Enjoy Myanmar New Year Festival in April
Thingyan or the Water Festival is held throughout the country for three days in the month of April, will be fall from 14th to 16th April in year 2007. It simultaneously marks the end of the old year and beginning of the new. Young people gather together to sing and dance, and to playfully throw water on each other. Throughout the Thingyan Carnivals decorative floats and water throwing pandals are seen everywhere in both towns and cities alike. If you are not afraid of getting wet, this high spirited festival is one that you won't want to miss!
The people of Myanmar usher in their New Year around the middle of April with showers of blessing - in the form of water, which is thrown over friends and even strangers on the streets.
Known as the Thingyan Water Festival, which last three days, it symbolizes the change (Thingyan) from the old year to the new. It is also the equivalent of the Western tradition of "turning over a new leaf" at the start of the New Year.
According to popular belief, it also marks the time when the King of Nats, Thagyamin, descends to earth for a visit to check on the conduct of human mortals. He carries with him a book, one covered with dog-skin and the other bound with gold. He records the names of those who have committed sins into the dog skin book, while he enters the names of the do-gooders in the golden book.
For this reason, the Water Festival is a time when people try to make amends by entering monasteries or meditation centers or engaging in charitable deeds.
Water is a symbol of cleanliness and during Thingyan, Monasteries, Pagodas and images of Buddha are bathed clean with water. Also, help is given to the elderly to wash their hair as the head is considered the noblest part of a person and must be kept clean. As a form of merit-making, monks are also offered the choicest food as alms.
Apart from the spiritual benefits, the splashing of water during Thingyan has a practical side, since April is a hot month and the water sprinkling actually brings welcome relief. It's an occasion too for young men and women to strike up acquaintances, as it's customary for all-male groups to visit houses to wash the hair of elderly people and to throw water over the girls if there are any in the household. The girls, on the other hand, already have their buckets of scented water ready to retaliate. The festival is thus a time for wet but clean fun. And no tourist is spared either!