- Thingyan means “Change”.
- Cula Thingyan (Small Change) occurs monthly (move to a new Zodiac sign)
- Maha Thingyan (Big Change) occurs yearly (Sun, in the geocentric model, enters Meiktha around April 13.
- The early Romans and Persians celebrate the New Year around March 21 – 23 (Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere).
- The Precession of the Equinoxes cause the difference of about 23 days (for Western Zodiac System versus Eastern Zodiac System).
- Some Indian races like Tamil and Hindu Bengalis celebrate the New Year on or around April 14 when the Sun entered Meiktha.
Burmese New Year
- The Burmese celebrate Thingyan Period : Ah Kyo, Ah Kya, one (or two) Ah Kyat, Ah Tet, followed by Hnit San Ta Yet (Burmese/Myanmar New Year).
- Children start throwing water on Ah Kyo. Most people throw water for three (or four) days of “Thingyan Proper”.
- In the early days, Rangoon allowed manduts (pandals), floats (ah hla pya cars), competitions (than gyat, songs, dances), and limited use of fire hydrants.
- Mandalay was noted for the musical evening extravaganza. Myoma Troupe and others made their name. “Mann Taung Yeik Kho” (aka “Mya Nandar”) became a de facto dance song for Thingyan celebrations world wide. The movie “Thingyan Moe” and its songs are still being played around Thingyan.
- In one Thingyan, three leaders U Nu, Nasser (Egypt) and Nehru (India) who co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement / Bloc participated.
- The Rakhine (Arakan) Thingyan allows young men and women to line up on the sides of a “hlay” (boat filled with water) and gently throw water.
- Some young Burmese help elderly women to wash their hair.
- Some monasteries host “Su Paung Thingyan Donlaba Pwe” around Thingyan.
- On New Year’s day, some will “free fish” back to the lakes.
Thingyan (Burmese New Year) was celebrated by UCC staff and students with “Su Paung Yahan Khan”.
The Yahan Khan was performed at a selected monastery such as
- Kaba Aye Sunlun Gu Kyaung
- Mo Hnyin Taw Ya
- Chan Myay Yeiktha
One photo shows
- Sayagyi Dr. Chit Swe
- U Win Maung
- U Hla Min
- U Tun Aung Gyaw
- U Soe Myint (GBNF)
- U Khin Maung Aye
- Daw Khin Khin Latt
U Tun Aung Gyaw (USA), U Khin Maung Aye (Singapore) and U Win Maung (Australia) are now Ph.Ds.
- Another photo shows the UCC Donlabas with a resident monk from Kaba Aye Sunlun Gu Kyaung.
- There were two U Soe Myint at UCC.
- U Soe Myint (M72) retired as Pro-Rector of ICST and is GBNF.
- U Soe Myint (KSM) retired from UN.
- Saya U Ko Ko Lay (GBNF) served as Operations Manager and Scientific Applications Manager at UCC. He later served as Professor and Head of Department at the Department of Computer Science (DCS) and the Institute of Computer Science and Technology (ICST).
- Some UCC Belles worked or taught at UCC, DCS and ICST. Some worked for Computer Departments at other organizations (including UN and overseas).
- Daw Nge Ma Ma Than (GBNF) was a Prisoner of Conscience.
- UCC also had a Dobat Waing organized by U Win Hlaing.
Not so good things can occur in Thingyan
- rowdy and/or drunk revelers
- drunken drivers
- use of unclean water and high pressure pumps
- throwing water on pregnant women and yogis
- having to go to a cemetery (not to enter “New Year” for those who pass away in Thingyan).
2018 Thingyan in the Bay Area
Ko Yu Ket (Edward Saw, EC85) gave us a ride to the Thingyan Festival at Dhammananda Vihara (Half Moon Bay Monastery).
The compound was jam packed. Many cars had to park along Highway 1 (outside the compound).
Thanks to the EC and BOD of TBSA (Theravada Buddhist Society of America), volunteers, food donors.
Among the attendees were
- Saya U Maung Maung (George, ChE66)
- U Thaung Nyunt (M87)
- U Walter Tan (M70)
- U Ko Ko Zin (M84)
- U Sein Myint (EP69)’s daughter and grand daughter