ThinGyan Association was founded in 1992 in New York City with the mission to keep alive the traditional arts and culture of Burma. We are a volunteer-based, non-profit association that organizes cultural and education programs for the newest generation of Burmese Americans, Burmese immigrants who wish to preserve their birth-culture, and all those who care about mulit-ethnic tradition, folk arts, and cultural diversity. ThinGyans mission is especially significant in light of difficult access to the indigenous cultures in Burma (now called Myanmar) and the few organizations outside Burma addressing them.
Water Festival in New York
Thingyan Water Festival marks the start of the Burmese lunar calendar New Year, which occurs in mid-April—at the height of summer heat. The festival is celebrated with water as a symbol of the flow of time, washing away past misdeeds to provide spiritual renewal, and greeting the up-coming monsoon to bring a bountiful new beginning.
The three-day festival in Burma is celebrated with splashing water, performances, courtship, and general good cheer. The elders of the family and community are treated to special services, such as hair washing, massage, house cleaning, and cooking elaborate meals. Interestingly, this used to be the only time when some of the social constraints are suspended enabling anyone to express their grievances and opinions freely and publicly through skits and songs.
Since April can still be cold in New York, the Water Festival is usually celebrated here in mid-July. We have been offering the Rakhaing (one of the eight major ethnic groups of Burma) water play since 1994. We also enjoy food and games from all over Burma. Our internationally renown festival is the largest Burmese cultural event outside of Burma.