- Maha Saddhamma Jotika Dhaja,
Sithu Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt
According to Myanmar-English Dictionary Published by Myanmarsar Commission, Maha Thingyansar is ‘’the Bulletine predicting the time of transition into the new year and climatic and crop conditions to be expected in that year’’.
Myanmar Kings (Mon, Rakhine, Bama, Shan) formed the State Board of Calendar composing monks, Brahmins and learned laymen who were gurus in astrology, astronomy, meteorlogy, climatology, seismology, mathematics and occult sciences to work out and issue a calendar for the up-coming new year.
Reproduced in this article is the illustration and gist of Mandalay Maha Thingyan Sar for the coming Myanmar Sakarit 1379. It is the joint work of the calendar board headed by Saya U Min Thein B.Sc (Hons) H.G.P. He is the grandson of Saya U Hla Kyaing and Saya U Ba Hlaing, who were sons of Saya U Bo Htwe (Veda Seinda Bala) member of the State Calendar Board. They all are descendants of Kisna Monshana, Brahmin Guru who received the title Dhamma Rajadi Raja from Myanmar Kings.
The illustration shows from left to right, Prawka Devi Angle hands over the head of Athi Brahma to Rathaka Devi Angle who takes the charge. On the night is the Banu Raja Sunday Planet King wearing the dress of conch shell colour riding a handsome bullock, holding a hammer in one hand and a sickle in the other coming out from the south-east direction and going to the west direction. Hammer represents workers sickle represents peasants, bullock represents agriculture conch colour represents parity. The Sun measures 50 yuzanas in diameter and 150yuzanas in circumference.
It is composed of gold at the core with a crystal cover emitting one thousand rays to light and give warmth to the entire world.
Paragraphs of prediction, prophesy, forebodings followed with instructions for the dos and the do nots for human beings in their daily life. Auspicious days and in auspicious days in every month are given in a rhy med formula. Good days and bad days for long journey are given in a chart. Precriptions for 8 days born are given to protect, to prevent danger or to lessen or to relieve danger are given separately. 8 days are (1) Sunday (2) Monday (3) Tuesday (4) Wednesday (5) Thursday (6) Friday (7) Saturday and (8) Rahu. Their cardinal directions are also mentioned such as Sunday at North-East, Monday at East, Tuesday at South East, Wednesday at South, Thursday at West, Friday at North, Saturday at South West and Rahu at North West directions. Each day is symbolized by terestrial, aquatic or Ariel creatures such as Winged garuda bird for Sunday, tiger for Monday, Lion for Tuesday, Elephant for Wednesday, Rat for Thursday, Guine Pig for Friday, Naga Snake for Saturday and Elephant without tusk for Rahu.
Thingyan pan or special variety of seven kind of flowers and springs representing 7 days are made into a bouquet to put into a terra cotta medium size uncovered pot filled with clear cool scented water. Seven flowers of springs are Coconut leave for Sunday, Gantgaw (Mesua Ferrca Linn) Iron Wood for Monday, Sein Pan (Gold Mohue) for Tuesday, Ywet Hla (croton) for Wednesday, Myayzar Grass (Couch grass) for Thursday, Than (Oliveni) Taminalia or Thi (Wood apple) for Friday and Dan (Henna) for Saturday and Yeyo (Yeyo) for Rahu. Thabyey (Eugenia) springs are also added as a symbol of victory just like laurel in Greek culture.
Here we notice that water, the elixir of life, and flora and fauna and earthern Thingyan pot signify Myanmar Thingyan is green Thingyan. It has environmental implications and significance.
Days, dates and exact timings of religious days and functions are given in the bulletin in rhymed formula. Beginning of Buddhist lent, end of Buddhist lent, Sabbath days, Waxing, Waning moons and no moon days are given in rhymed formula for easy memorization.
Details regarding the ploughing wing, trans-planting, weeding, harvesting, winnowing storing in granaries (pyg;usD;) and selling times are given for the benefit of the farmers.
Usual climate cycle and unexpected national disasters, earth quakes, volcanic eruption, wildfire, flood or draught are predicted. Even human disasters like armed conflicts, rebellions, wars, crimes are prophesied. Prescriptions are given to prevent them, or to lessen their evil impact.
Old sayings or proverbs from Thingyan Festival are interesting to note. When the Atthi Brahma head changed hands, it is the change of the burden of duty assignment. The angle who is released is happy and the angle who is taking the charge is unhappy. If an unpleasant duty is given you we used to say the head of Atthi Brahma is coming to me. In the days of Myanmar Kings, the exact time of the beginning of Thingyan was signaled by firing a cannon with a blank round. It is harmless. We use to call empty boaster as Thingyan Amyauk Kyi (oMuFeftaNrmuf MuD; tqHryg? toHomMuD;)
There is a strong belief that is the day of your birth coincides with the last day of Thingyan you are atar-sar (twmpm;) it portends misfortune for you. You have to do more deeds of spiritual merits to evade misfortune.
The very act of throwing water at each other during Thingyan is to clean each other physically as well as to cleanse each other’s mind. Cleaning and cleansing must be accompanied with four Brama cariya-Metta (loving Kindness) Garuna (Compassion) Upekha (Neutral Feeling) Mudita (happiness only. No jealousy at others’ success).
On the New Year Day, Myanmar visit their parents, old members of the family, teachers and bosses of their work to pay homage with Thingyan gift—such as soap, shampoo, cake, Thingyan Htamin (Rice seasoned with bee wax fragrance and powdered dry fish). They beg pardon for any act of insult they may have committed physically, verbally and mentally. They are given pardon and words of appreciation 3 times Sadu (well done). The worshippers and the worshipped include not only Buddhists but also non-Buddhists, Islam, Chirstian, Hindu, Confucians, Taoists, Theravada, Mahayana Buddhists even nat-spirits worshippers.
Thingyan is the Festival of rejoice.