Thingyan

We are finally on our version of Spring Break!  Yesterday was the last day of school and today is the beginning of one of the most important Myanmar holidays-Thingyan.  It is the Burmese New Year and is celebrated by throwing water on any and everything.  Yesterday at the end of the school day the entire community had a giant water fight on our field.  Huge vats of water were prepared and everyone had a plastic jug or bowl to scoop up the water and throw on anyone they can reach.  Everyone participated to some extent-it was hot so I went ahead and just got soaked.  Poor Gav had to film it so he stayed dry and didn’t get to join in the fun.  I prepped ahead of time by bringing extra clothes, but I forgot dry undies so I had to go to the pub after school slightly soggy any way.

This is a very tame version of what they actually do in Yangon, which is apparently either set up stages along the road or drive trucks of people around, hosing everyone in reach.  The advice is that if you go outside for the next four days, be prepared to get soaked and have a good sense of humour about it!  A parent at school actually came with gifts for all the staff at school yesterday-a waterproof bum bag filled with makeup (for the women) or some kind of other manly cosmetics for the men.  I guess I can now protect my phone AND reapply my lipstick after getting drenched.

Last night we came home to find that the house/office next to us was having a massive party, complete with sprinklers and live singing.  Live very loud singing.  It was rattling our windows.  You can’t get too mad because it’s essentially New Year’s Eve.  Gav kept trying to get me to go with him to crash the party.  I refused because people here are way too polite to tell us we weren’t invited and it would have been super awkward.  Once in London we got an invite slipped under our door for a garden party a few blocks down.  Actually it was clearly not really an invitation, but an apology for any noise and then a sort of half-hearted “stop by and have a drink!”  Which translates to “please don’t call the noise control hotline.”  But Gav convinced me we SHOULD stop by and try to meet new people.  So we did.  The hosts had NO intentions of any random people showing up and it was so very embarrassing.  I did not want a repeat of that last night.  We stayed home.

And today we are off on our vacation-scuba diving in the Mergui Archipelago in the south of Myanmar.  It’s not a very touristy spot, so we are excited to dive in a really off the beaten track place.  There is a group of teachers from school all getting on the same boat.  Hopefully we all still want to be colleagues when we get back!  Annoyingly we have to leave 4 hours early to get to the airport as the main road there is also the main water throwing road.  The airport has a bar, so if we are way too early we can occupy ourselves I am sure!

2 thoughts on “Thingyan

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  1. Hmmmm. I’m not sure how I’d feel about all that water-throwing. Interesting that the new year starts in April. I’m trying to imagine what “manly cosmetics” might be — sunblock?

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