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Annual Burmese Thingyan Water Festival 2014

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by Telani Kumar (subscribe)
A free-spirit studying psychology at the University of Sydney.
Event:
Burmese tradition brought to Sydney's doorstep
So I recently learnt about a traditional Burmese festival entitled the Thingyan, or 'Water Festival'. It is an annual event and is the equivalent of New Year celebrations in Myanmar culture. Want to witness this vibrant cultural event, but don't want the expenditures of traveling to Burma? Well you're in luck because the Burmese community of Sydney hosts Thingyan celebrations at Blacktown Showground every year (Cnr: Richmond & Kent St).

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Cultural picture representing the 'cleansing' waters that are key to this festival. Image from Facebook event page:https://www.facebook.com/events/1555589694665455/?ref=br_tf


The main feature of this festival is the splashing of water onto relatives, friends, and others (with the Monks and elderly people being exempt). In Myanmar culture, this symbolises washing away of any sins or bad luck that may have been collected over the past year. And so, the new year is entered with purity, cleanliness, and everything that is needed to really have a fresh start. Some even see this annual event as a chance for rebirth.


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The streets of Burma are taken over by water hoses (and pistols for children) during Thingyan. Image from myanmartravel.org/festivals/thingyan.html


Yes, there is every possibility that the festivities will have you looking and feeling as though you have been in a shower. Perhaps you may even feel as though you have jumped in a pool. The splashing and water-shooting are all in good nature; you can be sure of this at the family friendly event to take place in Blacktown. In saying this, it is highly recommended that you bring a water proof bag (or leave your valuables in the car) whilst participating in the water activities. Wear clothes that you won't regret getting soaked, and bringing a change of clothes will probably not go astray.

The Sydney-based event will also feature other pieces of Burmese culture for you to experience. There will be traditional food including Mon Hin Gar - a noodle and fish soup - and traditional dances and music.

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A snapshot from Yangon, the home of Myanmar culture. Image from: www.journeymart.com


The Blacktown version of the Myanmar festivities are sure to be true to the celebrations in Burma. The Sydney community of Burmese people aim to make the entire venue as reminiscent of the large crowds and festive atmosphere back in their homeland. Further entertainment like face-painting for children, and band and DJ performances will be happening throughout the day to make the event all the more lively.

If you are interested in this cultural event, or for an interesting and fun day out this Sunday (6th of April) be sure to get down to Blacktown showground. Also, I realise I should have written about this more in advance, however I hope that I can still encourage you to be on the look out for this event in future years - pencil it in!
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Why? Burmese New Year celebrations extend to Sydney.
When: An annual event - this year: April 6, 2014, 10am to 5pm.
Where: Blacktown Showground. Not far from Blacktown train station.
Cost: Free, other than parking, food, and some activities.
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