Looking Back Into Myanmar’s Past


Traditional snack shop at Yaykyaw Thadingyut Yangon/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons

A family business was really common in Myanmar. This family is preparing food for the people attending the festival.

Myanmar, considering its military government issues with human rights violations, might not seem like the ideal place to live or even visit because of how dangerous it is. But from the 1970s to the 1990s, Myanmar was very different from what it is now. It was almost unrecognizable. It was lively, amazing, and enjoyable.

Even with Myanmar’s poverty issues, everything was affordable.

“Myanmar was a great place to live back in the 70s,” Logansport resident Kap Dual Lo Thang said. “Even with a few coins, you could get as many snacks as you wanted to fill your stomach.”

Villages were close to each other, so everyone knew each other. Everyone was close to each other because of how small the villages were.

“My friends and I would stay up all night,” Logansport resident Nian Khan Mang said. “Even during the day, we would get together and stay in the shade and just talk all day doing nothing. That was how nice it used to be. You used to be able to relax with friends doing nothing.”

The festivals in Myanmar were something to look forward to every year Khuado-pawi (a harvest festival), Thadingyut (a light festival), and Thingyan (a water festival).

“Every year was filled with excitement,” Mang said. “Knowing that the festivals were coming up, they were the highlight of our year.”

Khuado-pawi was something everybody loved, and it was done around November or December. Mang really loved Khuado-pawi since it was just another excuse to hang out with friends.

“Christmas, Khuado-pawi was really fun,” Mang said. “We used to drink wine because it was made for the festival. I remember all the kids passed out from having too much wine.”

Thadingyut was done separately in every village, but pretty much had everyone involved.

“Thadingyut was so beautiful,” Mang said. “One year everyone watched a movie outside. They had a big screen, and there were lights everywhere.”

Thingyan was held yearly as a new year celebration. It was popular and also done at concerts, not just as a new year celebration. There was also food served specifically for the festival.

“Thingyan brought everyone together all the time,” Mang said. “Water was thrown by little kids and grown-ups. No one was merciful to anyone else. If a person with a water bucket saw you, water was thrown at you. No one got mad if water was thrown at them. They knew what was in store for them.”

Mang still looks back at her childhood, Even though it wasn’t perfect, it was memorable.

“Even with the many issues in Myanmar,” Mang said. “Life was good back then since everyone was close with each other. It was comfortable.”