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Monday, April 14, 2014

Thingyan - Myanmar Water Festival

As Thailand celebrates the three day traditional new year called Songkran, so are our friends in Myanmar. Burmese call it Thingyan - a water splashing festival filled with amazing stories and folklore. They fast, give alms and do good deeds.
Thingyan takes place toward the end of the hot, dry season and ushers in the Myanmar New Year. This festival is also celebrated in neighboring Theravada Buddhist countries; Songkran in Thailand and Laos,Chaul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia.
The festival lasts three or five days. Standing on bamboo stages erected along the streets, people splash water on passersby. Powerful water pipes douse people driving by in jeeps and trucks.
Children use water pistols to drench their friends, relatives, and anyone else in range - only monks and the elderly are safe. 
The water symbolizes the washing away of the previous year's bad luck and sins. On New Year's Day itself, all the water-throwing ends. This day is celebrated by releasing captive fish and birds as acts of merit, and special feasts are held for monks.


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