TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Crowds were soaked in suds during the New Taipei City Water Festival in New Taipei on Sunday (April 14).
Sunday's festivities were celebrated by Taiwan's Burmese community in New Taipei and included singing, dancing, and five water splashing zones. The Buddhist festival, known in Myanmar (Burma) as Thingyan, runs from April 13 to the April 16.
The festival is held to commemorate a Buddhist version of a Hindu legend in which the King of Brahmas named Arsi, lost a bet with the King of the Devas, Sakra (Thagya Min in Burmese). As were the terms of the wager, Sakra severed the head of Arsi and replaced it with an elephant's head, transforming him into the deity Ganesha.
However, the Brahma's head was so powerful that if it would destroy the location it was left in. To prevent calamities from occurring, Sakra had to enlist princesses to alternate carrying the head each year.
The festival celebrates the transferring of the Brahama's head from one princess to another and the continued existence of the world. During the five-day festival, the water splashing phase starts on the second day, when Thagya Min descends from heaven, and the water spraying stops on the fourth day, when the god returns to heaven.
The water festival is also observed by people of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and a few minorities in the southwest of China’s Yunnan Province.
New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜, center) joins in the festivities. (CNA photo)