Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps
An Englishman discovers Thingyan, 1888
An Englishman discovers Thingyan, 1888

Nehru, Nasser and U Nu during Thingyan festivities in 1955
Nehru, Nasser and U Nu during Thingyan festivities in 1955

Myoma Troupe, 1958
Myoma Troupe, 1958

Prime Minister U Nu enjoying Thingyan, 1960
Prime Minister U Nu enjoying Thingyan, 1960

April

The Meaning of Thingyan

မြန်မာဘာသာဖြင့် ဖတ်ရန်

1. "Thingyan" (spelled "Saṁkran" in Burmese) is derived from the Sanskrit "Saṁkrānti". It is the same word as "Songkran" in Thai. 

2. "Saṁkrānti" means the day the sun moves from one "rashi" or constellation of the zodiac to another. There are actually 12 "thingyans" in a year! 

3. The "new year" marks the movement of the sun from the last constellation (Pisces or Mina in Sanskrit, "Mein" in Burmese) to the first (Aries or Mesa in Sanskrit, "Meittha" in Burmese). 

4. The zodiac originated in ancient Babylon (approximately 2,600 years ago). The start of the zodiac (with the first day of Pisces) in ancient Babylonian times marked the vernal equinox (the start of spring). 

5. Because of axial precession (the slow change in the earth's rotation over millennia), the vernal equinox now occurs about a month earlier (21 March), rather than during Thingyan. 

Happy Thingyan!

The video is from Thingyan, 1946.

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