New Year celebrations make a splash in Myanmar

13 April 2017
New Year celebrations make a splash in Myanmar
People play with water during the Thingyan Water Festival in Yangon on 13 April 2017. Photo: Thura/Mizzima

Hundreds of people joined a ceremony in Myanmar's largest city on Thursday morning to mark the beginning of the country's New Year festivities with traditional dances, songs and water fights.
People of all ages gathered in Yangon to watch the city's chief minister, Phyo Min Thein, officially open the celebrations there by cutting a ribbon and making a New Year's wish, an epa journalist at the scene reports.
The festival of Thingyan, or "transit", marks the beginning of the New Year in Myanmar and is traditionally celebrated by large crowds assembling to splash water and throw powder in each other's faces in a symbolic cleansing and washing away of the previous year's sins.
During the opening ceremony, people from various ethnic groups - including Mon, Rakhine, Kachin and Kayin - performed traditional dances, while children played in the water, battling it out with plastic pistols.
Similar scenes kicked off across the country, with everyone from children to the elderly keen to embrace the spirit of Myanmar's largest festival.
Thingyan this year runs from Thursday to Sunday, and culminates with New Year's Day on Monday.
Festivities also got underway in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, and other nations where Theravada Buddhism is practiced.