As a child, I used to enjoy Thadingyut a lot. Thadingyut meant a school holiday for 10 days and lots of fun at night. Every year, my mother would take out candles and lights them up all over the house and on the fence. Our house was a wooden one at that time and we had a lot of places to place the candles. Kids from the neighborhood and I would wait for those candles to melt and then roll them up as little balls to create ‘nga ye’ mee’ which meant ‘hell fire’ in English. Not that’s it’s actually a hell fire but it sure created a big noise every time we put these wax balls in the holes in the ground. I forgot the actually process of making it but I think we just had to put water and fire together to create that noise.
Beside lighting candles at my house, there wasn’t much activities going on in the neighborhood. Some houses just lighted their houses also. Sometimes I would play with a little stroll made of tin can. They are only played around that season and it’s not much really. I have to place a candle inside the tin can and lights it up. I liked listening to the sounds it made as I stroll along the street. I always begged my mother to buy me a better version which are colorful and made of plastic but she was worried about it catching on fire so she never did. At that time, I didn’t agree with her but now that I got older, I know that it wasn’t safe to play with that plastic stroll.
Most of my times during Thadingyt were usually spent at my uncle’s house ‘cuz there were so many activities going on there. Their house is located on a little street and each houses are so located to each other that there were hardly any privacy at all. One can hear a person’s talking next door if they listen carefully. So you can say their neighbors are not distant from each other like in my neighborhood so they always get together to celebrate the holiday. Their streets would be lit with lights which are places in small clay cups with oils to keep the light burning until it ran out of oil. I used to walk around other streets during those time at night as it always made me feel quite happy to see the lights. After I got tired with sightseeing, I would play with the children near my uncle’s house even through I don’t know them personally but as a child, these kind of things didn’t matter to me.
Now these clay cups are replaced with electric lights which one will normally use to decorate their houses during Christmas in other countries. They said they can’t afford the oil anymore as it’s too expensive. Such a big disappointment for me who love seeing those streets glowing with lights. 😦
However, they still keep their old tradition of cooking foods to share with everyone living on the street. Usually there’s a donor who will provide the money or they will collect the money and leave the job into the hands of those who can cook well. My cousin’s family usually donate mohingar so every time they donate, they call us to come over and eat. Since it’s an invitation from our cousin, I don’t feel any shame in eating what others had cook. When I was younger, I would eat every time they cook, whether they are donated my relatives or not. My mother grew up in that neighborhood so everyone knows me as her daughter and so they are always kind to us.
My uncles is a well respected person so a lot of people came to see him during Thadingyut which means they bring a lot of cakes and cookies and stuff. They couldn’t eat all of them so the nieces and nephews did the job for them 😀 Now that I got older, I don’t care much about these things anymore and they got their own grandkids to do the jobs for them.
This year, I’m still thinking what to do for Thadingyut, should I not go to teach the kid but it’s not like I have something to do. The only thing I’lll probably miss out is lighting up the house with candles. I don’t want to go to my uncle’s house anymore. It’s just eating mohingar and nothing else is there anymore.
I really miss those old times. Now it’s no longer fun like it used to be. It must be ‘cuz I’m getting older.