By Courtney Prater, Missionary Intern to Myanmar

Josiah planned a day for us to venture into the city to see the madness that was taking place during the annual Water Festival. We hired a driver for the day ($50) to drive us to different locations to get the full experience.

It is weird to think that the new year begins in the middle of April….why not January 1st? They probably ask themselves the same question when we celebrate in January.

They are literally pouring water everywhere to wash away their sins and to start a new year/life the right way. Again…why not get baptized?  They probably think Christians are nuts as well! But hey, they were having a great time!

As we drove from Hope to the city, the streets were filled with people throwing buckets of water on people as they drove, rode, and walked by. I was amazed at how many people on bikes just took the face full of water and kept pedaling. Talk about humble people.  However we did see two men fighting (not sure why) but they were beating each other on the head with sticks. Maybe someone put ice in his water!

I was starting to get antsy sitting in the car watching this….and not walking outside taking pictures of it. We finally arrived downtown and got out! Josiah did not mention that we would be getting out of the taxi, so it was a pleasant surprise!

The streets were PACKED! Cars were lined up like it was 5:00 p.m in Indy on a week day! The streets were flooded. People were yelling, singing, and dancing obnoxiously! Oh and did I mention everyone was drinking?? Josiah laughed when I told him we had a legal drinking age.  Here, anyone can purchase or drink when they please. Parents will sometimes send their kids to the store to buy them alcohol. I saw a kid that could not be any older than 7 years old selling beer out of a bucket!

People would run up to me offering me drinks (which I declined….I can only imagine what they put in there). I couldn’t take more than ten steps without someone greeting me “Minglabaaaaa” then pouring a bucket of water on my head. Somehow I got lucky enough to always get the bucket with ice in it…..that was sarcasm. It was extremely COLD!! I think they were just excited to see a foreigner that they could not resist washing my sins away. I was also greeted with dancing or my own personal solo. That always made me laugh.

Well I was beat and ready to go home but that was definitely an experience and something I will not forget.