Thingyan celebrations kick off

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Vice President U Henry Van Thio sprinkles scented water on a dancer at the opening ceremony of Thingyan Water Festival in Nay Pyi Taw.

Thingyan is a Sanskrit word meaning “change”, and perhaps it is inevitable that the annual event to welcome the new year has changed over the years.
As the Myanmar year of 1378 comes to a close and the new year of 1379 is ushered in, one thing that has not changed is the enthusiastic throwing of water, a symbolic gesture that allows the washing away of the previous year’s sins and the anticipation of starting a new year with a clean slate.
All over Myanmar, the celebration for Thingyan, or water festival, has commenced. The opening of water throwing pandals occurred across the country yesterday, from large official stages with water hoses to small roadside stands equipped only with barrels of water and small plastic bowls with which to deliver the water to passers by.

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Dance troupes perform on the opening of the Nay Pyi Taw Mayor’s pandal to mark opening of the traditional Thingyan New Year festival in the capital yesterday.

Nay Pyi Taw’s Thingyan Festival commences with attendance of Vice President U Henry Van Thio

In Nay Pyi Taw, the opening ceremony for the Thingyan pandal attended by Vice President U Henry Van Thio was unveiled by the mayor.
The mayor of Nay Pyi Taw Dr. Myo Aung delivered a new year welcoming speech at the opening ceremony.

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The opening ceremony of Thingyan festival in front of Yangon City Hall.

Afterwards the Vice President, Union Minister for Information Dr. Pe Myint and Nay Pyi Taw Mayor Dr. Myo Aung cut the ribbon to open the Thingyan Pandal. Then the MRTV Modern music band and various dance troupes from ministries entertained the audiences with dance and song.
Also in attendance were Union Ministers, Union Attorney-General, Chairman of Peace Commission, Chairman of Anti-Corruption Commission and other officials.
In Mandalay, the celebration started at 5am, as members of the Mandalay Region government, ministers and members of parliament offered meals to 108 monks at the Mandalay City Mayor Pandal in the south of Mandalay moat.

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A reveller pours water on an Rakhine ethnic woman to celebrate Thingyan festival in Thuwanna Stadium.

At the opening ceremony of the Myanmar New Year Traditional Water Festival, Mandalay Region Chief Minister Dr Zaw Myint Maung delivered his New Year welcoming speech, in which he asked for a return to more innocent times.
He said during the occasion of the hottest spring, the water festival is the Myanmar tradition that aims to keep each other cold with love through watering. Other activities entering into the water festival have decayed the people’s love and are being influenced by decadent culture, he said.
In Yangon, the Yangon City Pandal was opened by Chief Minister of Yangon Region U Phyo Min Thein, while the Central Pandal in Myawady was opened by the Speaker of Amyotha Hluttaw Mahn Win Khaing Than.
The opening ceremonies were held along with dance troupes and music as people enjoyed the splashes of water thrown from the pandals.

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A man prepares mote lone yay paw, a Thingyan charity snack.
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