Traditional Shan Water Festival Held for First Time in Taunggyi

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The Shan capital played host to the first Shan-style Thingyan celebrations in recent memory.

TGI Water
Photo by Sai Yan Naung

Ethnic Shan people from around the country gathered in the Shan State capital Taunggyi on Friday to take part in something most had never experienced before—a Shan-style water festival to mark the Buddhist New Year.

It was the first such festival to be held on a large scale in most people’s memory, signaling a resurgence of ethnic pride among Shan youth.

The event took place in the compound of the C3 Café on Kanbawza Road in Taunggyi’s Yae Aye Kwin ward on April 19.

TGI Water
Photo by Sai Yan Naung

“The objective of this traditional water festival was to foster unity among Shan youths,” Nang Mya Oo, the festival’s organizer, told SHAN, adding that a more inclusive “Union ethnic Thingyan” festival was also held.

“Shan youths from different regions joined this traditional water festival. Nowadays, it’s rare to see young people celebrating the New Year in their traditional costumes. I think it’s great to see this kind of celebration,” said Taunggyi resident Nang Hom Khur.

Over 500 people, including Shan youths from Yangon, Mandalay, Panglong, Pinlong, Taunggyi and other cities joined the event. Participants made their way to the venue from the Kengtung monastery while playing traditional Shan long drums and dancing in the Shan style.

There were also performances of traditional Shan dance at the festival, and Shan food was offered free of charge to all participants.

TGI Water
Photo by Sai Yan Naung

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