How to bookmark " Thingyan"
You have arrived in Planet Burma. Would you prefer Planet Myanmar?
If so, please click HERE.

On the evening of Tuesday 17th May 2005, large numbers of Britain-Burma Society members descended on the Medical Society building in central London to hear Peter Evans's talk on The Changing Face of Thingyan in Burma. They were greeted warmly and in the most genteel Burmese Thingyan spirit by Zabare (in red, above) and Palay Coelho, and chatted for a while in the reception area over coffee and samosas before proceeding into the lecture hall.

Many sizes of hose are used
Peter's talk, which was profusely illustrated with full-screen photos and video clips, covered several parts of Burma, but the biggest action in the whole country is always centred on four streets of Rangoon. A vast queue of cars and lorries waits every year, to parade past the row of stands where they will be drenched with water. The cool water - pumped from the Royal Lake - is so much welcomed that revellers linger as long as they can in the powerful jets. But eventually they have to move on - to come back another day. Not until the fourth day does half-drowning start to lose its fascination!

As is often the case with the Society's talks, a full version can be found complete with many of the photos, on the members' area of our web site. The page you are reading is a short glimpse for everyone to see!

A lorry-load of celebrants
Groups of friends travel together in party atmosphere, singing, dancing and swaying to the music and sometimes making fashion statements with outlandish styles of clothing. Very often they will hire a vehicle specially for the occasion.
Water and to spare
Water pouring into the streets from hoses has to go somewhere - and some local residents join their children in disporting themselves gaily in the rivers that now flow past their front doors! And apart from the organized events in central Rangoon, families and individuals will be carrying the cool spray of Thingyan all over the country.
A Shin Pyu ceremony with elephants
There is more to Thingyan than throwing water. Burmese people aged above about 40 prefer to use this time for religious activities. And the period running up to Thingyan is also a favourite for shin pyu ceremonies - when small boys become monks for a time. The ceremony shown, in Rakhine, was a very special one - because the boys rode on elephants, in the middle of a long procession. Such a ceremony is important for the whole community - though the little boys themselves may have a mixture of feelings about having their heads shaved and, in many cases, missing the fun of Thingyan while they are living a disciplined life in the monastery.
If you are a member of the Britain-Burma Society, you will be able to see a much fuller version of this talk - and 47 previous and subsequent talks - in the members' area of our web site. Non members can join quite simply online, for $14.95.