Today I was invited to a Myanmar Water Festival (Thingyan) in Sembawang, Singapore. The festival was an early celebration held by the Burmese community here to usher in the New Year which apparently happens this week (the Burmese month of Tagu).
I can’t say I really learned much about Burmese culture while I was there, apart from the fact that at New Year water festivals like this one, they spray one another with water in order to wash all bad luck away so they don’t take any of that into the year ahead.
Within just a few minutes of arriving I was soaked to the skin. Being the only white person there for quite some time, I can only assume I looked particularly unlucky and therefore in need of a wash as the locals seemed to go out of their way to spray and throw water at me more than most. It was all in good humor though and I at least tried to do as much spraying as I could too.
I can’t really tell you why the people in this picture are posing with a giant empty bowl that had contained soup. What I can tell you is that holding a camera in almost any direction ensured you of one of two outcomes. Either you would get a large group of smiling wet people posing for you in a random noisy way, or you would get water sprayed and thrown at you by the very same people.
Throughout the afternoon there was plenty of free food and fruit on offer, and a stage where various people would sing what I gather was a mixture of traditional and modern songs. I joined in as best I could, singing along to the words as they sounded to me. It was a lot of fun.