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Welcoming Thingyan: 16th Rakhine Traditional Sandalwood Grinding Ceremony

12 April 2019

To welcome the Thingyan Festival, ethnics hold events in their own tradition and among them is the most prominent Rakhine Sandalwood Grinding Ceremony.

Rakhine nationals in Yangon Region annually organize their traditional Thingyan Water Festival together with Sandalwood Grinding ceremony. This year, however, under the supervising of Yangon Region Rakhine Ethnic Affair Ministry, Rakhine associations in Yangon organized only the sandalwood grinding festival. Yangon Region Rakhine Ethnic Affairs Minister U Zaw Aye Maung attended the ceremony and made the new year wish.

Secretary General, Organizing Committee, Sein Lwin said “Last year, there were 21 teams for the competition. But this year, lots of ladies and men went back to Rakhine State and so we couldn’t organize a competition. Today, here, the ladies will grind sandalwood and tomorrow we will offer the sandalwood scented water to Buddha images.”

This year, 8 teams were participating in the sandalwood grinding ceremony to pour the aroma water onto the Buddha images. Normally, 80 peoples are to form a team to compete but this year, with the less number of people, a team was allowed with only 40 people for the grinding ceremony. 

Thazin Aye said “I wish all the Rakhine people peace, good health and wealth.”

Phyo Wai Thant said “I wish all the Rakhine people to be secured, peaceful and joyful.”

Le Le Than Kyi said “I’m truly grateful that I got to join the ceremony. Last year, I went back to Rakhine and couldn’t participate here.”

This is the 16th Rakhine traditional Sandalwood Grinding ceremony in Yangon. Due to the some crisis occurring in Rakhine State, the Rakhine nationals in Yangon decided not to organize the water festival, organizers said. But they decided to keep holding the Sandalwood Grinding ceremony, hoping to bring peace to the people of Rakhine.