” Padauk ” – National flower of Myanmar and the flower of Myanmar New Year,
The Padauk ( Pterocarpus Indicus ) blossoms in tiny fragrant yellow-gold flowers after the first showers in April, coinciding with the Myanmar New Year festival. It is the flower of Myanmar Rosewood tree.
Once in bloom, the entire tree turns gold overnight. The Myanmar regard the Padauk tree as the symbol of strength and durability. The beautiful flower also signifies youth, love and romance. The flower plays an indispensable part in traditional and religious ceremonies. The Padauk can be found throughout the country. The wood of the tree is also used for making furniture.
The tree where is comes from is known as ” Narra ” in the Philippines, ” Sonokembang ” in Indonesia, ” Angsana ” or ” Sena” in Malaysia and Singapore, ” Tnug ” in Cambodia, and ” Pradu ” in Thailand.
Native Of PADAUK
African padauk or African coralwood, is a species of Pterocarpus in the family Fabaceae, native to central and tropical west Africa, from Nigeria east to Congo-Kinshasa and south to Angola.
It is a tree growing to 27–34 m tall, with a trunk diameter up to 1 m with flaky reddish-grey bark. The leaves are pinnate, with 11–13 leaflets. The flowers are produced in panicles. The fruit is a thorny pod 6–9 cm long, which does not split open at maturity.
The leaves are edible, and contain large amounts of vitamin C; they are eaten as a leaf vegetable. Bark extracts are used in herbal medicine to treat skin parasites and fungal infections. The wood is valuable; it is very durable, red at first, becoming purplish-brown on exposure to light, with a density of 0.79 g/cm3.It is resistant to termites. It is valued for making drums in Africa due to its tonal resonance. The wood is also favored for its use in stringed instruments (namely acoustic and electric guitars) for its tonal attributes and durability. Dust from the wood produced during wood processing can cause dermatitis in some people. Native African names include Kisese (Congo), Mbel (Cameroon), Mukula, N’gula (Zaire), and Tacula (Angola).
Pterocarpus macrocarpus is a medium-sized tree growing to 10–30 m (rarely to 39 m) tall, with a trunk up to 1.7 m diameter; it is deciduous in the dry season. The bark is flaky, grey-brown; if cut, it secretes a red gum. The leaves are 200–350 mm long, pinnate, with 9–11 leaflets. The flowers are yellow, produced in racemes 50–90 mm long. The fruit is a pod surrounded by a round wing 45–70 mm diameter, containing two or three seeds.
The wood is durable and resistant to termites; it is important, used for furniture, construction timber, cart wheels, tool handles, and posts;though not a true rosewood it is sometimes traded as such. The seasonal padauk flowers bloom annually around Thingyin (April) and is considered one of the national symbols of Myanmar (formerly Burma)
From the well-loved Padauk blossoms to the lesser-known Ngu Wah, these golden flowers bring a splash of brilliance to Myanmar’s New Year celebrations.
Tagu, the Buddhist Myanmar lunar month, traditionally falls in the month of April in the Gregorian calendar and signals the Myanmar New Year. Each year, Tagu, the first month of the year in the Myanmar calendar is unbearably hot and dusty.
To celebrate this auspicious day, the whole country celebrates Thingyan or water festival, in a bid to wash away the sins, discontent and anxieties of the previous year and to start a new year and new life free of sins.
Thingyan is celebrated throughout the country to usher in the New Year and festivities lasting for three days, where anybody daring enough to venture out on the streets will be soaked from head to toe with water thrown from plastic buckets, cans, bowls, watering pipes and even powerful fire hoses.
After these three days of water-throwing, on the fourth day, the Myanmar New Year begins.
However, aside from the water-throwing, another important symbol of Thingyan is the distinctive sweet-scented blossom known as Padauk (Pterocarpus macrocarpus), or the Thingyan flower. This flower is referred as the national flower of Myanmar and has a bright yellow colour that usually blooms during or around Thingyan.
This well-loved flower is a symbol of faithfulness as it blooms only once a year, and only for a day during the duration of Myanmar New Year.
Depending on its age, different Padauk trees may flower at different times but it is always only within the month of April. Sometimes referred to as the ‘national flower of Myanmar’, the tree will only blossom with the first showers of the April rain.
When it blooms, Padauk lovers go crazy and every household will offer the first bloom of flowers to Buddha, either at pagodas or to Buddha images enshrined at their homes.
Everyone, young or old; male or female, can hardly resist this beautiful blossom and the females commonly wear this flower on their heads or as long necklaces as beautiful adornments during the festivities.
As soon as it blooms, males, especially teenagers, will be sure to present these sweet scented blossoms to their lovers or to females whom they are wooing.
Symbolisms of the Padauk blossoms are everywhere, not only in big cities like Yangon or Mandalay but also in every other city, town, village and hamlet, as it is a representation of the most colourful and joyous celebration of the year.
The golden blossoms of Padauk are what Myanmar people love and romanticize about, and the trees are truly a sight to behold as they turn gold overnight with the glory of the flowers.
If the flowering of the Padauk tree coincides with Thingyan, branches of green leaves flecked with the tiny gold flowers are used to decorate the poles and roofs of the water-throwing pandals, or structures erected especially during this festival.
While Padauk usually blooms during Thingyan, occasionally if there is no shower during festive time, there will be a sense of disappointment among the people that Thingyan is deemed incomplete without the golden Padauk blossoms.
If, for whatever reason, the Padauk does not bloom during Thingyan, there is another flower known as Ngu Wah (Cassia fistula), which also has bright yellow blossoms similar to Padauk that the people can enjoy.
Ngu Wah regularly blooms during April and the entire tree is covered with bright, yellow flowers. However, the blossoms of Ngu Wah do not have the sweet scented fragrance as the Padauk blossoms do.
While the Padauk blossoms only blooms once a year especially in April and is dependent on the weather, the Ngu Wah flower blooms throughout this festive season.
Some years back, when there were no showers during Thingyan and Padauk trees were unable to bloom, Ngu Wah blossoms were used as replacements to decorate the pandals and for girls to wear on their heads in place of their favourite Padauk.
Only Paudauk blossoms are always referred to with great admiration, and always linked with the Thingyan, whereas the ever-loyal Ngu Wah remains in the background, unfailingly showering Myanmar with its blooms every year.