Thanakha is a cream or make up obtained by grinding Thanakha tree's bark. Females use it as a protection against heat as well as a decoration. However, it is not unusual to see males also wearing them. Thanakha grinding event in Sittwe is a traditional event held on the eve of Water Festival i.e. Thingyan.
Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine State. The Rakhines are quite similar to the majority Bamar people in many ways but are a completely different ethnic group with history going back thousands of years. On Thingyan eve, in the early part of the night, young women grind Thanakha barks and roots to a fine cream by grinding it along with a sprinkle of water on rounded stone slabs. Young men play musical instruments and dance to support the event. Once the Thanakha is ready, all go to nearby pagodas and wash the Buddha images with it as a new-year eve good deed.