Thinngyan, the Water Festival is the most unique and colourful with the merriest occasion in Myanmar. During Thinngyan days the people throwing water each other since the Myanmar believe that Thinngyan water has the power to cleanse the evil and sins of the old year. The water festival called “Thinngyan” falls on the last four days before Myanmar New Year day, which is in the second week of April roughly on the twelfth or thirteenth, according to the Gregorian calendar. Thinngyan water festival time is the merriest time for Myanmar young and old. Almost the whole populations are in the most joyous mood; roam around the city in cars or on foot to throwing and splashing water each other.
Elaborately decorated pavilions and pandals called Mandats are built beside of almost every street in front of government offices and private business establishments. Special Thingyan songs play all the time. Some pavilions have raised platform for traditional dance performance. It is really eye-catching, beautiful Myanmar damsels sporting springs of yellow Padauk blossoms in their hair and a round patch of traditional Thanakha on their cheeks. All the people, mostly young boys and girls, some not-so-young, sometimes parents and kids ride on the open top jeeps, and pick-up trucks come to the pavilions to play water and to see the dance.
The Myanmar believes that Thinngyan water has the power to cleanse the evil and sins of the old year. There is an interesting legend attached to this festival. It is believed that the king of celestial beings – Thagyarminn – descends to the earth on the first day of Thinngyan to take note of how mortals behave. He records good deeds on a gold parchment and bad on a parchment made from dog skin. The time the celestial king descends marks the beginning of the ‘change’ (Thinngyan comes from a Sanskrit word which means change).
While Thinngyan is a time for fun, it is also a time for religious reflection. People go to temples to do merit and offer food to monks, pay homage to elders and bathe Buddha images. Food is prepared and offered to one and all. Young people pay respects to their elders by washing their hair, cutting their nails and offering them gifts.