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The Festivals In Myanmar
 
Myanmar is a Land of Festivals: there are festivals for every month of the year. Most festivals are cultural and religious. Majority are nation-wide celebrated while a few are distinctly regional. The dates of the festivals and special events are determined by the Lunar Year.


January

KACHIN MANAW FESTIVAL

Kachin State day is in January. Kachin Manaw Festival will be held one day ahead of State day in Myitkyina. But they celebrate only once in 4 years or 10 years. Please check with us whether the celebration is on or not.

NA -GA NEW YEAR FESTIVAL

The New Year is celebrated on January in the northern part of Myanmar. Opening ceremony is held in the morning and in the evening and there are traditional dance with bonfires. On the New Years day they have a competition of traditional sports, and gathering of ethnic groups of Nargas, once fierce warriors in their bright and exotic dresses, celebrate with rice wine, roasted meat and tribal dances performed with loud beating of drums.
 


ANANDA PAGODA FESTIVAL

This is one of the most famous pagoda festivals in Bagan; one of the Asia's most amazing and richest archaeological sites. The Great Ananda Pagoda Festival is said to have been going on continuously since the Bagan period. In ancient times, people from many villages around Bagan came to the festival in bullock-carts and made camps for the whole duration of the festival. Even now some villagers still come to the festival in the traditional way. Visitors can definitely enjoy the traditional lifestyle of the locals of Bagan during this festival.


February

HTAMANE FESTIVAL (January / February)

Tabodwe is the 11th Myanmar month of the Myanmar Calendar (end of January and early February). It is the time for seasonal festival of making Htamanei, a food prepared of glutinous rice, oil, fried coconut flakes and other condiments. It is prepared in huge pans by young stalwarts in the community under the guidance of master chefs in communal activity. Often there are competitions in making Htamanei within communities. Another less known festival in Tabodwe is called Mee-pone-pwe to mark the offering of fire for warmth in the extreme cold.


MANNSHWESATTAW PAGODA FESTIVAL

This pagoda festival is held in Shwe Settaw, Magwe Region, Central Myanmar. There are two pagodas which enshrine footprints of the Buddha. The site is on the bank of Mann Creek, where bamboo cabins are erected every year for local travelers to enjoy cool swims during the heat of summer.


KYAIK KHAUK PAGODA FESTIVAL

Kyaikkhauk Pagoda Festival (a pagoda in Thanlynn) is one of the famous pagoda festivals around Yangon City. Most of the activities of Pagoda Festivals are evening entertainments such as Zat (Drama), Anyient, Stage Show and Movies are shown in the open air the whole night.


MAHAMUNI PAGODA FESTIVAL – MANDALAY

MahaMuni Buddha (famous pagoda in Mandalay), image is highly venerated as it is said to be made in front of Lord Buddha Himself, and thus its face is most revered. The image is completely covered with 15 cm-thick gold. February is the coldest month in Myanmar and at the MahaMuni Pagoda Festival devotees light bonfires and cook huge pans of sticky rice(Htamanei) with ginger, coconut and sesame to offer to monks.
 


March

THAEPONE FESTIVAL

This festival was constructing pagodas in on the sandbanks of the river. It is called Thaepone Festival and this festival has almost disappeared today.


KOGYIKYAW SPIRIT FESTIVAL

It is enjoyable to see the singing and dancing of the worshippers to Ko Gyi Kyaw; a happy spirit who loves to drink and gamble. This annual festival in his honour is celebrated in his home town; Pakhan, Yayzagyo Township, Mandalay region.
 


SHWE NAT TAUNG PAGODA FESTIVAL

This is one of the largest pagoda festivals in this part of Myanmar and many local pilgrims arrive by bullock-carts from the surrounding villages. This pagoda is said to be built in the Pyu Period. This pagoda festival is held in Shwe Taung, Bago Region.


BAWGYO PAGODA FESTIVAL

It is a famous historic pagoda festival in Thibaw Township, Shan State of Myanmar. Not only the people from Shan State but also the ones from the central part of Myanmar take part in that festival. To observe Shan tradition, custom and culture, which are slightly different from the tradition of the central Myanmar, is quite interesting.


ZALUN PYI-TAW-PYAN BUDDHA IMAGE FESTIVAL

The colonialists who had occupied lower Myanmar took this Buddha Image to England with the intention of using the bronze in their mint. According to legend they could neither melt it nor break it with hammers, and the Queen was said to have suffered nagging headache and nightmares. She ordered that the statue be returned to the place from where it was taken. After sending it back to Myanmar, she recovered from the suffering. In memory of its having been taken abroad and having been brought back, it became famous as the Man Aung Myin Pyitawpyan Buddha Image (the statue that was returned from abroad).


PINDAYA SHWE-U-MIN FESTIVAL

Shan, Pa-O, Palaung, Taung Yoe, Intha, Danu groups residing around Pindaya come and camp under the huge banyan trees to take part in the festival. The Pindaya Cave houses hundreds of Buddha Images, old and some new. During the festival time, thousands of devotees come from villages around the area to the cave. It is a joyous scene, people coming in groups by car, some coming in a huge convoy of traditional bullock-carts. The tribes circle their ox-carts, and in the middle, people do their cooking and rest for the night during the festival.


KEKKU PAGODA FESTIVAL

A cluster of more than 3000 pagodas, said to be from Bagan period, but in the Yun Shan style, are grouped on a small hillock overlooking the Hopon Valley. Pa O people flock to the festival in their best costumes to pay homage to the pagoda on the full-moon day of Tabaung. The best time to see this is at dawn, on the full–moon day, when villagers come. This pagoda festival is held in Kekku Ancient Pagoda Complex, near Taunggyi, Southern Shan State.
 

SHWE SAR YAN PAGODA FESTIVAL

Shwe Sar Yan Pagoda is easily accessible by car, being on the main Mandalay-Lashio Highway. The Shwe Sar Yan Pagoda Festival is a very interesting festival indeed: a typical rural fair, bringing many visitors from not only the outlaying villages but also from far away. The main attractions of this festival are the folk toys woven out of dried palm fronds. Beside the Pagoda is also a 17th century pagoda, Po Kalar Gu, which houses many beautiful mural paintings.


SHWEDAGON PAGODA FESTIVAL

Shwe Dagon Pagoda is the most well-known pagoda in Myanmar and this Pagoda Festival is one of the most visited festivals for pilgrims all over the country. Monks recite the Holy Scriptures 24 hours continuously throughout the duration of the festival, Buddhist devotees pay homage every day and their donations go towards the preservation of the Pagoda.
 


ALAUNGDAW KATHAPA PAGODA FESTIVAL

The Alaungdaw Khathapa shrine is located in a National Park in Yinmarbin Township, Sagaing Region. Crowds of local people from surrounding area and far distances come to this festival. The festival is held by offering lighting to the Pagoda and National Cave. People go there not only for just pilgrimage but also for observing the nature as it is one of the renowned ecotourism sites of Myanmar.


April

WATER FESTIVAL

Water Festival is one of the happiest festival Myanmar people celebrate. It is called “Thingyan” and is celebrated for four continuous days. Thindyan Yein is a traditional dance of Water Festival. One cannot avoid of getting very wet because everyone throws water on each other. People drive through the city in open cars and there are stages along the street where people throw water. During this time, everything is closed: restaurants, shops, markets, Museum, etc. The whole country enjoys the water throwing in welcoming the Myanmar New Year Day.


SHWE MAW DAW PAGODA FESTIVAL

The most famous Pagoda Festival in Bago. Classical theatre troupes perform their best here so they will be booked by agents for the next pagoda festival season. Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda Festival is held in the month of Tagu (March-April).


SALON FESTIVAL

The only inhabitants in Myeik or Mergui Archipelago of Myanmar are Sea Gypsies, namely Salon (Moken). They live on boats during dry season and remain on land during rainy season. They still practice the same fishing and boat building techniques used for generation. Even though they live in the sea almost all the time, they have their traditions, customs, cultures and their localized traditional festival. During the festival, all villagers gather at the villages, offer foods and pray for their better on business, good luck, for good health and more prosperity for coming season. They also enjoy their meals, drink and dance traditionally during their festival


May

RITUAL OF POURING WATER ON THE BODDHI TREE

This ritual commemorates the day, when around 2500 years ago Buddha gained enlightenment while meditating under a Boddhi tree. Pilgrims pour water on the Boddhi trees in pagoda compounds to keep them fresh in the summer heat of May.


June

PAKOKKU THIHO SHIN PAGODA FESTIVAL

Pakokku is an old traditional town on the western bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. This pagoda festival is the most important for all towns west of the Ayeyarwaddy and products from the region, such as dried chili, home spun baskets and tobacco are sold every year at this huge country fair. The best thanakha trees, the bark of which is pounded to make the purely organic make-up cream used by many Myanmar women, grow in this area.


July

WASO FULL MOON FESTIVAL

The Myanmar month of Waso is the beginning of the monsoon rains. It is also the start of the Buddhist Lent. Monks are prohibited to travel overnight from their monasteries. According to the monks' code of conduct, they are still obligated to make the rounds for their daily food whether it is raining or not. As it is, they need spare robes. Therefore there is a ceremony to offer robes to the monks for use during the wet season. It is celebrated throughout of the country.


WARSO CHIN-LONE (CANE BALL) FESTIVAL

Waso Chinlone(Caneball) Festival of Mahamuni Buddha Image, Mandalay lasts for 48 days. It was the 81st game held annually since 1926; the largest sport event of its kind, participated by 1220 Chinlone teams. The players had travelled across from all corners of the country to pay homage to the most revered Shrine, and to convene in tribute, the game of Chinlone. It is believed that this game has taken root in Myanmar for more than 1500 years. During the Festival of Mahamuni Buddha Image, as the grandeur of game call for, chinlone contest is performed with live music of Myanmar saing-waing (traditional orchestra) and running commentary.


August

TAUNG PYONE SPIRIT FESTIVAL

Taung Pyone spirit festival is held in Taung Pyone village, Mandalay Division. It is the site where two brothers serving a king of Bagan in the 11th century were executed. They became powerful spirits or Nats. This festival in their honor is attended by tens of thousands of mediums and worshippers. During the festival, toddy palm, wine, whisky, rum, grilled rabbit and fried chicken are offered to the two spirit brothers. Orchestras come to play for the mediums who dance to make the spirits 'Joyful'.
 


YADANA GU SPIRIT FESTIVAL

Yadana Gu spirit festival is held in Amarapura, Mandalay Region. This festival honours the mother of the two powerful spirit brothers in Bagan era. She is the Goddess of Popa and her main shrine is on Popa Crest, near Bagan. She is a powerful spirit and protector of women.

 

September

MANUHA PAGODA FESTIVAL

On the first day of Manuha pagoda festival, pretty village girls dressed in their best parade with trays of fruits and cakes to offer at the pagoda. During the afternoon, young men parade with larger-than-life paper-made figures of heroes, celestials and animals. At night, they put on dances and plays. The next morning at dawn they offer food at shrine and also to the monks.


PHAUNG DAW OO FESTIVAL

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival is the biggest occasion of the Lake Inle. The images of the Buddha from Phaung Daw Oo are placed on a decorated royal barge and taken around the lake, stopping at villages for people to pay homage. The festival is full of pageantry and colorful, and there are fun fairs, music, dances and boat races.

Since this festival lasts very long, please check with us for exact dates and events.


October

KYAUK TAW GYI PAGODA FESTIVAL

An exciting festival of Mandalay focused on a huge Buddha image carved from a single block of marble. It coincides with an annual competition among teams of cane-ball (chin-lone) players.


DANCING ELEPHANTS FESTIVAL

Kyaukse is famous for dancing elephant festival. On the first day, colorfully decorated elephant figure made of cloth and bamboo with two men inside compete in dance competitions. The elephant with the best dance performance and behaviors wins the gold. Food and flowers are offered to the pagoda on the second day.

 


KAUNGMUDAW PAGODA FESTIVAL

Kaungmudaw Pagoda in Sagaing is one of the famous pagodas in central Myanmar. Most interesting aspect of this festival is the caravan of bullock-carts in the pagoda compound. Some of the carts carry their village products, such as hand-woven cotton clothes and cane mats, etc, to sell them at the festival. They like to camp under the shady trees.


SHWE KYIN LIGHT FESTIVAL

Shwe Kyin light festival is held every year on the day after the full moon day of Thadingyut in Shwe Kyin Township, Bago Region. The festival includes daytime rowing races as well as competitive synchronized paddling exhibitions by separate teams of women and men. However, the highlight of the festival occurs only after darkness falls and locals launch hundreds of lit candles onto the water.


THADINGYUT FESTIVAL (October)

End of Buddhist lent and also the festival of lights. Pagodas, houses and streets are brilliantly illuminated. It is not only a time of joy but also thanksgiving and paying homage to teachers, parents and elders


November

HOT AIR BALLOON FESTIVAL

Taunggyi Hot Air balloons festival commonly called the Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Festival will be held on November and can watch the various competitions of hot- air balloons. At day-time, see the competitions of decorated hot-air balloons in different shapes and forms of animals such as elephants, horse, cattle, pig mythical Hintha bird and hen etc. Also see the fireworks and firecrackers of hot air-balloon at night time.


TAZAUNGMONE FULLMOON FESTIVAL

After the rains, the monks would need new robes and on the full moon day, people offered the robes to the monks. It is called the Khahtein ceremony. Sets of new robes and other offerings such as slippers, umbrellas, alms bowls, food, towels, soap and other necessities are presented to monks. Cash offerings for monasteries are also collected and displayed on wooden frames built in the shape of a tree.


ALL NIGHT ROBE WEAVING CONTESTS

On the eve of the Full Moon Day of Tazaungdaing, there are competitions to weave the holy robes using traditional looms to be offered to the Buddha Images at the four corners of the pagoda before dawn. It is a major event at the Shwedagon Pagoda. This ritual was once practiced both in the palace during the time of monarchy and villages.


SHWEZIGON PAGODA FESTIVAL

On the Full Moon Day, there is a ritual of offering a filled alms bowl to a thousand and more monks and novices. Lacquer ware, glazed pots and hand woven cotton blankets are sold by villagers living in the Bagan region at this great country fair.


PHOWINTAUNG PAGODA FESTIVAL

Phowintaung is located in Monywa and the festival of this Phowintaung is held November. Like other pagoda festivals with the usual entertainment provided. Myanmar thanaka, sandalwood and woven textiles (cotton blankets and longyis mainly) can be bought at the various stalls around the pagoda area.


SHWESANDAW PAGODA FESTIVAL – PYI

Shwesandaw Pagoda from Pyi is one of Myanmar’s biggest Buddhist pilgrimage sites and the festival of this pagoda is one of the most visited festivals for pilgrims all over the country.


December

MAE LAMU PAGODA FESTIVAL

Mae Lamu pagoda festival is one of the famous pagoda festivals in Yangon Region. The activities of Pagoda festival are reciting the holy scriptures 24 hours continuously throughout the festival by monks, offering provisions and articles to monks, celebrating festivities and performing with evening entertainments such as Zat (Drama), Stage Show and Movies.


POPA GUARDIAN SPIRITS FESTIVAL

Popa Guardian Spirits Festival is one of the most well-known Nat Festivals in Myanmar. Mt.Popa is about 30 miles from Bagan and there is one of the centers of Nat-worshipers and the followers join the Nat Festival with either a strong belief or for more fun. Nat Maung Tint De, the mighty blacksmith of Tagaung who became a Nat is worshiped by many households all over Myanmar as the house Guardian Nat.


KYAIK HTI YO – GOLDEN ROCK PAGODA FESTIVAL (Nine Thousand Lamps)

On the platform of the Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda, devotees light nine thousand lamps to welcome the New Year and to give thanks to Buddha’s peaceful Doctrine. The magical Golden Rock Pagoda, a golden spire, sits on the top of a huge boulder covered with gold leaf and perched on the edge of a cliff.


MYA THA LON PAGODA FESTIVAL

Myathalon pagoda festival is one of the famous pagoda festivals in the central part of Myanmar in Magway Division. This pagoda has the legend connected with the Buddha. The emerald cot of Buddha was believed to be enshrined in the pagoda. The name derived from the emerald cot; Mya Thalon in Myanmar Language.


KAYIN NEW YEAR FESTIVAL

Kayin New Year day is a National Public Holiday in Myanmar. 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 and dance competitions are held every year.


SHWEMYATMAN PAGODA FESTIVAL

People enjoy celebrating Hman Pagoda Festival annually. People of Buddhist can pay obeisance and others can observe the Buddha Image, only one having spectacles, that is very wonderful in Myanmar. The products of Pyay and it’s environ, the traditional handicrafts from various places of Myanmar are available during the festival.

 
 
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