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    FESTIVALS IN MYANMAR  

Festivals In Myanmar - Burma

Festivals In Myanmar - BurmaThe Myanmar calendar subscribes to both the solar and lunar months, thus requiring an intercalary 30-day 13th month every second or third year. Therefore, the full moon days may change from one month to another in the usual calendar. The Myanmar months and the respective festivals are as follows.

Asia and Myanmar is full of very colorful and deep rooted festivals. Just think about all this Chinese festivals, Thai festivals, Malaysian festivals, Philippine festivals and so on, celebrations, the Indian multicultural festivals of the different ethnic groups and so on.

The same in Myanmar - Burma, we present here only the most important festivals, there are dozens other festivals. To visit a festival around the big cities like Yangon, Mandalay or so is no problem since the hotels, restaurants, accommodation and infrastructure is ok.

Festivals In Myanmar - BurmaTo visit a festival in a rather remote area make sure first to find a reasonable hotel or accommodation otherwise you will have some problems, the best is anyway to let a experienced travel agent in Yangon or Mandalay to do this job, its really necessary, the biggest festival everywhere in Myanmar is the water festival in spring.

Over the centuries Myanmar or Burma absorbed a lot of festivals from other countries, a typical example is Diwali Festival, the Indian festival of lights, Diwali Festival has a similar value like any other festival in Myanmar, its a holiday, shops are closed, everyone is out and happy.

A other thing is similar festivals like in the surrounding countries, here a typical example is the water festival, Thingyan in Myanmar - Burma, and Songkran in Thailand. Taunggyi balloon festival, thadingyut, thazaungdine , taungbyone, thingyan, water festival, Taunggyi fire balloon festival.

More on Myanmar festivals: kite festival, music festival, fairs festival, food festival, balloon festival, Indian festival, art festival, folklore festival, festival of light, music festivals, celebrations, diwali festival, festivals, happy diwali.

Thingyan Festival or Myanmar Nwe Year Water Festival
This festival is  known  as Myanmar's Traditional  New Year Festival or the Water Festival. Every Myanmar citizen is happy on this day and month. There are  twelve  months  in  Myanmar calendar  too. The  first month of each year in Myanmar Burma is calculated  from  April and  the last  one is  March. According  to Myanmar  calendar, New Year Day falls on  every  second  week  of April. There's a tradition in Myanmar-Burma to celebrate the water festival all over the country for 3 days before New Year day by throwing water on each other.

According to the proofs and  references, this sort of water festival has been celebrated in Myanmar since 500 years ago.  In Myanmar  this  festival is  called

Thingyan
‘Thingyan' means "moving  from  one year  to another". It is quite puzzling why people throw water on one another during Thingyan Festival in Myanmar-Burma. Tagu    Kason    Nayon    Waso    Wagaung    Tawthalin  Thadingyut    Tazaungmon    Nadaw    Pyatho Thabodwe    Tabaung   Waterfestival - Thingyan.

According  to  the ancient  tradition of Myanmar or maybe not only Myanmar, they have committed sins the whole year. There is also a  belief  in Myanmar-Burma that these sins could be washed away during the festival and purified both in mind and spirit by throwing one another with Thingyan Water.

Thus everyone in Myanmar-Burma is happy with a belief  that  they would be completely innocent after they are purified during the festival, physically and spiritually in the next year.

As  a  meritorious deed during the water festival, some youngsters in Myanmar-Burma wash  the hair of old  people  and them too. Moreover, there's  also  a  custom  in Myanmar-Burma to  buy  live fish  and cows  during the festival and  let  them  loose in sanctuaries  or  rivers  or lakes on the final day of Thingyan Ah-Tet Day (the final day of Thingyan).

This is a Myanmar festival custom that concerns Myanmar religion. Most  of  the  Myanmar's  believe  in  Theravada Buddhism and so killing any living creature  is  a  sinful  act, so better be nice at the festival. In Thailand the water festival or Songkran is very similar to the Myanmar water festival, also almost the same date. Myanmar's will throw water on everyone with the intention to purify their mind and spirit, its really getting wet. Tourists who visit.

Myanmar during  the water festival will also get a wet experience. If you are here at this time, you'll feel this great atmosphere. May you  be able  to visit  Myanmar then and all your sins be purified  with Thingyan Water Festival.

Myanmar and Thailand have adopted a couple of festivals from neighboring countries, like the festival of lights - diwali or divali - from India, in Thailand Loi Kratong and others.

The Regatta Festival on Kandawgyi or Royal Lake
When Myanmar was a monarchy, the royal regatta festival was held in the month of Tawthalin (late September) and it remains one of the twelve monthly festivals in the Myanmar calendar. In those days the king of Myanmar-Burma and his entire court attended the regatta festivals, with the royal barge often heading the other boats as they proceeded in regal splendor down the river.

Regatta Festival at the Kandawgyi or Royal Lake floating the Royal Coach Music and song filled the air for the festival in Myanmar-on those occasions, held not only for the entertainment of the royal family, but also to evaluate the competitors, as potential recruits for the King's Navy Races during the regatta festivals provided the opportunity for Myanmar's kings to reward and recognize the skills of their troops and to review the strength of the naval forces.

For the spectators, royal races during the festival were an occasion to cheer and exhort their favorite teams in Myanmar-Burma.Chronicles show that royal regatta festivals were held Myanmar-Burma by eleven monarchs beginning  with King Anaukphetlun, 1605-28, and ending with King Thibaw. However, it seems quite likely that every Myanmar King hosted regatta festivals during his respective reign. Thadingyut: The Festival of Lights at the end of Buddhist Lent

Thadingyut (October) is the end of Buddhist lent in Myanmar-Burma. For the whole last three months of the rainy season in Myanmar-Burma, Sabbaths are kept by the laity, young or old. It is the festival of lights on the full moon day. For this festival houses and streets in cities and towns in Myanmar-Burma are brilliant by illuminated. Pagodas in Myanmar-Burma are also crowded with people doing meritorious deeds during the festival. The festivals is not only a time of joy in Myanmar-Burma but also thanks giving and paying homage to teachers parents and elders and receive their blessing.

This Myanmar  festival is originated in the story of worldly beings welcoming back the Buddha with lights as He descended from " Thvatimsa", the highest abode of the NATS ( celestial beings) in Myanmar-Burma. He spent the three months preaching to the celestial beings headed by His mother who has died soon after giving birth to Him and reincarnated as a "DEVA" by the name of "Santussita". It will be remembered that "Gautama Buddha" after displaying unheard of miracles under the "GANDA" mango tree, had disappeared  from that mango grove and gone to "Tavatimsa" and spent the three months of rains-retreat. "Tavatimsa", the celestial abode is on the top of Mount Meru which itself is a celestial mountain with the legendary gold, sliver and ruby stairways, and colorful lanterns held in the hands held in the hands of the gods, lining up the descent of the Lord. During the festivals nights fire balloons are also seen rising up and soaring in the sky in Myanmar-Burma.

Tazaungdine Festival
Unsatisfied yet with the fun of the lighting festival Myanmar-Burma of Thadingyut, the people start preparing for another lighting festival called Tazaungdine or Tazaungmon.

Tazaungmon  or Tazaungdine (November)is the festivals month when  the Krattika planet (Pleiades) accompanies  the Moon in Myanmar-Burma, and  when Mahavinayaka awakes from his long slumber. It is a pre Buddhist custom in Myanmar festivals to do homage to this deity on the Full Moon night of Tazaungmon with offerings of incense, sweet-meats and lights.

This festival of Tazaungmon is an auspicious time for offering of yellow robes to the monks in Myanmar-Burma. The Buddha's mother, reincarnated as a god in Tavatimsa, perceived from her heavenly abode that her son would  soon be discarding, the royal robes and wearing a monk's garments. She wanted to provide the yellow robes of the monk and she had only a night's time. But she had it woven in a  single night and offered to the Prince (Siddhartha) by a celestial messenger. In commemoration of this event weaving  competitions of  yellow robes are held all over the country.

An offering during the festival of Kathein thingan (ceremony for offering of yellow robes) to the monks is usually a big affair in large cities of Myanmar. During festivals offering ceremonies consist of a thousand and one gifts pooled by whole town's in Myanmar-Burma beside the prime gift of Yellow robes. The Kathein festivals in Myanmar-Burma account for the greatest significance in Tazaungmon.Taunggyi Fire Ballonn Festival

In Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State in Myanmar, the people celebrate the Tazaungdine festival with Kahtein (offering of monk robes) as well as the releasing up fire-balloons into the sky. Balloons in the shape of elephant, ox, horse, water-buffalo, bird, pig, fish, owl and parrotare released during the Myanmar-Burma festivals.

The Taunggyi festival is the biggest festival in Myanmar. The festival is attended not only by Taunggyi Citizens but also by people from southern Shan State and many different places of  Myanmar-Burma. Taungyi's  Kahtein tradition festivals is amazing  and worthy of  reverence.

Naga New Year Festival
The four main tribes and the 49 clans of Myanmar Naga have their settlements around the source of the Chindwin River until up to the Indian boarder and deep into India. The Festivals in a more traditional Way

The Myanmar festivals have been described as being confined to a single one, which begins in April and goes on to the following March. But that is an exaggeration. There are two regular festivals of a week or ten days each, and several others of a couple of days' duration, besides occasional festivities to celebrate the completion of zedi and temples, -and last, but not least, the cremation of the yahan. Myanmar New-Year - moon- change at Tagu - falls in April, as the sun enters the sign of Aries. The calendar has been regulated on the Brah­man model with intercalary days and months. New-Year marks the peak in the seasons ; the heat has reached its climax, to fall abruptly at the break of the south-west monsoon.

Now is the time of drought ; many of the wells are empty, and water has to be fetched from a distance. There is no greater luxury than abundance of water at this season ; water is the most seasonable offering, and great supplies are stored in the jars at the kyaungs. In a symbolic spirit, water is poured over the images of the Buddha. But the great feature of the New-Year festival is the burlesque of these libations. In the true spirit of the festival, the women douse the men, and the men douse the women, all regardless of their festal attire. The young women in particular wait in ambush for the gallants, perhaps to be caught in a second ambush by some urchin.

The liberty of water-throwing lasts for the days of akyo, akya, akydt, and atet, the stages of the journey which a thadya makes from heaven to earth to see the works of men if they be good. The legend is probably derived from the Hindu myth of the rain-god Indra, to whom water is offered at the season of his expected descent.

A religious feature of the festival is the ransom of cattle. An animal kept for slaughter by the Indian Muslim butcher is borrowed and gaily decked out, with its horns gilded.

It is led round the village or quarter of the town, followed by a festive throng, and contributions are gathered until the price of the animal is made up, when it is set free at the kyaung to be an evidence of goodwill to all things living. Festival feeling, which often runs high between the quarters of a village, with their rival kyaung,- and zed, finds an outlet at Tagu in the tug-of-war (Iun-swe). As the superstitious whistle for the wind, so do they expect to tug in the monsoon by this means, at the season when everything is panting for rain. After Tagu, the next festival season is Wazo -in June- the commencement of the Buddhist Lent. This season is signalized by the Shinlaung- festivals 

During Lent there is no regular festival. The great festival of Thadindyut celebrates the close of Lent. It falls in October, when the rains arc generally over, and is the one for which the most extensive preparations are made. Every festival is signalized by the offerings made to the yahan. But now they are literally " poured " in profusion, as the word implies (sun-/dung). Yazama - paths fenced with bamboo trellis, such as those prepared for the progress of royalty - are got ready along the chief thoroughfare. Through these on the morning of the great day the yahan defile in endless procession. As many as a thousand yahan may be invited to receive the Thadindyut offerings in a large town. The offerings are poured into the alms-bowls by the laity ; scholars are stationed at intervals to relieve the yahan of their loads of offerings.

After the yahan come pothudaw and methila. Both ends of the yazama are decorated with arches of bamboo and tinsel. About these are grouped life-size figures of mythical import - dragons to guard the entrance, princes and princesses of the rats to take part in the honor done to the Thinga.

In the evenings fire balloons are sent off, and the rivers are illuminated with rafts carrying lamps which are set adrift. Labyrinths of bamboo are erected round the zedi, which entertain the children and especially the hill-people, who pique themselves, not without reason, on their sense of locality. These labyrinths arc called Wingaba, after the mountain maze, to which Prince Wethandaya was banished by his father, in the zat legend. Who weave it, and, in order to possess its proper value, should he completed in a day and a night.

This is the only approach to a vigil. The texture is loose, and broad bands of tinsel are shot through to make up the woof faster. Tawthalin is a minor festival, falling in Lent, and observed only in Pegu.

The Tawthalin offerings are distinguished by being in thousands, one thousand little cakes, one thousand plantains, and so on. The number one thousand is said to be symbolical of the thousand gata or stanzas of the Wethandaya.zat, the legend of Gautama Buddha's last incarnation but one, closely prefiguring the final incarnation.

Tazaungmon is the next Myanmar festival after Thadindyut ; it is kept in Bago, but not in Burma Proper. At this season Buddhists commemorate the miraculous journey of Gaudama Buddha to the nat countryafter the death of his mother, to impart to her the enlightenment which had come to him on earth, and by means of which he had attained peace. Spires of bamboo-work and tinsel -the tazdzingdaing - are built twenty to fifty feet high, as symbols of the stair by which Gaudama ascended. These are carried round the place with music, and are finally dedicated at the zedi.

In the interval between Tazaungmon Myanmar festivals and Thadindyut Myanmar festivals the katein- thingan are dedicated, and the mathothingan are woven. The katein-thingan is the annual supply of the primitive paréi-kaya, and is of a nominal character, owing to the profusion of offerings at other times.

The mathothingan is a cloth where with to deck the images of the Buddha and the paring of the zedi. It is the offering of the women.

Myanmar festivals are more of the nature of great social holidays. Many of these are the festivals of pagodas and some are nat festivals, not all of them have any connection with Buddhism.

The New Year Festival or Thingyan known to Western people as the Myanmar Water Festival -similar to Songkran Festival in Thailand, is almost the only festival that is observed universally throughout Myanmar.

This takes place early in April and celebrates the annual visit of the Thagyamin or King of the Devas to inaugurate the new year. The exact day is fixed each year by the astrologers who profess to have intimate knowledge of his plans, and who also announce whether he will stay on the earth for three days or four. Early on the first day crowds repair to the monastery with pots of fresh clear water which are respectfully offered to the monks, then the images at the pagoda are ceremonially washed.

After that the festival becomes one joyous holiday and water is sprinkled or more often thrown over anybody and every­body, the idea behind it being friendliness and cleansing. In former times there was a deeper thought to the festival -children would not fail to visit their parents and sprinkling them with a few drops of water would ask pardon for their negligence's of the past year ; a similar thought would lurk behind the offering of water to the monks ; officials and employers would receive visits from their juniors and would be sprinkled with water symbolic of blessing, good-will and respect. But in modern times the festival tends to degenerate into a rollicking time especially for the younger folk, with buckets, hose-pipes, squirts, stirrup pumps all brought into play, with trams, trains, buses, motor-cars as the favorite targets so that on these festival days it is risky to go out unless you are prepared for repeated soakings. But among the Myanmar's themselves it is all carried on with friendliness and enjoyment, and no one minds getting soaked, for the hot weather has already arrived and there is no fear of catching cold.

The Buddhist Lent
always comes in the Rainy Season and to help them to endure the solemn period Burmese Buddhists begin and end it with a great festival. The full moon of Wa-Zo which usually falls in early July marks the beginning of Wa or Lent and is a holiday of several days' duration, in which the Buddhist puts on his best clothes and goes to the pagoda ; usually he will spend a few minutes in prayer or meditation before an image of the Buddha ; the rest of the day will be spent in seeing the great bamboo and tinsel figures of nats or animals which have been specially built for the occasion, in visiting friends, in partaking of the lavish hospitality provided by generous people, or at night watching a performance of one of the great zats or birth-stories of the Buddha.

The end of Lent is marked by the Thadingyut festival which falls in late September or early October, and is. ushered in by a great feasting of the monks and an offering of presents. But the most striking feature of this festival is the myriads of small lanterns with which the monasteries, pagodas and houses are illuminated at night, making an inexpressibly beautiful effect. This Burmese Feast of Lights has as its religious background the commemoration of the Buddha's return from the Tawadeintha heaven when the devas lined his route and illuminated the way.

The Buddhists find another occasion for festival in the cremation of any monk of note who has died. The monk does not die as an ordinary man does ; he 'returns' to the highest heaven of devas or perhaps even to the immaterial regions of Nirvana. So his funeral is called pon-gyi-byan the return of the great glory, and is an occasion for rejoicing. The monk's body is preserved until an appropriate day has been fixed for the funeral, and in the meantime alms are collected to cover the considerable cost involved. A miniature monastery in bamboo and paper is built, in the centre of which is the funeral pyre, a lofty platform crowned by a seven-roofed spire, the whole erection tower­ing to fifty or sixty feet. The coffin is brought in pro­cession, placed on the platform, and then the pyre is lighted by rockets fired from a distance.

When the whole frail erection has been burnt, the few pieces of bones that remain are collected and buried somewhere near the pagoda.

A high light in nearly all these festivals is the performance of one of the great birth-stories of the Buddha which tell the story of one of the previous existences before he attained to Buddha hood.

There are ten of these great zats or awes all of which are well known to Buddhists, and inculcate the ten great virtues to be cultivated by all who are striving to reach Nirvana.

These plays are very long and take all night to perform. They are very like the mystery plays of mediaeval times in Europe and combined a good deal of broad humor as well as religious teaching. Nowadays, however, the tendency is to substitute modern plays which have not the same religious interest as the old well-loved birth-stories.

01. Manaw Festival
Where : Myitkyina, Kachin State
Event : Kachin is one of the states in Myanmar where the delightful festival is held by the Kachin people, the hill people. It is the celebration of the New Year, Victory in battles and reunion of the tribes. Everyone delightfully joins the spiritual dance lined up behind one another. The traditional poles which are beautifully decorated are placed in the center of the festival ground. The main feature of the festival is to dance around the erected Manaw poles. This festival is held in Myitkyina and Putao in Kachin State. Wearing best traditional costume and dancing around Manaw Poles. Participate all Kachin tribes suck Kharku, Thaisan, Lacheik, Rawang, Thaikhamt and Lisu. Its also a how of gratitude to ancestral spirits and all participants pray for a bright future.

02. Naga New Year Festival
Where : Chin State
Event : There are estimated more than 150,000 Nagas, comprising of 12 major tribes and many sub-tribes, dwelling in Myanmar. Since hundreds years, Nagas live high in the Northwestern hills region, along the India border, but in recent years, many have moved to the Chin Dwin River Valley around the Sagaing Division and Chin State. Despite they share basically in agricultural, hunting, and animal husbandry lifestyle, each tribe has developed in a different way that can be observed in individual costumes, weaving styles, bodies and facial tattoos, head-dresses or hats and other individualized ornaments. That there can be proud and having people, Nagas are well known that they are honest and brave. They celebrate their Naga New Year festival in January each year.

03. Ananda Pagoda Festival
Where : Ananda Temple in Bagan, Mandalay Division
Event : Ananda Pagoda is the surviving masterpiece of Mon architecture, completed in 1091 built by Bagan's second great king Kyansittha. It has four 9.5 meters teak Buddhas representing four Buddhas of this world-cycle. The festival with the last two days being the most important. You will see popular sales fair around the pagoda with many stalls selling various local products and a caravan of bullock-carts camp under the shady trees. In the evening you will be entertained by beautiful Myanmar traditional performances.

04. Kyaik Khauk Pagoda
Where : Kyaik Khauk Pagoda, Thanlyin, Yangon Division
Event : Kyaik Khauk Pagoda perches on the hillock of Uttarangha of Hlaine-Poke to the South of Thanlyin. The Pagoda is cist-type stupa and resting on high octagonal terraces with projection at the corners then tapering to a top crowned by a 9-tier spire. A large amount of stalls are selling local foods, ceramic and clay pots of all sizes, furniture and bamboo mats. Myanmar musical dance troupes entertain through out the whole night. The atmosphere around the pagoda is similar to fun fair.

05. Mahamuni Pagoda Festival
Where : Mahamuni Pagoda, Mandalay, Mandalay Division
Event : The number of monks charts Buddhist scriptures nonstop. Making Htamane (glutinous rice with sesame, coconut, peanut with ginger) contests are held on the pagoda's platform for the whole night and in the early morning of full moon day of Dabodwe – 11th month of Myanmar lunar calenda (21 Feb 2008), offer it to the Buddha. Thousands of people from all over the country make the pilgrimage to the Pagoda. The evening entertainment includes zats (a variety of dances, songs, short and long plays), anyeints (comedies dances), open-air movies and many stalls selling up various traditional snacks & other utilities.

06. Shwe Umin Pagoda Festival
Where : Padaya Caves, Pindaya, Shan State
Event : Pindaya is famous for its limestone caves, over looking a lake the caves House Thousands of Buddha images. The main cave is fully packed with a variety of Buddha-images, stupas, figures and embellishments along its length datable not earlier than 16th century. Curiously, Indian style images and donors are experienced in a reasonable number. The cool breeze and panoramic view on the environs, including Botaloke Lake at a distance are of fantastic and incredible. All tribes in Shan State come and pay homage to the pagoda. They are in their colourful costumes. You can enjoy hundreds of shop selling variety of native products.

07. Baw Gyo Pagoda Festival
Where : Baw Gyo Pagoda, Hsibaw, Shan State
Event : This famous pagoda is over 700 years old. Local legend has it that Bagan King Narapathisithu was given a piece of celestial wood of which four Buddha images were carved. Annually the four sacred Buddha images are taken out only during the festival for pilgrims to pay homage and offer gold leaves. You will see exciting boat races on Dottawadi River and a lot of trading (jewelry, tea leaves, etc.) going on between Myanmar and Shan minorities living in hilly areas. You can look around many stalls lined up selling local products and traditional performances and gambling games (only allowed during the festival!) taking place.

08. Kakku Pagoda Festival
Where : Kakku Pagoda Complex, Taunggyi, Shan State
Event : Kakku a hidden treasure an unusual, magnificent collection of Buddhist Stupas unheard of by historians and unlisted in guide books lies in the deepest Pa-oh territory, 26 miles south of Taunggyi the capital of Shan State. There lies more than 2000 stupas in a site closely packed together in ranks covering an area of approximately a square kilometer apparently unknown to outside world. Kakku area is covered and scattered by Pa-oh villages especially stretching along on both sides of the main road from north to south.
All tribes in Shan State come and pay homage to the pagoda. They are in their colourful costumes. You can enjoy hundreds of shops selling variety of native products.

09. Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda Festival
Where : Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda, Bago, Bago Division

Event : The Shwemawdaw or 'Great Golden God Pagoda' of Bago has been growing for more than 1000 years. The Shwemawdaw Pagoda whose spire can be seen behind this impressive entrance portal, was originally built by the Mon to a height to 23 meters in the 8th century and was rebuilt higher several times until it finally reached its present 114 meter stature in 1954. The pagoda was originally built by 2 merchants, Taphussa and Bhalita, to house some hair relics of the Buddha. Originally built to a height of 23 meters, it has over the centuries become the tallest of the Burmese pagodas. As with other pagodas, this growth in size occurred during numerous reconstruction periods, usually following great earthquakes. The most recent quake, in 1930, nearly leveled the ancient structure and it was not until 1952 that it again dominated the Bago skyline. Legends say that enshrined beneath the towering pagoda are the hairs and teeth of the Buddha. Because of these relics, Shwemawdaw is visited by throngs of Buddhist pilgrims during all hours of the day and night. During the festival, vendors come from far and near and build temporary shops made of bamboo to sell their local products as in the usual case of a pagoda festival in Myanmar. Dancing troupes perform onstage for a whole night.

10. Thingyan Festival and Myanmar New Year Festival.
Where : All over the country
Event : Thingyan Festival has been held since the Bagan period. It is held according to the Luna calendar. It usually falls in the month of April. Throwing water at others and getting wet be others. People build temporary pavilions and from there throw water at passers by and revel are going around in open cars and trucks. Traditional foods are offered as donation to whoever passing by, it is called "Satuditha" . In the evening dancing troupes go around in decorated floats to compete in dancing and rap style satirical singing contests held through out the country. It is a celebration of enjoying the water festival as well as welcoming Myanmar New Year. The elderly and the pious perform a lot of meritorious deeds while the younger gather together to joyfully sing and dance. If you like getting wet, this is the only festival which you should participate.

11. Bo Tree Watering Festival
Where : All over the country
Event : Since this day was not only the birthday of Buddha but also attained Buddha hood while sitting in meditation under a Bo Tree and attained Nivana at the age of 80 years., full moon day of Kason in one of the holiest day of the years for the Buddhist. And this month is the holiest month in Myanmar. That's the reason for Buddhists pouring water on the Bo tree. Women from the neighborhood carry small pots on the heads and go to Bo tree in procession to pour water. Men accompany with them playing traditional musical instruments.

12. Popa Ceremony
Where : Mt. Popa, near Bagan, Mandalay Division
Event : Mount Popa is located 67km southeast of Bagan. It is an extinct volcano rising 1518 meters high out of the plains. This solitary peak is home of Myanmar's most powerful "NATS"- a collection of 37 magical spirits both feared and honored by some Myanmar people. They still believe that Nats can make life difficult if they are not accorded sufficient respect. This festival is to pay respect to the Nat (spirits) " the Black-smith, Maung Tint Te (Min Maha Giri)" who was killed by King of Tagaung for his strength. Bagan King made a place as shrine for him and effectively starting the official worship on Nat in Myanmar. Nat believers from all over the country come and pay respect to Mt. Popa and the Nat shrines.

13. Mahamuni Waso Festival (Chin Lone Competition)
Where : Mahamuni Pagoda, Mandalay, Mandalay Division
Event : Cane Ball or Chin Lone is a popular traditional sport played all over the country. The most famous Chin Lone competitions are held in the magnificent Mandalay, where cane ball players from all over the country come together for the big event. You can enjoy several Chin Lone performances and exciting tournaments by either team or individual while local music played to entertain the audience.

14. Taung Byone Nat Festival
Where : Taung Byone, Mandalay Division
Event : The most crowed Nat (spirit) festival in Myanmar. People all over the country come and worship the Nat. the festival of Taung Byone in a very peculiar and particular festival that although Myanmar Buddhists are not actually spirits worshippers, thousands of country folks and townspeople alike flock to this yearly festival of "Nats" near Mandalay to participate in its joyous, light-hearted merrymaking. The small Taung Byone Hill and surrounding areas had been "awarded" to the "Nats" as a special province of their own by Myanmar Kings since the Bagan Dynasty in the 11th century. Once a year, festivals are held to honor these "Nats" – Taung Byone Brother Nats (Ko Daw Gyi & Ko Daw Lay).

15. Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
Where : Inle Lake, Shan State
Event : One of the famous principal shrines in Myanmar, this pagoda houses five small Buddha images, which are much revered by the lake-dwellers. Four Buddha statues from Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda are tugging clockwise around Inle Lake on a royal barge by the demonstration on led rowed boats. The event leg-rowed boat races are being held through out. So many of other vessels travel in the entourage in a general celebratory atmosphere. Thousand of people from around the Shan State attend this most holy of Shan celebrations.
Detailed festival program

16. Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival
Where : Kyaunse, 26 miles south of Mandalay
Event : Kyauk-Se is a thriving town which is located on the Yangon-Mandalay highway, where Light Festival and Elephant Dancing Festival are held in the month of Thadingyut (the seventh month of Myanmar Lunar calendar). Two men have to get inside the life-size hollowed-out paper made elephants and imitate the movement of a real elephant. A lead man coordinates the movement of the dancers and he is assisted by a small group of musicians. The entire town participates in this competition, not only for the best elephant, but also for the best decorated elephant effigy. People from the surrounding areas, some as far as away as Mandalay, participate in this festival.

17. Thidingyut Festival
Where : All over the country
Event : Thidingyut is the seventh month of Myanmar lunar calendar and the end of lent. It is a three-day light festival, the day before full moon day, the full moon day and the day after full moon day. People light up their homes with decorative lights to welcome back Buddha by lighting the way for him who came down from the Celestial Abode after spending 3 months of the Buddhist lent there preaching Abidhamma. Even government buildings are beautiful lighted up on this Full Moon Day of Thidingyut.

18. Hot Air Balloon Festival
Where : Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State
Event : On this special occasion, people enjoy fun and merriment by holding firework-launching competitions. The firework is in the form of rockets. There is also hot balloons competitions on the day and night occasions. Balloon sending up are made of bamboo and paper. There are many variety kinds of shape, some are huge with fire crackers and some are of the shape of animals. Balloon sending up competition is also held during the festival.

19. Khaung Hmu Daw Pagoda Festival
Where : Kaung Hmu Daw Pagoda, Sagaing, Sagaing Division
Event : Situated about 9 kilometers out of Sagaing, lies the most distinctive temple of the region. Built by King Thalun in 1636, it takes the shape of a perfect hemisphere (legend says it is a copy of the perfect breasts of the King's favorite wife!). Every year Buddhists celebrate the festival by lightening the candles around the temple. The same as other pagoda festivals, the evening entertainment includes Zats (a variety of dances, songs, short and long plays), anyeints (comedies dances), open-air movies and many stalls selling up various traditional snacks & other utilities. But the most interested aspect of the festival is the caravan of bullock carts in the pagoda compound, some carrying village products like hand-woven cotton cloths and rotten mats for sale as the festival.

20. Po Win Taung Cave Festival
Where : Po Win Taung, Monywa, Sagaing division
Event : Po Win Taung is about 300 meters high and located across Chindwin River near Monywa. You will be amazed to see about 450,000 Buddha images and ancient paintings (some dated back to the same century as the Bagan Dynasty) on natural rock walls inside the cave. The festival is popular for being the one and only market which sells various products such as Myanmar Thanaka, sandalwood, leaves, fruits, roots, thorns and tubera from western wilderness of Chindwin River on a large scale.

Myanmar Festival Calendar

January (Nadaw/Pyartho)
Kachin Manao Festival (Kachin)
Ananda Pagoda Festival (Bagan)
Naga New Year (Sagaing)
 
February (Pyartho/Dabodwei)
Full Moon Day of Dabodwei (Countrywide)
Htamane Festival (Countrywide)
Mahamuni Pagoda Festival (Mandalay)
Salone Festival (Tanintharyi Division)
 
March (Dabodwei/Tabaung)
Shwe Dagon Pagoda (Yangon)
Kakku Pagoda Festival (Inle)
Full Moon Day of Tabaung (Countrywide)
Shwe Umin Pagoda Festival (Shan State)
 
April (Tabaung/Tagu)
Mann Shwesettaw Festival
Thingyan Water Festival (Countrywide)
Thanakha Grinding Festival (Rakhine)
Full Moon Day of Tagu (Countrywide)
Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda Festival (Bago)
Myanmar New Year Festival (Countrywide)
 
May (Tagu/Kason)
Full Moon Day of Kason (or) Bo Tree Watering Festival (Countrywide)
 
June (Kason/Nayon)
Pariyatti Sasana Examination

July (Nayon/Waso)
Full Moon Day of WasoAugust (Waso/ Wakhaung)
Taungpyone Festival

September (Wakhaung/Tawthalin)
Phaungdawoo Pagoda Festival (Shan State)
Manuha Pagoda Festival (Mandalay Division)

October (Tawthalin/Tadingyut)
Full Moon Day of Thadingyut (Countrywide)
Dancing Elephant Festival (Kyaukse)
Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival (Mon State)
 
November (Tadingyut/Tazaunmone)
Matho Thingan (Yangon)
Kahtein Thingan Offering (Country wide)
Hot-air balloon Festival (Shan State)
Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone
 
December (Tazaunmone/Nadaw)
Kayin New Year Festival
 
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