By Kaung Aung
Maha Thingyan (Water Festival) will fall at 06:12:08 in the evening on 14 April (Friday) 2023 (10th waning of Tagu 1384 ME).
King Taningangwe Planet (Sun) called “Barnuyaza”, who wears a glittering costume and holds an axe and sickle while riding a cow Lauthaba, is going to the west from the southeast. Pyaukkardaewi Angel who has accomplished her turn passes the head of Brahma to Rathakadaewi Angel and she receives it while sitting in a squatting position. Nandadaewi Angel wearing a vibrant and colourful costume is waiting for Thagyamin (Sakra-King of Devas). In 1384 ME Thingyan, the Atat Day (final day) of Thingyan falls on Sunday. This being so, Sunday can be traditionally regarded as Atasar Day.
What does Atasar mean? To quench the thirst for knowledge of Atasar, here is a brief explanation. Atasar Day falls on Sunday in 1384 ME. For instance, those who are born on Sunday are the ones who need to do good deeds, especially for good health and well-being as Atat Day falls on Sunday.
It is a tradition that Myanmar people welcome Thingyan Min with an Atar pot which is filled with water and springs of seven kinds of flora representing seven days of the week on the first day of Thingyan (Akyo Day). Additionally, King Taningangwe Planet (Sun) called “Barnuyaza” is sent off. Those people born on the day that coincided with Atat Day are assigned to this. The ascending time of Maha Thingyan will fall on Sunday (16 April 2023) at 10:16:49 pm. Those people wearing clean, tidy and neat clothes offer flowers, water, candles and fragrant sticks to Buddha, do good deeds and share merit to Thingyan Min by saying, Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu (Well-Done). Consequently, it will bring success and positive outcomes to those merit makers in the shadow of angels, as per the treatise, the disclosure of the Buddha. If those born on Sunday failed to do so, they better have traditional Thingyan Rice dedicated to serving during Thingyan Atat Day and also make charity to others. Those who fail to do both actions will attract bad luck this year. Yet some Myanmar considered this as Sunday born cannot prevent ill fortune this year. Traditions, beliefs and customs concerning Atasar things are presented fleetingly.
After that, I would like to share the history of Thingyan. When we peek back to the beginning of the Badda World where Buddhism conceived that five Buddhas arise. Brahma vividly plunged into a human world to enjoy the earth’s scent or to be resurrected in new life. Those Brahma who enjoyed the earth’s scent breathed into new life and developed as offspring in the womb as their skin was burnt and peeled. Then, they are turned into Mainma (female) and Yaukya which was later called Yaukkya (male).
Then, falling in love comes naturally and makes love. This way, their bright aura and energy diminished. Therefore, they were too terrified to ask for energy to cover the darkness. On the full moon day of Tabaung (Sunday), the sun appeared. Thanks to the sun called “Thuriya”, the fear of human beings faded away. Taningangwe (sun), which has 150 Yojana in circumference, is called accordingly. During the time of sunset, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune emerge simultaneously along with the moon which has 49 Yojana. As the moon appears as it is wished for, it is called Sanda (meaning wish).
Human beings and deities existed at the same time. Thagyamin (Indra, highest spirit Nat), and Brahma argued about the events regarding weddings, donations, and charity among others every two days. This way, Sunday and Monday, Tagu-Kason seasons and one year-two years appeared. Thagyamin commanded the Calendar era as well.
Once, Thagyamin and Brahma argued about which day will be the world’s calamity astrologically for one and two years. They asked Kavalamain, who was skilled in the Vedas, what is right. The loser will be beheaded. The Kavalamain decided Thagyamin is right after careful calculation. As a result of this, Brahma’s head was cut off. If Brahma’s head was thrown into the ocean, the water would dry up. If it is thrown into the sky, there will be a drought. If it is placed onto the ground, it will catch fire and the plant will die. Seven goddesses (Nanda, Kanya, Zanthi, Gawratha, Mahawraka, Yathaka, Pyaukka) take turns holding the Brahma’s head in their hands. Two of them take care of the head, in turn, every 30 days.
A washing hair event was held to wash away the sins. Donation events have been held to offer Thagyamin since the beginning of the earth. Charity events, religious events to have a safe and auspicious year, and applying turmeric and pouring water are also carried out during Thingyan Atat Day.
Following this belief, Myanmar people annually hold events such as Pali chanting around the city by Sayadaw to share merits on Myanmar New Year Day, donation events, releasing animals, paying respect to elders by cutting nails, washing their hair, bathing them, celebrating feasts, taking a sabbath and offering flowers, water, candles, scented sticks to pagodas and temples.
During the auspicious Thingyan festival, people should refrain from intoxicants. Similarly, disrespectful behaviour and rude conversation between parents and children and among siblings should be avoided. Moreover, both killing individuals out of anger and getting into a conflict and arguments need to be avoided. As Thingyan is an auspicious occasion,
Persons in Buddhism follow four virtues practices; love, compassion, joy and equanimity during the Thingyan period. Upholding the virtue will bring peace to Myanmar indeed.