Monday, 20 January 2020

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Traditional ways summon rain in parched Pegu

New Delhi (Mizzima) - At least 1,000 residents in Pegu yesterday held rope-pulling ceremonies in a traditional bid to bring rain as the region withers under severe drought and water shortages. 

Residents held ceremonies very similar to tug-of-war contests to call on rain at Shweaungyway Pagoda, in eastern Pegu (Bago) and Kyauktwinkone Quarter, in a traditional response to a massive drought that has hit the division hard. Wells and ponds have dried up in more than 60 villages and residents have been suffering under severe shortages of drinking and utility water. 

At least 120 villages in lower Burma are also struggling to cope with the drought, which has been blamed on very high temperatures and a late monsoon. 

“I have seen rope-pulling competitions at the Independence Day sports competitions. … But, this ceremony aimed to invite Moe Khaung Kyaw Swa spirit [which brings rain according to one Burmese traditional cult] to produce rain,” Kyaw Win, a member of the National League for Democracy’s youth wing in Pegu, told Mizzima. “They [The participants also] offered coconuts and bananas to the spirit.”

Shwetaungyway and Sein Pan monastery in Pegu supervised the ceremonies. 

In previous years, the rainy season started around Kasone, or full moon day, which usually falls at the beginning of May, but this year the monsoon was about three weeks late, residents of the division said. 

Also to bring rain, monks from Kyakhatwine monastery under the supervision of the abbot on Saturday circled the town and recited the protective nga yant mint mantra. 

“We’ve recited the nga yant mint mantra for three days. Abbot U Jottiparla supervised us. Because of the severe drought in Pegu, we recited it to produce rain”, a monk of Kyaukhatwine monastery told Mizzima.

More than 70,000 people from about 60 villages of Pegu, Kawa, Waw, Thanatpin, Daik Oo and Inma regions in Pegu Division are dependent on charity deliveries of water because of serve shortages. 

The ceremonies are annual events in some towns in Magway and Mandalay divisions.


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