Festivities in April in Myanmar – Thingyan (Water Festival: 13 – 16 April) – Part 2

And so descends the King of Celestial Gods

Thingyan comes from Sanskrit which means a “changeover,” referring to the transition from the old year to the new year. The timing of New Year’s day is based on the Myanmar Lunar calendar. It occurs at the end of the first month of the Myanmar calendar, which usually falls within the month of April in the Western calendar.

According to the tradition, the astrologer calculates the start of Thingyan by studying the positions of the various constellations. Myanmar people believe that this is the time of Thagyamin, the King of Celestial Gods, who descends to earth. Myanmar Buddhists consider him as the caretaker of the Buddhist religion and revere him greatly.

On the eve of Thingyan (12 April), just about every Myanmar household prepares an earthen pot filled with seven flowers representing seven days of the week, and places it in front of the house to welcome the descending Heavenly King. The period of Thingyan is determined by the length of his stay, i.e. the first day to welcome him, the day of his descent, an intervening day and the day of his ascent.

Soon this week, everybody will be drenched in water.  People splash each other with buckets of water, hoses of all kinds (gardening hoses to fire hoses), any container that will hold water regardless the size.  The Thingyan Festivity ushers in the Myanmar Buddhist New Year!  It is enjoyed from the remotest village to the bursting cities of Yangon (Rangoon) and Mandalay – both old capitals of the country.

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