Maha Thingyan – Myanmar’s New Year Water Festival
The primary event of Maha Thingyan is the Water Festival. It celebrates the descent of Thagyamin, a celestial Buddhist figure, to Earth. The beginning of the Water Festival, or A-Kya Nei, is marked with the firing of a water cannon into a public area. While the cannon is fired, people run out to collect the water with pots and buckets. The collected water is then poured over the ground, and is followed by a short prayer.
Just like Thingyan Eve, these religious rituals are followed by festive activities. In nearly every village, city, and town in Myanmar, large stages are erected for the purpose of enjoying entertainment. After enjoying live music and dancing, people celebrating Maha Thingyan parades in the streets of their town or city while enjoying the company of their friends and family members. If you are visiting Myanmar during the festivities be prepared to get wet! A drenching is more than compensated for by the wonderful array or colours and noise that accompany the celebrations.