Myanmar President U Thein Sein on Sunday expressed the hope that the forthcoming traditional new year would bring peace to the nation and the country could become a union with perpetuation of justice, freedom and equality.

U Thein Sein made the remarks in his speech to the entire nation on the occasion of Myanmar’s four-day traditional Thingyan water festival which would transit to a new year next Thursday.

Stressing that all people have the responsibility to preserve the traditional culture, the president said it is the time for all to showcase the country’s cultural tradition and prevent and wipe out all the incitements rooted from racial and religious bias.

He also urged the citizens to abstain from the misbehavior which can interrupt peace and delight of people during the water festival.

Myanmar’s traditional Thingyan water festival is due to kick off Sunday evening with people starting to splash water on each other.

This year’s water festival will run through April 16 and the new year will be ushered in on April 17, according to the traditional customs.

Of Myanmar’s 12 seasonal festivals throughout the year, the water festival is the biggest one.