The Thingyan Water Festival is the most joyous and hilarious of the many festivals in Myanmar, where everyone irrespective of race, creed, caste or colour can enjoy in carefree abandon within the bounds of cultural context. Thingyan normally falls on 12 or 13 April of every year and lasts 3 or 4 drenching days of singing, dancing, taunting, ogling, boozing and followed by the advent of the new year by the Myanmar Lunar calendar.
About Thingyan Festival, if you want to know more detail, you can visit and read here(my last year's post): http://melodymaung.myanmarbloggers.org/2007/04/just-corner-to-myanmar-thingyan-water.html
Mont Lone Ye Paw
"Mont Lone Ye Paw" or floating sweet dumpling is the traditional treat in the Thingyan Water Festival. The recipe is a simple one indeed. Glutinous rice and ordinary rice are mixed in 1:4 ratio, jaggery, a sweet candy made from the sap of toddy juice extracted from the palm tree, and coconuts are the ingredients. Here is how it is prepared. Firstly the rice is washed clean and soaked in water for the night. The next day rice is rinsed, crushed to flour in a grinding mill. Then it is put in a cotton bag and hung for some time to drain the water. Then the dough is kneaded till it becomes pliable. In the meantime jaggery balls are chopped to the size of peanuts. The dough is flattened in the palm of the hand and the jaggery pieces are put in the middle and rolled to form a small rounded ball, the size of an olive so it can be easily eaten. A fire is lit in an open space and a large pot of water is out over the fire and allowed to boil, Then the raw sweetmeat balls are thrown into the boiling water. They all submerge and come afloat when cooked. Then they are taken out with a sieve, put on a saucer and sprinkled with grated coconuts and eaten with forks, or in a simpler way with the fingers. Just as simple as that, don't you think?
Preparing that sweetmeat for the Thingyan treat needs a little organization. A group of comely damsels are chosen to make the round dumplings. Naturally they are dressed in all their finery as to attract an admiring crowd of equally agile youth. Young men are also recruited to do the heavy chores such as lifting the pots, carrying water, stoking the fire and washing the dishes. Live or recorded music is played to the accompaniment of quick-beat Thingyan dances, singing, laughter and pouring of water. There is a lot of jest and pun, some provocative in the Myanmar Language, meaning no harm is taken in the festive mood of the occasion. "ေပၚျပီလားေဟ႕၊ ေပၚျပီေဟ႕ " "Paw be lar hey? Paw be hey!" is the chorus while the sweetmeat is being cooked. Literally the query is whether the sweetmeat is afloat. But the word "Paw" carries a double meaning. It also alludes to the fact that certain parts which should not be exposed is now in danger of exposure. To quote the Readers Digest, the phrase "Pardon, is your slip showing?" will be an apt smile, a little lerry at that. Such jests, quite commonplace in this festive mood, are taken in good humour, excepting some blushing of the cheeks of some coy girls, some sulky pouts, and some equally crisp, saucy repartees, eliciting roars of laughter. Some girls, intent on mischief surreptitiously put some hot chilies instead of jaggery into the dumplings and serve it to the unlucky beau to have a bite, while they wait expectantly for the chilies burns the beau's palate followed by joyous peals of laughter.
There are a lot of endearing features of the Myanmar Thingyan Festival. Beautiful, isn't it?
Merry-wet Thingyan and Happy Mynmar New Year to you all together with us.