The Water Festival: Splish, splash in Yangon and Bangkok

Children armed with running water in the streets of Yangoon during Myanmar's celebration of the annual Water Festival

Children armed with running water in the streets of Yangoon during Myanmar’s celebration of the annual Water Festival

The day after the acclaimed ‘tsunami’, Nico and I were fortunate to make an escape out of Chuang Tha to return to the smog and fog of Myanmar’s former capital, Yangon.

Children spraying man on bicycle with water during Yangon's Water Festival in Myanmar

Children spraying man on bicycle with water during Yangon’s Water Festival in Myanmar

Our return to Yangon coincided with the first day of the Buddhist New Year’s Celebration, known in the West as the ‘Water Festival’. From our window seat on the bus, all the local Burmese – including children and adults of all ages – were soaked and out on the streets, armed with hoses and buckets filled with water to toss and throw on anyone and everyone who dared to pass by.

Misty and wet windows. Our taxi under water attack during Water Festival in Yangon, Myanmar

Misty and wet windows. Our taxi under water attack during Water Festival in Yangon, Myanmar

Everyone is a target. Anyone who is seen to make an escape dry is looked upon with pity, and is chased by hoards of locals hoping to make a blessing by ‘purifying’ you with water.

Wherever you go, you simply cannot escape getting drenched with water during Myanmar's Water Festival in Yangon

Wherever you go, you simply cannot escape getting drenched with water during Myanmar’s Water Festival in Yangon

Purification and respect are the true motivations behind drenching you with water, as it represents Buddha being bathed… being cleaned and removed from his sins and impurities of the past… and ready to start the new year afresh.

Open-top van filled with local Burmese seeking water blessings on the road in Yangon, Myanmar

Open-top van filled with local Burmese seeking water blessings on the road in Yangon, Myanmar

Despite the ‘fun factor’ behind the Water Festival, Nico and I did face a few impracticalities when trying to plan how we would get from our hotel to the airport with all of our belongings (including my netbook) without getting wet.

Water Festival in Bangkok (Picture source: http://www.eugenegoesthailand.com/?p=8155)

Water Festival in Bangkok (Picture source: http://www.eugenegoesthailand.com/?p=8155)

Though we somehow managed to leave Yangon relatively dry with our belongings free from moisture and damage, we somehow failed to consider the implications of walking around the tourist-dense and less sympathetic crowds of Kao San Road in Bangkok. I’ll leave our state of arrival into our hotel room to your imagination, but will add that I somehow managed to keep my netbook safe and sound.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s