Yes, I know it’s the middle of April.
However, it really is the New Year …. for Burmese people! And I’m Burmese.
Burmese New Year is usually celebrated for 4 to 5 days each year based on the Burmese Lunar calendar. This year, it lands on April 12 to 16, and April 17 is the New Year’s Day. Many people do a lot of charitable work around this time, release animals, make donations, help the elders, make and share yummy food, and everyone’s in a better mood. Seasonal Padauk flowers and traditional and modernized new year songs are also everywhere.
The biggest celebration of the Burmese New Year is called the Water Festival (aka Thingyan). Water signifises cleansing. Back in the day, people used a small tree branch with leaves to dip into a bowl of water and splash people with it. As time went by, they started using bowls to splash oncoming horse-drawn/c0w-drawn carriages. Later, water guns came into style.
These days, people use garden hoses and fire hoses. They would set it up so that people on the stage can use these hoses to splash (or shoot) water at cars that are passing by. These cars are not merely passing by either. They actually use hatchbacks or jeeps and people stand on the back of it to actually get showered with water.
Here are some pictures I found online:
Please view this 2 minute video also: Myanmar’s Water Festival Video
Thingyan is a major public holiday and it brings so much joy to Burmese people. I haven’t participated in Thingyan festivities for over 10 years now. However, it’s so nice to see that so many people around the USA are doing their own variations of the Water Festival too. Even here in Rockville, I hear about thingyan celebrations. I’m actually going to one this Sunday! It may not be as authetic or big as the Thingyan back in Myanmar, but it’s still a great way of celebrating our precious New Year.
I just wanted to share this little piece of my world with you all. 🙂 Happy Burmese New Year!