Let the festivities begin

Shan-Tai prayer month, day 10

Shan Dai youth splash water on each other during the annual Water Splashing Festival.

Shan culture has a rich array of festivals full of colour and music. Some of these festivals, such as the Water Festival in which people throw water over each other in an effort to wash away sins, can serve as pointers to the glorious hope that the Shan people could be celebrating in Christ. With such enthusiastic festivals even in this fallen world, the rejoicing of the Shan people in heaven will be awesome! (See  Revelation 19:1–2).

Pray for:

  • The Shan to rejoice in the everlasting joy of the Lord (Nehemiah 12:43).
  • God to redeem the festivals of the Shan for His glory as He did for Judah (Zechariah 8:18–23).
  • That Jesus would be the ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ to the Shan people who long for someone to keep their promises (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Further information:

Modern Shan music

A free homeland for the Shan…
Peace we agreed upon at Panglong
The vows and promises so solemnly made
And now, though it has never been told,
by whom the promises were broken?
We know who betrayed whom,
but the Shan have always been true.
Where are the vows and promises of Panglong
Have they all gone with Aung San?

If songs are a mirror of society, this famous song, entitled ‘Lik Hom Mai Pang Long’ or ‘Panglong Agreement’, well reflects the feelings of the Shan people toward what is for them a most painful historical event — the betrayal of a commitment to allow the Shan state to regain autonomy after a 10-year period after Burma’s independence from Britain in 1947.

This song, written by Sai Kham Lek, was originally sung by Sai Sai Mao, the most well-known Shan singer of this period who was arrested in 1968 after his song became widely known among Shan communities. He was in jail for two years and 17 days.

The broken promises the song talks about refer to the aspirations of the Shan state, which was an independent entity before the British annexation of Burma. As such, Burma was ruled under a monarchy with 33 kingdoms governed by Sawbwas (Shan prince). In 1947, Shan Sawbwas joined General Aung San, who led the effort toward Burma’s self-rule, and several ethnic leaders in signing the Panglong Agreement obtaining independence from the British. The terms of the agreement, including autonomy for the Shans, was not fulfilled due to the assassination of General Aung San and the subsequent rejection of the accord.
(Quoted from http://www.tai-culture.info/today/today20.html)