Festivals in Myanmar
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FESTIVALS IN MYANMAR

Myanmar is known as the Land of Festival because every month takes place with cultural and religions festival. Most are nation-wide celebrated while a few are distinctly regional. The dates of festivals are based on the Lunar Year.

JANUARY (Nadaw / Pyartho)

manawMANAW FESTIVAL (KACHIN)
Location        : Myitkyina and Putao of Kachin state
How does joining a line of people dressed in their best costumes and dancing a spiritual dance around a totem-like pole sound? At the same time, be in awe at the beautiful traditional costumes and the colorful, traditional Manaw poles decorated in Kachin motifs. The Manaw festival is one of the most popular festivals in Myanmar, and has been around for more than three decades. It is a celebration of the New Year by worshiping God Lamu Madai, also known as the God of the Spirits.
 
anadaANANDA PAGODA FESTIVAL
Location        : Bagan
Ananda Pagoda Festival is one of the most famous pagoda festivals in Bagan. On the full day bowls of aims filled with crops are offered to Buddhist monks. During this festival season, you can experience life as it was before cars were invented and people still used bullock carts.Camp out to a performance of famous local theatrical troupes and other tradtitional enterainments. You will have a chance to try out different savory foods and buy many souvenirs at this festival. At dawn on the fullmoon Day of Pyatho, hundreds of monks line up and make their way between donors lined up on both sides. The local people make many offerings to the monks, ranging from food to personal essential such as toothbrush. During the festival, the vendors and shops that sell traditional Myanmar food-staff.
 
nagaNAGA NEW YEAR FESTIVAL
Location        : Sagaing Regional
The Naga are from the Chin State but the festival place falls in the Sagaing Division. An opening ceremony is held in the morning and in the evening there is traditional dance with bonfires. During this New Year festival, you will be busy taking pictures of Naga warriors wearing hats made from bear fur, hornbill feathers, wildboar tusks and tiger claws. You will also see men in minimal clothing with tiger fangs hanging from their necklaces. Until recently, Naga people were known to take off heads and body parts of their enemies as a way of sacrificing to the gods and for personal glory. They would also hang these parts from trees to "fertilize" the community. Arrows were placed through the eyes of the heads to ward off evil spirits. On New Year day they have a competition of traditional sports and gathering of sub tribes of Naga, once fierce warriors in their bright and exotic dresses, celebrate with rice winer roasted meat and tribal dances performed with joud beating of drums. Although much has changed since then, the New Year festival allows you to learn about the cultures of a variety of different Naga people.
 

February (Pyartho/ Dabodwei)

mahamyatmuniMAHA MYAT MUNI PAGODA FESTIVAL
Location        : Mandalay
On the full moon day of Thabodwe, thousands of people from across the country gather up at this pagoda to burn a variety of incense sticks for the Myanmar Buddha image as a way of paying homage. In addition, glutinous rice (sticky rice with ginger, coconut and sesame) are offered to the monks. This festival explodes with fun and energy for two days. Mahamuni Buddha image is highly venerated as it is said to be made in front of Buddha himself. Many vendors sell, local products and food.
 
htamanaeHTAMANE FESTIVAL
Location        : Countrywide
Htamane festival is held full moon day of Thabodwe, throughout the whole country. It is made of sticky rice and sesame seeds. One large pan requires 4 small baskets of sticky rice, 20 coconuts, one small basket each of peanut and sesame seeds, 4 kilo of oil, 0.32 kilo of ginger and some salt. Making of Htamane is not very easy. First the sticky rice must be soaked overnight. The next day, start frying the smaill pieces of coconuts and other ingredients. Then pour in the soaked sitcky rice into the pan. Now, we need two strong men to d the stirring of the rice until it is cooked. After preparing Htamane, it is then offered to the Buddha and is given away for free to all the visitors to the pagodas.
 

March (Dabodwei/ Tabaung)

shwedagonSHWEDAGON PAGODA FESTIVAL
Location        : Yangon
Shwedagon Pagoda Festival is the largest paya pwe (pagoda festival) in Myanmar. Monks recite the Holy Scriptures continuously for 24 hour everyday for the entire week before the full moon day of Tabaung. The Buddhists believe that this will keep the evil away and make the country safer. Donations from those who attend the festivals go towards the preservation of the Pagoda.
 
 
 
pindayaPINDAYA PAGODA FESTIVAL
Location        : Pindaya
This festival starts seven days before the full moon day and thousands of devotees come from villages around the area to the cave. A kind of pagoda mall is set up at the foot of the hill under big shady Banyan trees to sell local products. All different of tribes with colour costumes participate.
 
SAND PAGODA FESTIVAL
Location        : Countrywide
On this occasion. Sand pagodas are built around the country using clean white sand on the sand banks of river. The people pay homage to this pagoda just as much as they pay homage to the actual pagodas by offering food, lights and flowers. In the rural areas, people believe that such festival will prevent them from three kinds of catastrophes: famine, disease epidemics, and disastrous warfare.
 

April (Tabaung / Tagu)

thingyanTHINGYAN WATER FESTIVAL
Location        : Throughout Myanmar
Thingyan Festival is the Burmese New Year Water Festival and usually falls around mid-Apirl. It is a Buddhist festival celebrated over a period of four to five days culminatin in the new year. Formerly the dates of Thingyan Festival are calculated according to the traditional Myanmar lunisolar calendar and but now have fixed Roman Calendar (13 to 16 April) equivalent it often coincides with Easter. The dates of the festival are observed as the most important public holiday throughout Myanmar and are part of the summer holidays at the end of the school year. Waterthrowing or dousing one another from any shape or form of vessel or device that delivers water is the distinguishing feature of this festival and may be done on the first four days of festival. However, in most parts of Myanmar, it does not being in earnest until the second day. The festival is held prior to Myanmar New Year in order to cleanse away evil deeds of the past year with water.
 
THANAKHA GRINDING FESTIVAL
Location        : Sittwe, Rakhine State
Thanakha is a cream derived from the bark of a Thanakha tree. Both Myanmar females and males use it as a form of sun protection. On Thingyan eye, young women grind Thanakha barks and roots with a sprinkle of water on rounded stone slabs. In order to support the event, young men play musical instruments and dance. After the thanakha is grinded into a fine cream, the people go to nearby pagodas and wash the Buddha images with it as a form of new-year good deed.
 

May (Tagu/ Kason)

FULL MOON DAY OF KASON
Location        : Throughout Myanmar
kasonThe month Kason usually falls on May of the English calendar. The month of excessive great. It is the season water in all ponds. lakes and creeks reduces to its lowest level. During the month of Kason the length of the day is longer and the night is shorter. People of Myanmar regard the month of Kason as Taurus) season and the sign of the podiac is a ball. The seasonal flower is Sagar and this festival is water pouring ceremony at the maha-Bodhi tree. the holy Banyan tree at the foot of which the Buddha attained Buddhahood or enlightenment. As the month of kason is at the middle of the hot reason. the earth is dry and people pour water at the Maha-Bodhi tree to make sure it does not die of drought during the hot summer. This has become an integral part of Myanmar culture and on every full-moon day of kason. the Buddhist people would march in a grand procession to the Bodhi tree or to the pagodas to pour scented water.
    
The full-moon day of kason is significant for other seasons too. It is the day on which Gotama Buddha was born. attained enlightenment. passed away. and as a recluse in is this previous existence. blessed by the prophecy of Depankara Buddha that he (sumedha) would also become a Buddha one day in the very remote future. It also is the day on which the original Bodhi tree arose from out of the earth as an assurance of the coming of the Gotoma Buddha.
    
The Bodhi tree has relations with lord Buddha so it becomes respectable for the Buddhists. Lord Buddha attained enlightenment underneath the Bodhi tree so the Buddhists revere the tree. On the Fullmoon day of Kason Buddhist devotees celebrate not only water pouring ceremony at the Bodhi tree but also perform meritorious deeds by keeping Sabbath. meditation. offering flowers. light. water and incense to the images of lord Buddha.
There are so many banyan tress in various regions of Myanmar. The majestic trees give cool shade and grandeur as well as dignity. grace and charm. Water pouring ceremony to the Bodhi tree in the month of Kason had been performed successively since the time of Myanmar monarchs to the present day. The performance of the ceremony is supportive not only to the religion and tradition but also to keeping trees green and lush.
 

June (Kason / Nayon)

FESTIVAL OF RELIGIOUS EXAMINATION
Location        : Throughout Myanmar
On this holy day, people across the whole country participate in religious activities such as offering meals to the monks and reciting Pali verses praising Lord Buddha. The monks also deliver sermons to the people and teach them Buddha’s teachings. This day commemorates the Lord Buddha’s first sermon to his five disciples. Together with these five companions, he formed the first sangha: the group of Buddhist monks.
 

July (Nayon / Waso)

FULL MOON DAY OF WASO
Location        : Throughout Myanmar
This public holiday celebrates the day Lord Buddha preached the first sermon of Dhamma Cakka Pavattana Sutta. Buddhist monks take a lent for three months starting on the full moon day. There are also Waso robe offering ceremonies held across Myanmar where people donate robes to the monks for use during their lent. Young men and women may even hand pick flowers for donation to the Buddha image and pagodas.
 

August (Waso / Wakaung)

taungpyoneTAUNG PYONE NAT (SPIRIT) FESITVAL
Location        : Taung Pyone Village, Mandalay
This festival is held for 3 days and it is the major gathering spot for two important spiritual mediums. The people from all over Myanmar come to this special festival and offer their donations and enjoy themselves with the blessings of the spirits, every year. They pray for prosperity, fame and luck for the next coming year.
 
YADANA GU SPIRIT FESITVAL
Location        : Amarapura, Mandalay
Similar to the Taung Pyone Nat Festival, people gather and honor the mother of two powerful spirit brothers previously mentioned (Shwe Phyin Gyi and Shwe Phyin Lay). She is believed to be the guardian spirit of Mount Popa and protector of all women. People enjoy their time as they dance to the music of Myanmar traditional orchestras.
 

September (Wakaung / Tawthalin)

manuhaMANUHA PAGODA FESTIVAL
Location        : Myinkaba village, Bagan
Time        : Full Moon Day of Tawthalin
Manuha Pagoda was built at Myinkaba village in Bagan by Ex-king Manuha of Mon, after he has been taken into Bagan from Thahton as war prisoner. On this day, village people dress up in their best traditional clothes, and enjoy a parade of huge paper-made figures performing to the crowd. The locals also offer a variety fruits and snacks at the pagodas.
 

October (Tawthalin / Thadingyut)

thandingyutTHADINGYUT LIGHTING FESTIVAL
Location        : Throughout Myanmar
To make the end of the Buddhist lent with three days of lights festival to celebrate the anniversary of Buddha's return from the celebrate the anniversary of Buddha's return from the celestial abode. According to the histrory of Buddha, people from Singanago welcomed the return of Lord Buddha from the Tavadedinsa (a part of heaven) after his preaching to the celestial beings there. On this day, Buddha was also able to fulfill the gratitude of his mother who had become a spirit there. Myanmar people continued this custom by lighting hundreds of candles and lanterns around the city. This festival also marks the end of lent from Waso (July) by the Sagha (Monks).
So throughout the country are illuminations with colorful light. And also thanks-giving and paying homage to parents, teachers and elders asking pardon for whatever misdeeds might have committed.
 
phaungdawooPHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA FESTIVAL
Location        : Inle Lake
The Inle Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival is one of the most famous pagoda festivals in Myanmar and Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival is the biggest and most important occasion in the Shan State. Four Buddha Images are taken around the lake in a gilded barge pulled by hundredsofleg-rowers in long canoes in front. During the festival, each village greets the four images with fanfare and celebrates every moment of the one-night stopover. Rowing Competitions may be coinciding within your visit. Shan dances and martial arts in each special ceremonial boat. On two specific dates of the festival period, there are boats racing competitions a splendid and most exciting moments as the teams representing various villages around the lake use their skills and strength to win the race. Many are from the plains, come from the mountains, while other are from small remote villages but everybody is here to gain merit and enjoy the festival air of the event.
 
kyaikhteeyoKYAIKHTIYO PAGODA FESTIVAL
Location        : Kyaikhtiyo, Mon State
The Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival is a special festival of lights celebration outing spot. On the full moon day of Thadingyut, local offer the lighting of 9,000 candles and 9,000 flowers are ceremoniously lit at mid-night to the Buddha. On the next morning, rice sweets and other snacks are offered.
 
elephant-danceELEPHANT DANCE FESTIVAL
Location        : Kyaukse, Mandalay Regional
Dancing Elephant Festival is unique and exotic elephant dance held at Kyaukse, near Mandalay. A huge but light elephant figure is made with bamboo and paper. It is marvelous performance of two mens takes their place inside the figure and dance in rhythm. People from far and near come to visit Kyaukse and watch the elephant dance.
 

November(Thadingyut / Tazaungmon)

TAZAUNGMON FULL MOON DAY FESTIVAL
Location        : Throughout Myanmar
It’s also known as Kha-htein ceremony in which people offer new robes and accessories (slippers, umbrellas, alms bowls, food, towels, and soap) to the monks. The offerings that are collected are showcased in a parade on wooden frames built in the shape of a tree.
 
matho-robeMATHO ROBE WEAVING COMPETITION (ALL NIGHT ROBE WEAVING CONTESTS)
Location        : Famous Pagodas around Myanmar, especially Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
On the evening before the full moon day of Tazaungmon, there are many robe-weaving competitions of which lasts the entire evening and night at famous pagodas around the country. The ceremony at Shwedagon pagoda is usually the largest and most energetic. The robes from the competition are then offered to Buddha images on the next day at dawn.
 
hot-air-balloonHOT AIR BALLOON FESTIVAL
Location        : Taunggyi, Shan State
On this occasion, people enjoy fun and merriment by releasing hot aired balloons with firework-launching competitions on the day night occasions. Day balloons are usually in the form of Pagodas and various figures animals while the night balloons are for beautiful and usually in the shape of huge elongated paper balls with small lighted multicolored paper lanterns hung around their sides and balloons would sting along fireworks.
 

December(Tazaungmon / Nadaw)

kayin-new-yearKAYIN NEW YEAR FESTIVAL
Location        : Kayin State
According to Karen tradition, there must be a celebration for the coming of a new crop and the completion of the last year.
Traditional Kayin costume was worn by most of the celebrants at the events. Many young and old Kayins wear their traditional colourful dresses and go around the city. visit relatives and enjoy the festival. In Hpa An. the capital city of Kayin State. dance competitions are held every year.
 

 

 

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