I must apologize but I had to take a short sabbatical and have not been able to join my friends from WordPress. I was studying for a job related recertification and it consumed my attention from what I enjoy doing after work to relax – that is to read your blogs and wash away the mental pains of the day (yes “overworked and underpaid”). Cho however has been kind enough to keep our Chateaux des Fleurs active with her contribution of her wonderful photos of flowers.
With the arrival of the month of April, the people of Myanmar will be preparing for the festival of “Thingyan”, the Water Festival. It is the transit of the Sun from Pisces to Aries. It falls mid-April – 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. April 17 is the Buddhist New Year. So as Myanmar Buddhists, we celebrate New Year twice, April 17 and December 31, but mind you, we grow old only once a year!
This is Part 1 of the story that lies behind Thingyan, providing you a short introduction of this festival. Thingyan marks the end of the school year; it is marked as a public holiday.
Distinguishing features of this time of the celebration are:
April 13 thru 16
- Water-throwing or dousing one another on the first four days of the festival
- Blooming of aromatic screaming yellow colored “Burmese Padauk”
- Blooming of again screaming yellow colored “Wisteria”
- Preparing food and giving them to neighbors.
- Young people perform hair washing for the elderly often in the traditional manner with “shampoo beans (Acacia rugata) and bark”.
- Alms and offerings laid before monks in monasteries (offerings of a green coconut with its stalk intact encircled by bunches of green bananas and sprigs of thabyay (Syzygium cumini) before the Buddha images over which scented water is poured in a ceremonial washing from the head down
- Many make new year resolutions, generally in the mending of ways and doing meritorious deeds for their karma.
Enough of Part 1 for now. Please enjoy the read and follow MZ and Cho with more as we celebrate our festival from afar. Best