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Vol.3  No.3   April-June 2004 

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Thagya Min Is Coming To Town

by:Hpone Thant

Astrological diagrams to calculate the position of the planets and determine the Thingyan period

Astrological diagrams to calculate the position of the planets and determine the Thingyan period

According to our beli efs Thagya Min or King Of The Celestial Beings come to visit the abode of humans annually during the Thingyan or the Myanmar New Year time. But when exactly will he arrive?

This question is settled by the wise astrologers who with their complex charts and calculations determine when he will be in the abode of humans. They also tell what animal he will be riding and what colour of clothes he will wear and what kind of instruments will be in his hands, for all these will influence the coming year!

All this is printed on what the Myanmar people know as "Thingyan Sar" or the Thingyan Letters and available widely.

The Thagya Min descends to the abode of humans on a garuda with a sickle in one hand and a scepter in another The colour of the Thagya Min's clothes will determine whether it will be a peaceful year or not. The animal the Thagya Min rides is also important. Then the weapons or instruments that he holds in his hands will tell what he sees in the future: war or peace, or a good and pros perous New Year. If he is holding a sickle the farmers will have a good year. By tradition every Myanmar household places small jars of Eugenia leaves and flowers in front of their houses to welcome this august visitor.

In the Thingyan Sar are included such information as the astrological positions of the various planets and their influences on the lives of the people, advice for the farmers as to when to start planting, the amount of rain expected in the beginning, the middle and the end of the monsoon. 
The beginning and the end of the Buddhist Lent are calculated and the time for the monks to observe the Buddhist Lent.

The Thingyan Sar also advises those born on the First Day of the New Year to take special note as they are blessed with good fortune but for the rest there is also advice what to do if they are confronted with any misfortune.

And one of the most important of Thagya Min's job is to make a list of good and bad behaviour:who is naughty and who is nice. Children are cautioned to be extra good at this time of the year because Thangya Min is in town and making a list of good children on gold leaf but the bad ones will be recorded on dog skin. Even teenagers and adults are wary of this danger for who wants their name recorded on dog parchment!

A typical scene all over the country. Revelers tour the town and get splashed Myanmar is a rural and agrarian country, with traditions and customs deeply rooted. This notion of forecasting the future on Celestial Beings traveling in space riding on animals seems a strange but charming custom. However, Thingyan Sars are still being consulted even in this era of satellites and interplanetary rockets. For this year the Thingyan Sar says that the Thagya Min is to visit the abode of humans from April 13 to April 16. He will be wearing a red dress and riding a garuda with a scepter in one hand and a sickle in the other. And he is sure to bring along his two books, so be extra good and try to get your name on the golden one.

Hpone Thant is a regular contributor to Enchanting Myanmar magazine and writes on the country’s customs and traditions and nature. He can be reached at: harry@swiftwinds.com.mm