Burmese Water Festival educates students on Burmese culture

Art—ELAC Students paint umbrellas at the Burmese Water festival yesterday at the Quad. CN/Jaime De Haro

By James Archer

A stream of culture and tradition washed over campus as students celebrated the Burmese New Year’s Water Festival on April 16. 

During the festival, students came together to celebrate Thingyan, the Myanmar New Year Festival.  

The event featured traditional music, cultural performances and water-themed activities all aimed to provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of Burmese culture among students. 

Jeremy Allred, event coordinator, said that there are about 100 students who have a Burmese background, and events like these show respect to them to celebrate their tradition.

“Events like these broaden local student’s cultural perspectives. There are many cultures in the world and many, many different traditions to learn about. The more we learn about each other’s cultures, the better the world,” Allred said. 

Activities for the event included a violin solo performance by student Brittany Noe, a cultural dance performance and booths, where students can customize their own umbrellas and have their name translated in Burmese.  

Games featured at the event all surrounded the water theme of the festival with games like water pong, a game where you have to try and make a ping pong ball into a cup with water similar to Beirut, and a spin on “Milk Bottle Toss” where they would use water guns to knock down the stacked cups. 

The event had an area for students to enjoy a freshly made Burmese traditional snack, Mont Lone Yay Paw, a sweet rice ball made from rice flour, palm sugar and garnished with fresh coconut shavings. Mont Lone Yay Paw translates to snack balls floating in water.  

“Knowledge, to show the benefits of coming to an institution of higher learning that has a diverse population and you get to learn about other cultures by being represented by students from the culture itself,” Frank Lazano said an Interclub Council Adviser. 

The Burmese Water Festival is a new year celebration in Myanmar, occurring in April and lasting several days. People usually engage in water fights and splash others with water to cleanse and purify themselves for the New Year. Water is used to both cool and provide a refreshing way to celebrate, it also symbolizes purity and washes away the previous years misfortunes. 

“It’s a blessing, a sort of new year’s wish, to get good grades, wealth or prosperity,” Allred said. 

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