Thingyan is a word derived from Sanskrit meaning change. Thingyan festival is thus the festival of changing from old year to new-year. It is held prior to Myanmar new-year to cleanse away evil deeds of the past year with water.
Tagu is a month of Myanmar New Year fell on second week of April. It is celebrated with three days or four days of water throwing. Thagyarmin, King of celestials comes down from his heavenly abode riding on a creature of his choice just a few days before New Year’s Days. When he descends it is time for Thingyan to begin. Households welcome him by putting out a flower pot on verandahs or balconies or lacking either, on a chair placed outdoors. The astrologers in their wisdom are able to predict what color clothes he would be wearing, and being a King, to ride on a particular creature chosen for the year.
Nowadays youth go out for enjoyment by throwing water at others or getting soaking wet by others. Pandals are specially constructed and from it, water is thrown at passer by and revelers going around in open cars and trucks. The young people take this chance to have fun and make new friends. The boys and girls riding around in open cars, wrapped in thick towels, or they may opt to stay at the high wooden pandals entertain passer-bys with songs and dances. The traditional foods prepared at pandals and served to friends and strangers who pass by and drop in range from the more elaborate fried vegetable or shrimp crisp to sticky-rice balls with bits of jaggery with green chilies. Some housewives prepare delicious desserts of coconut and jelly, and instead of inviting people, send out the children with boxes of it to be delivered to neighbour and friends. In the evening dancing troupes go around in decorated floats to compete in dancing and rap style satirical singing contests held throughout the city. Elders take retreat in monasteries and pagoda precincts to perform meritorious deeds.