The annual water festival has been celebrated the coming new year with a nationwide display of performances, religious rituals, and bucket loads of water. It is an indigenous ceremony, not to be missed if you are visiting the country in April.
As Thingyan is at the end of the dry season, it's conventional that April is the hottest month of the year in Myanmar; with the daily average temperature around 35°C, alongside extreme heat and humidity to go outside. Even though ridiculous heat and dusty keep punishing, the ignorance of people in Myanmar overcome this fact. Splashing water is the distinct part of this festival and when you'll join this festival, you'll find out almost everywhere in the country splashing water mutually.
Taking place from April 13 to 16 each year, the festival of Thingyan is celebrated over four to five days, culminating on the Lunar New Year Day. Normally there are 4 days – a kyo, a kya, a kyat, a tat whereas if there is a leap year, a kyat takes 2 days to fulfill Myanmar calendar.
The actual day of Thingyan is known as a kya, the day when Thagya Min, the King of Devas, makes his descent to earth from his celestial abode. Serious water throwing only begins on this day. Traditionally, Thingyan involved the sprinkling of fragrant water in a silver bowl, a practice that continues to be widespread in rural areas. Yet, in megacities, garden hoses, water pistols, and even fire hoses have been used instead of silver bowl. The splashing of water was intended to metaphorically "wash away" one's sins of the previous year.
If you want to try to capture the moment around the dedicated and crowded area, I recommend you to go to Mahar Bandula Park around Sule Pagoda, which is the central location and most crowded location in Yangon. Locals, young and old, take to the streets, splashing one another with bucket loads of scented water. On the avenues, teenagers have some amusements with loud pop music blasting through the amplifiers.
Water Anxiety and Thingyan Citizens
During Thingyan Festival, indeed water usage is more complicated than usual days. Before 2010, Water and sanitation department of YCDC always got spiky headaches to burden the water shortage problems on their shoulders as water reservation is no longer prepared for this period. Yet, over 2010, they can reserve drinking water in advance and installed sufficient amount of hand pumps around the district.
On the contrary, the water shortage anxieties have increased while Yangon Regional Government makes a limitation on warrant of water-splashing stations and pavilions around core lakes – Inya Lake and Kandawgyi Lake.
But whatever it is, splashing water and doing good religious deeds are the common threads nationwide. Thingyan is a time of merriment, sometimes to excess and relieving stress has also become a big part of the Thingyan spirit in the modern day.