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.
KACHIN MANAW FESTIVAL
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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).
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.