Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Burmese Flowers

U Sarana, the Mingaladon-based monk, has contributed the following stories. To join his weekly newsletter, contact us as here.

"Perhaps in every country children like to play with flowers. In Myanmar it is especially so, and many flowers thus get their 'children's name.' One of such flowers is paw-paw pan (ေပၚေပၚပန္း), of which official name is not known to me. This flower has a stalk that can be cleaned, removing the flower and the root, and used as a low-tone whistle. When blowing in the stalk, the sound you may hear is paw paw, said jokingly Ma Zin Mar. Ma Myint Way knows this plant in her village in the Mandalay region as Thingyan flower - and my dictionary in turn explains that there are seven different flowers with this name, called so because they are particularly selected for flower-vases in Thingyan days, i.e. during the holidays of Myanmar's new year.

An interesting plant described to me by Ko Thet Win Maung is magnolia (Michelia champaca), called in Burmese Saka-War-Pin (စံကား၀ါပန္းပင္). It's flowers are cut off and kept in a well-washed 'glucose glass-bottles.' These glass-bottles are then kept in front of a Buddha statue or on tables as decoration-- and can last up to one whole year. So far I don't remember having seen this, but if you see that, you may like to ask how long the bottle has been kept there. Ma Zin Mar says, that upon opening the bottle the flowers immediately wither."

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