Myanmar New Year Celebration - The Significance Of Thingyan

By Jenna Jolie

The Myanmar New Year, also known as Thingyan, is one of the country's most important and celebrated festivals. It is a time for family gatherings, religious ceremonies, and joyous celebrations that last for several days.

Participating in the Burmese new year water festival - Thingyan festival, also known as New Year's day, will be one of the most unforgettable events of your life. You will never forget the frantic atmosphere, as well as the brilliant grins and smiling faces of the locals celebrating the most significant yearly celebration.

Let's keep reading this article to learn more about the history, customs, and significance of the Myanmar New Year.

Explore the Myanmar New Year in your upcoming trips

Explore the Myanmar New Year in your upcoming trips

What Do You Know About The Myanmar New Year? 

Myanmar New Year - also known as Myanmar Thingyan Festival, which signifies the migration of the sun from Pisces to Aries in Pali (an ancient Middle Indo language), is Myanmar's new-year water celebration. This festival is not only the largest but also the most popular event in the country, attracting tourists from all over the world. 

According to historical records, the festival was first celebrated during the reign of King Anawrahta in the 11th century. The festival was initially held to honor the Buddha and his teachings. It was also a time for people to cleanse their souls and start anew.

Over time, the festival evolved into a celebration of the New Year, and the name Thingyan was adopted. The word Thingyan is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Sankranti,' which means the movement of the sun from one zodiac sign to another. The festival is now celebrated across the country and is a symbol of unity, renewal, and hope for the future.

When is the Myanmar New Year in 2023? 

Time: 9 - 17 April

Duration: 4 days

Other names: Myanmar Thingyan Festival, Thingyan Water Festival, and Burma New Year. 

The Myanmar New Year Festival will start on 17th April; however, travelers can enjoy the water festival - Thingyan before the New Year holiday. 

How Do People Celebrate The Myanmar New Year? 

Why do people call Myanmar New Year the Water Festival? 

Traditionally, on New Year's Eve, Burmese people produced aromatic water from various types of flowers and leaves, then placed it in a bowl or jar in front of the home during the event. Every day, there would be a different type of water from a different leaf.

How people celebrate the Myanmar New Year festival

How people celebrate the Myanmar New Year festival

Nowadays, the Myanmar New Year is a four-day celebration that usually takes place in mid-April. The festival begins with the Maha Thingyan, which is the Water Festival. During this time, people pour water over each other to wash away the past year's sins and bad luck. The tradition of pouring water has its roots in the ancient Buddhist custom of washing Buddha statues during the New Year. People would wander in the sun after being flushed with water to dry their garments and enjoy the relaxing time. The celebration also symbolizes the desire for a successful life and a peaceful and bright future for the entire nation.

Activities and Traditions

As the music is switched on in the evening, the celebration begins with a variety of exciting activities such as dancing, pranks, and divination overnight. Myanmar people will dress in colorful outfits and carry water guns and buckets to splash water on each other. It is a time of ultimate joy and happiness, and people from all walks of life come together to celebrate. Furthermore, at the start of the new year, each person will exchange well with Myanmar New Year wishes to wish for another happy and prosperous life. 

People will dress in beautiful costumes to celebrate this festival

People will dress in beautiful costumes to celebrate this festival

On the first day, the festival is known as A-Kyo-Nei. It is a day for spiritual reflection and contemplation. People visit temples and monasteries to make offerings to the Buddha and seek blessings for the New Year. It is also a day for families to come together and pay respects to their ancestors.

On the second day, this day is called the A-Kya-Nei; Myanmar people will do some activities such as charity and giving by donating food, clothing, and other essentials to the less fortunate. Family members on these days will reconcile with family and friends and let go of past grievances. 

The third day of the festival is called New Year's Day or Nayon. It is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts; people visit their friends and relatives, exchange gifts, and feast on traditional foods. On the last day of the Myanmar New Year, everyone will gather together and point out the solutions for the problems in the old year and set goals for the future. 

On the last day, this New Year's Day begins with a traditional water-pouring ceremony, in which people pour water over Buddha statues to show respect and thanks. This is followed by a visit to a nearby pagoda to give offerings and pray for good fortune in the next year.

Food and drinks

Food is an important aspect of each event, including Thingyan. There are plenty of treats and booze to keep festival-goers energized. Rice is Myanmar's most significant crop, so expect to see sweet and acidic rice dishes. Sticky rice balls and fresh fruits and vegetables are popular side dishes during this event.  

A sticky rice ball, which is the most common food of Myanmar New Year

Experience The Myanmar New Year’s Rituals And Traditions

The Thingyan festival is a symbol of unity, renewal, and hope for the future. Have you ever thought about your future? Visit Myanmar at this time for you to see the colorful life, which is also a great way to start your journey in your life. 

If you have not made your travel plan yet, you can refer to top destinations in Myanmar you might not want to miss

Tips when attending the Myanmar New year

  • Travelers should respect the local culture and customs when visiting the nation and participating in the celebration. You might anticipate being wet and lost in the crowd during the event, so don't bring valuables, especially electrical devices, since they will be saturated in the water. If you must bring your phone and camera, place them in a waterproof bag.

  • Slippers and sandals are strongly advised to be worn throughout the celebration.

  • In Myanmar's water fighting festival, you can splash anyone but don't splash old people, monks, pregnant women, or drivers.

  • April is the hottest month; therefore, wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. 

In conclusion, Myanmar New Year is one of the most important celebrations of the Myanmar people. Nowadays, traveling to Myanmar is easier than ever with a visa. What are you waiting for? Apply for a Myanmar e-visa now to have the chance to experience all the activities at the Myanmar New Year festival. With simple steps, travelers can have an e-visa in a few days after checking your eligibility. If you have any questions, please contact us for any information that you want to know about Myanmar visa FAQs and the visa process. Hope you have a great trip!