Thingyan

   The Burmese New Year, a three- to four-day period that falls during the first half of April, the hottest time of year. It is believed that during this time, Thagya Min, King of the Gods, visits earth to check up on humans' behavior. Practitioners of astrology determine the exact time of his arrival and departure. Thingyan is also known as the Water Festival because people douse each other with water, including strangers walking along the street. Water pistols (traditionally made of bamboo), pails, and even fire hoses are used to get people thoroughly wet. Apart from members of the Sangha, high-status people are not spared, though their subordinates pour water on them respectfully. The streets of towns and villages all over Burma are packed with lively crowds, and the celebrations are often raucous. Neighborhoods, companies, and government departments sponsor special curbside stages, called pandals, where performances are given, including Western-style rock concerts.
   In recent years, economic hardship and political restrictions have made Thingyan a rare opportunity to publicly let off stream. Because the behavior of the crowds is sometimes unpredictable, the State Peace and Development Council authorities warn them to conduct the festivities in a "dignified" manner.
   See also Calendar, Burmese.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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