Like most of South-east Asia, Myanmar celebrates it’s New-Year in April with a week long festival of water throwing, hosepipe soaking and beer drinking! During the celebrations it is impossible to walk down the street without someone tipping an icy cold bucket of water over you: great in the +40°C heat, not so great if you have your phone in your pocket!
To remedy this we purchased waterproof zip-lock dry-bags for our phones and armed with our waterproof Go-Pro we headed out onto the street! In under a minute we were drenched!
Thingyan truly arrives on the second day of celebrations when the King of Devas, Sakra aka Thagya Min makes his descent from his celestial abode to earth. At a given signal, a cannon is fired and people come out with pots of water and then pour the water onto the ground with a prayer.
A prophecy for the new-year will have been announced by the brahmins and this is based on what animal Sakra aka Thagya Min will be riding on his way down and what he might carry in his hand. Children will be told that if they have been good Thagya Min will take their names down in a golden book but if they have been naughty their names will go into a book made from dog!
Then the water throwing begins! The water festival is now symbolic of cleansing ones sins for the coming year, or an excuse to get drunk and act like a child! Which suits me just fine!
All this merriment is great for the first two days, after that it all gets a bit tiresome. I must have committed a fair few sins last year for the soaking I received! In +40°C heat and with no air-con in Bee-bee we were forced to drive with the windows wound up in fear of 10L buckets of water being launched into our car as we drove past! With temperatures in the car over +50°C we were literally melting inside! From early morning into the darkness of night drunken partygoers are dancing dangerously on the edge of the road! Small kids, often unsupervised, are also throwing themselves, along with a bucket, into the road to try and soak you as you cautiously drive past. We were lucky, most scooter riders normally take a dangerous drenching regardless of sex, speed, age, whether or not they are carrying a small baby whilst sat sidesaddle or already saturated.