins in our mind can be washed away with water. Mind is mind! As it is what my insight is, the wick and deed in my soul and heart can only be realized and healed by my inner self-awareness and self-building. That’s time for me to reflect what I have achieved and have to develop. That’s time to rest and recharge my power. That’s time to stop crisis in my emotions and to seek peace for myself and those whom I love.

April 17th is the New Year day for Myanmars. Many make New Year resolutions. I can’t find mine yet. I, however, wish everyone had fun in the New Year and I’ll also make fun as much as I can.

I think I neither spray to others nor am sprayed physically during this Thingyan but I send my love of cool spray to each and everyone of those whom I love along with this New Year message.

Wish you all & your family have a very wonderful Water Festival 1373 (2011)!
Wish everyone a New Year filled with peace, prosperity and happiness.
Wish all our people around the world happy Myanmar New Year
May this New Year bring the best health, wealth & luck through out the year.

With Love,
Insha Allah

Comments

Farona's picture

Happy New Year sister! Ah

Happy New Year sister!

Ah did I just get splashed with aromatic water!

Kindly accept my wholehearted wishes on this auspicious occasion. Festivals can be overwhelming but it’s absolutely fun to see the joy in people’s faces ;- )

You shared your thoughts beautifully, I felt as if I was there.

Is it celebrated differently in certain parts of the country ?

Insha Allah's picture

Burmese Thingyan water festival

Dear sister Farona,

Thank you so much for your heartfelt response! Yes! It’s really a joyful festival. Almost all of the foreigners who have a chance to celebrate it really have fun!

The significance of the festival is spraying water each other (except to monks, nuns and pregnant women). At the stages and pavilions, during the day time, water spraying and performances such as dancing and singing are held. Some pavilions have two stories, one is for water playing and the other is for performance. At night, performance is still there. We can have celebration it everyone, I mean not only in those stages but also just in front of our house and can splash to passersby. We have traditional foods and during the festival, such foods are made at almost every house and share to others. Although it is not a Buddhist festival, most of the Buddhist take Sabbath and some hold novitiation ceremony and alms donation to monks are hugely held. At the New Year day, water spraying is no longer and set freeing to birds and fish and wishing hair to aged are celebrated. Around the country, almost everything is same except some tribes have their traditional celebration. The larger the city, the more crowed! We can see celebrities like movie stars and vocalist can be seen at the pavilions in the big cities like Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Daw (the capital).

Thank you so much for your interest!

With Love,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

mrbeckbeck's picture

Happy New Year!

I wish you a joyful holiday, sister! Thank you for sharing the traditions with us. :)

I hope that it is a fun and peaceful celebration this year, and that you make some special new memories!

Wishing you well,
Scott

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Volunteer

Insha Allah's picture

Thank you

Dear Scott,

Thank you so much and am I really having a great time here in this holiday!

Best regards,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

nilima's picture

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU

Insha Allah's picture

THANK YOU

Dear Nilima,

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Best regards,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Happy New Year, Insha!

I viewed the festival last year on television. It's really really fun! We have a a similar celebration here in our country - the feast of St. John the Baptist every 24th of June. It's truly a crazy and everyone's just happy throwing water and getting drenched like little children playing in the rain. That's a great reminder that the child in us keeps our joy intact despite life's difficulties and challenges. Happy New Year, Insha! All the best ...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Insha Allah's picture

THANK YOU

Dear sister Emie,

Yes! Thingyan festival is really a one full of fun. Almost all of the foreigners who have joined the festival, who I met said they all got happy memory. Some countries have similar festival and thank you for sharing your tradition, too!

With Love,
Insha allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

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