MYANMAR FESTIVALS

January
Manaw Festival
Where: Myitkyina, Kachin State
Traditional Kachin Manaw Festival to celebrate the New year. All the Kachin clans will congregate at Myitkyina to celebrate this event.
Naga New Year (14th Waning day of Pyatho)

Where: Htamanti,Layshi Kantee where casually rotate these 3 Township, Sagaing Division

Duration: 2 days

Annually on December 15th (Pyatho in Burmese Month) celebrate the traditional festival of Naga people. This is one of the most colourful ceremonies of the country. Different tribes of Naga gather by the hundreds in their colourful costumes to perform dancing holding sabres and spears with full strength. Moreover, while enjoying taking part in the Naga New Year Festival together with them, the situation, cultures and customs of the areas around Naga can be observed.

Anada Pagoda Festival (One week proceeding the full moon day of Pyatho)

Where: Ananda Pagoda, Bagan

Duration: 1 week

The festival is arranged in Bagan, the most famous ancient city of Myanmar in the first era of the history of the country, on January 1 of every year. The scene of the monks in a line toward Ananda Pagoda gives us delight that is the essence of the festival. Many beautifully decorated fancy bullock carts carrying the people and the things for donation add the relish of the festival and the tradition of Upper Myanmar. There, it is very excellent for foreigners to view the real the traditions and customs, the donation spirit of the people of Myanmar.

 


February
Mahamuni Pagoda Festival(14th – 15th waxing days of Tabodwe)

Where: Mahamuni precinct, Mandalay

Duration: 2 days

At the pagoda namely Maha Myat Muni, one of the most famous ones in Myanmar, in Mandalay, once Myanmar royal capital, Glutinous rice delicacy contests are held late on 14th Waxing day(In Tabodwe according to Myanmar traditional calendar). On the morning of 15th Waxing day ( – Feb), increase is burnt in large flames in a symbolic gesture of offering heat to the great image. the festival, which is alive with a teeming crowd from many places of Myanmar, is usually held. After visiting Maha Muni Buddha Image, which is very eminent of being wonderful, visitors can go and see many well-known sites such as Mandalay Royal Palace, Mandalay Hill and so on.

Bonfire Ceremony (Full moon day of Tabodwe)

Where: Pyay (known as Srikettra )

Duration: 1 day

White stems of nyan-yoe plants, which emit no smoke when lit, are burnt at four cardinal points on the platform of the pagoda in the early morning of 15th waxing day. Worshippers then proceed to Pho-U mountain-top resort, where Lord Buddha was said to have visited and made preordination of events.

Kyaik Khauk Pagoda Festival
Where: Thanlyin (formerly Syriam )

White stems of nyan-yoe plants, which emit no smoke when lit, are burnt at four cardinal points on the platform of the pagoda in the early morning of 15th waxing day. Worshippers then proceed to Pho-U mountain-top resort, where Lord Buddha was said to have visited and made preordination of events.

A Typical Buddhist Religious festival like a country fair

 


March

Kakku Pagoda Festival (9th waxing day of Tabaung)

Where: Kakku Pagoda precinct, Taunggyi Township

Duration: 8 days

Pa Oh people from all the surrounding villages come in their best costumes to pay homage to the pagoda. Some comes in bullock carts and make camps under the huge banyan trees.

Pindaya Pagoda Festival (10th waxing day of Tabaung)

Where: Pindaya Township, Southern Shan State

Duration: 6 days

The festival is always held in Shan State on every 25th of February. Pindaya is a cave which is wonderful with full of pagodas inside it and beautifully decorated by the nature. The weather and the nature of Shan State, the friendly smiles of the people there make one’s mind fresh while going and seeing in the.

Ko Gyi Kyaw Nat Fastival (3rd Waxing day of Tabaung)

Where: Yay-sa-Gyo Pakhan, in Magway Division

Duration: 3 days

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Very well-known across Myanmar, the festival is celebrated by the people believed in Nat tradition (animism) in Yay -sa -Gyo Pakhan,in Magway Division, on every 17th February. People from all over Myanmar always come to the festival during that time. Interesting wearing styles, spirit mediums dancing with the special music played for Nats at the propitiation of Nats, Nat statues as the same size as man, the amazing wisdom of Nat beliefs make attractive figures for the people in Myanmar and even foreigners.

Inn Daw Kyi Festival (8th Waxing day of Tabaung)

Where: Inn Daw Kyi Lake near Moe-Hnyin in Kachin State

Duration: 3 days

Held at Inn Daw Kyi Lake near Moe-Hnyin in Kachin State, the date of the festival is 23th February, in Tabaung La of Myanmar traditional calendar. Viewing the biggest lake in Myanmar and its rich natural resources, we can take part in the pagoda festival with full content.

Baw Kyo Pagoda Festival (10th Waxing day of Tabaung)

Where: Baw Kyo Pagoda Festival, Northern Part Of Shan State

Duration: 3 days

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We can participate in Baw Kyo Pagoda Festival, in Shan State, in February especially on 24th. Not just the people from Shan State but also the ones from the middle part of Myanmar take part in that festival. To observe Shan tradition, custom and culture, which are slightly different from the tradition of the middle part of Myanmar, is quite good while celebrating in the festival.

 

Bo-Bo-Gyi Nat Festival (9th Waning day of Tabaung)

Where: Ahlone, Near Monywa City, Sagaing Division

Duration: (5 – 9) days

One of the festivals in Myanmar tradition – we call it “Bo-Bo-Gyi Nat Pwe” – is celebrated on the 9th after the full-moon day of Tabaung, which is the last month in Burmese calendar. Lasted from five to nine days generally, on the first day nats are invited in accordance with the customs; on the second celebration of campfire festivity is performed; on the third day, by the leaders from the villages, nats are worshipped; singing songs for nats is on the fourth; the fifth day is to donate food, and so on. The festival is held in Ahlone, Monywa and is usually visited by many people from different places of Myanmar.

Tabaung Festival (Full moon day of Tabaung)

Where: Throughout the country

Duration: 1 day’s ceremony

Ceremonies at pagodas throughout the country

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (Full moon day of Tabaung)

Where: Yangon

Duration: Approximately one week preceding the full moon day.

It is a traditional Buddhist pagoda festival and one of the most important pagoda festivals in the country.

Shwe Myat Mhan Pagoda Festival (Full moon Day of Tabaung)

(The Spectacled Image Festival)

Where: Shwedaung, Near Pyay

Duration: 8 days

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In Shwedaung near Pyay, people enjoy celebrating Shwe Myat Mhan Pagoda Festival on March 1 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 Centre planes the traditional handicrafts from various places of Myanmar and the beautiful sight scenes of the city can be experienced.


April

Shwemawdaw Festival (8th waxing day Tagu)

Where: Bago

Duration: 13 days ceremony

Theatrical artists perform on stage with full force to show their competitive edge over their counterparts and to win future performance contracts.

This pagoda festival is held on 24th March every year. The duration of the festival is about thirteen days, within the compound of Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda, one of the most interesting historical sites in Myanmar. It is very well-attended with the people from Bago and other places. While staying in Bago, one can enjoy not only the pagoda festival but also visiting the great palace, Kanbawza Thardi, of King Bayint Nayung.

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Thingyan Festival (Water Festival)

Where: All over the country

When: 13 April 2016 to 16 April 2016

Duration: 4 days

Traditional Myanmar New Year is usually celebrated on every April 13, (Tagoo La in accordance with the Myanma traditional calendar). People pour water over each other in a symbolic gesture of cleansing oneself of sins from the old year. Youths go out for enjoyment while elders take retreat in monasteries and pagoda precincts to perform meritorious deeds. The most festive places are Mandalay & Yangon. All the people across Myanmar celebrate this festival very happily.People from various religious backgrounds can participate in this festival and that is one of the most prominent features of Thingyan. Thingyan dance, Thingyan songs and decorated floats support the beauty of the festival. During the time of Thingyan, the pagodas and monasteries around Myanmar are full of people who are very keen to get merit from doing good deeds of Buddhist religion.

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Myanmar New Year – New Year’s Day (14th Waxing Day of Tagu)

Where: All over the country

When: 17 April 2015

Duration: 1 day

This is a deeply religious occasion observed mostly at pagodas and monasteries. Almost all Buddhist people in Myanmar usually do new-year rituals, donations and giving sanctuary of animals – in accord with the belief – as good deeds for merits on the 17th of April, Myanma New Year’s Day. Nearly all houses and streets, influenced with the sounds of Dhamma, are full of donors and acceptors. In many festivals –during that time – of giving sanctuary of animals, such as birds, fish, and cows and so on, many Buddhist people appreciate performing a variety of good actions. Those accomplishments and the essence can bestow the flavor of Myanma New Year’s Day to the people of taking part in it.

Mt.Popa Festival (3rd Waxing day of Tagu)

Where: Mt.Popa, Near Ancient City Of Bagan

Duration: 1 day

Mount Popa, the oasis of the arid land in the middle part of Myanmar, which is situated near Bagan, in Mandalay Division, and the time of the festival is in April. It is, of course, a very well-attended festival. The region is very famous with Nats, Burmese traditional spiritual beings, and it, in the time of the festival, is alive with special music for Nats.

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Oo-Shin-Gyi Nat Pwe (7th Waxing day of Tagu)

Where: Bogalay, Ayeyarwaddy Division

Duration: 1 day

In Wat-Kyun and Kyun-Nyo, which are in Bogalay, it is held on the seventh day of the beginning of Kasone. The first day is spent with the invitation of Oo-Shin-Gyi nat; on the second day the people there make a dance of the legend of the nat; and on the final day is sending the nat back. The nat pwe is systematically arranged. People enjoy participating in this event with the pleasant feeling of the beautiful sceneries of Ayeyarwaddy Delta region.

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May

Shwe-kyet-yet Event (14th waxing day of Kason)

Where: Mandalay

Duration: 1 day

During Thingyan, pilgrims from the country over pay respect to Popa nat shrines.Full-dress, large-scale procession followed by water-pouring on the sacred Bo-tree, significantly, on the 14th waxing day of Kason, a day before normal watering day.

Kason Fullmoon Day (Full moon day of Kason)

Where: All over the country

Duration: 1 day

Buddha is said to have attained Enlightement under the Bo Tree and Buddhist flock to pour water on this sacred tree to gain merit. Seen at most prominent pagoda and monastery precincts all over the country on the Fullmoon Day of Kason ( May )

Shite-thaung Festival (Full moon day of Kason)

Where: Mrauk U, Rakhine State

Duration: 8th Waxing Day of the month of Nayon to 10thWaning Day of the month of Nayon

At Shitthaung Pahto in Mrauk U, in Rakhine State, in April – on the full moon day of Kasone – the pagoda festival is held by the Rakhine people. The pagoda permeated with Rakhine cultures has interesting architecture, slightly different from other pagodas. One can enjoy and observe the Dhamma songs sung by Rakhine girls and the traditional wrestling and also in the boat-race participate happily.

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Pa-O Firework Festival (Full moon Day of Kasone)

Where: Taunggyi, Southern Part Of Shan State

Duration: 3 Days

Pa-O people, who live in Shan State, actively participate in the firework festival, (which is held on full moon day of Kason, Kasone La in Burmese calendar.) Fireworks created by putting gunpowder in bamboo sticks are carried to the festival and while assembling in the field, singing and dancing, the people there launch them as celebrating. They all have a belief that it gets the weather good and crops increased and take part in the celebration while observing the traditions and customs of Pa-O people.

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June

Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival

Where: Pakokku, Magway Division

Duration: 3 Days

The Thiho Shin Buddha Image is one of the most revered in Upper Myanmar. A typical Myanmar Buddhist Festival.

JULY

Waso full moon festival

Where: All over the country in July

When : Full moon day of Waso Buddha is said to have attained Enligntenment and preached his First Sermon, the Dhammasekya, to the five disciples on the Fullmoon day of Waso (August). It is also the first day of the Buddhist Lent during which the monks are prohibited to travel and sleep outside the monks are prohibited to travel and sleep outside of their monasteries. Religious ceremonies are held at monasteries to offer holy robes to the monks.

Shwe Kyun Pin Nat Pwe(1st waxing day of Wagaung )

Where: Mingun, Mandalay

Duration: 3 Days

It is well-known as a great festival in Myanmar, and usually held in Mingun region, Mandalay division. It is, within the festival time, an interesting festival of worshipping nats by ship along Ayeyarwaddy River. Marine vessels, big and small, gather to pay respect whilst plying around on the Ayeyarwaddy. Spirit dances included.

1st day – attending a nat audience

2nd day – having a royal bath

3rd day – cutting down htein tree

People can also be pleased with the pleasant vista along the river together with the nat pwe.


AUGUST

Taung Byone Nat Festival (10th waxing day of Wagaung)

Where: At Taung Byone village near Mandalay

Duration: 6 days

Taung Byone nat festival is one the greatest for the people who believe in nats (super natural beings that reward believers )among the festivals in Myanmar. The festival is usually held in central Myanmar, Mandalay division. Especially the traders and merchants who want help for more profits! It is a wonderful festival that people carry out worshipping and praying to the two Taung byone spiritual figures.– which we call, in Burmese, Taung Byone-min.
The duration is around six days long, and in those days, the festival is very well-attended as well as very prosperous with special offering for the nat brothers and special music played for them at the time of propitiation. It is also proper for foreign visitors to have photos and documentaries.

1st day – attending a nat audience

2nd day – having a royal bath

3rd day – ascending the throne

4th day – presenting roast rabbit

6th day – cutting down htein tree

Yadana Gu Nat festival (10th waning day of Wagaung)

Where: Yatana Gu Pagoda, Amarapura Township, Mandalay

Duration: 5 days

Started from the 10th day after the full-moon day of Wagaung, it lasts for about five days. This is a festival to honour the mother of the two Nat brothers of Taung Byone. The festival is held annually in honor of Popa. Medaw, Mewanna who came back from Taung Byone Festival, on her way back to Mt. Popa, she halted at the Yadanagu as her transit-camp.

The place is Amapura region, Mandalay. Most enjoyable the rowing boat trip to the site and along the river is full of boats. On the boats, it is crowded with offering, dance and special music for nats. In fact in Myanmar, for the people who have a strong belief in the power of nats, one of the greatest festivals.

1st day – attending a nat audience

2nd day – having a royal bath

3rd day – ascending the throne

4th day – daughter of Mahagiri reels on the ground in grief

5th day – closing by cutting down htein tree

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SEPTEMBER

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival (1st waxing day of te Thidingyut)

Where: Inle Lake, Nyaung Shwe Township, Southern Shan State

Duration: 18 Days

From the first of Thi-din-kyut till 18th, people from all over Myanmar join in the celebration of the festival in Inn-lay lake, which is beautiful with natural resources and the only place the leg-rowing can be seen. Including boat races, which add as a beauty to the festival, it is very interesting for the reason that the Buddha images are taken by carrying on the raft, decorated with the shape of a Burmese mythical bird, which is traditionally rowed by leg. The festival is the most famous in Inn-lay region and the vista of Inn-lay attracts all the visitors together with the pleasant climate condition.


OCTOBER

Elephant Dance Festival (Dummy Elephant Festival) (14th waxing day of Thidingyut)

Where: Kyaukse, Mandalay Division

Duration: 2 days

It is a well-known celebration, usually held, it is not actually performed by elephants, but by men who stay inside elephant statues, made of clothes and Paper Mache elephants carried around the town towards the pagoda on the Kyaukse Hill. A dance competition features these elephants. Numerous life-size dummy elephants sing and dance to the accompaniment of music. Though it is called, in Myanmar, elephants’ dance festival Seeing and feeling the dance of elephants, amongst Myanmar traditional orchestras and the sound of open-ended drums with a long body, the festival is eminent, around Myanmar, among Myanmar people and even a fascination for foreigners who will surely have an interest in it by the time of observing it.

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Kyauk-taw-gyi Festival (14th waxing day of Thidingyut)

Where: Mandalay

Duration: 4 day festival

Annually on the 14th of Thidinkyut, at Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda in Mandalay, The image was sculptured out of a single piece of marble stone in 1864 under the guidance of King Mindon, the famous one in Burmese history, which was very keen in religious affairs,.

The Thadingyut or Festival of Lights (14th waxing day of Thidingyut)

Where: Throughout Myanmar

Duration: 3 days

To mark the end of the Buddhist Lent, and is also one of the most prominent festivals of the year. Pagodas, houses, public buildings, parks, and monuments are all illuminated and there are various kinds of activities for everyone to enjoy. Thadingyut is not only for joyous but also thanksgiving and paying homage to Buddhist monks, teachers, parents and elders, and asking pardon for whatever misdeeds might have committed during the year.

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Kyaikhtiyo Season (Full-moon day of Thidingyut)

Where: Kyaikhto, Mon State

Duration: Approximately: 9 months long season the boulder standing on the edge of a peak in the highest mountain range, is said to be freely hanging over the cliff. Famous as pilgrimage and holiday outing spot.

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Shwezingon Festival (8th waxing day of Tazaungmon)

Where: Bagan

Duration: 2-3 days

Candle lights and fireworks are carried in procession before offering to the pagoda

Mya-Tha-Lon Pagoda Festival (10th waning day of Thidingyut)

Where: Magway

Duration: 10 days

The festival is celebrated, like other pagoda festivals in Myanmar, at Mya-Tha-Lon pagoda, which is situated on the bank of Ayeyarwaddy River, in Magway. Always started from the 10th of Thi-din-kyut for 20 days, the festival is alive with the mass of people who are offering nutrients to Buddhist monks as well as 9000 oil lamps to the pagoda, and the view of those enormous lamps creates implausible beauty of the pagoda together with the pleasant night scenes of the Ayeyarwaddy. Massive crowd, Burmese conventional operas and many shops along the lane near the pagoda bestow participants’ unforgettable motion and experiences.

Kyaik-Kha-Mi Pagoda Festival

Where: Kyaik-Kha-Mi, Mon State

Duration: 3 days

Usually celebrated in Thidingyut and Tazaungmone in accord with the Burmese calendar, the festival is very crowded with the people from all around Myanmar. During the festival, people enjoy many kinds of activities and for all the Buddhist people in Myanmar it is a sacrosanct festival.

Ka-Htain Festival (Kahtein Robe Offering Ceremony) (Thidingyut-Tazaungmone)
(1st Waning Day of Thidingyut to Full moon Day of Tazaungmone)

Where: Throughout Myanmar

Duration: A month

The end of the Buddhist lent, Ka-htain festival involves in many different Myanmar festivals as Burmese people usually celebrate showing their nature of offering. At monasteries all around Myanmar, during such festival period, many tree-shaped stands where various articles of offering are hung can be visible here and there. The stands also are full of valuable things collected from many people in accord with their wish and desire for donation. Within the whole month, people take part in it carrying the tree-shaped stands; some are taken by car and some by themselves, in a teeming crowd toward monasteries.


NOVEMBER

Hot Air Balloon Festival (Taunggyi) (10th Waxing day of Tazaungmone)

Where: Taunggyi (Shan State)

Duration: 6 days

Traditionally it is to pay homage to the Sulamuni Pagoda in the abode of the Celestial Beings by sending up lighted Hot air Balloons. Launching hot air balloons to the sky makes the people very happy in that festival, the famous and prominent one held in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State, in November annually. Now this traditional is combined with a competition to send up the most elaborate and beautiful balloons of every shape and size. Hot-air balloons are released day and night, competing over their beauty and the altitude they again. Day-time flying is meant for competition of animal figures and night-time is for beautiful fireworks

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Lights Festival and Robe-weaving Contest (14th Waxing day of Tazaungmone)

Where: Shwedagon, Botataung, Kyaikkasan and elsewhere

Duration: 1 day

On the 14th waxing day of Tazaungmone, groups of young women take part in competitions held on the platforms of the pagodas. The robe is to be vinished flawlessly overnight and offered at dawn to the imaes around the pagodas.

Tazaung-daing Festival of Lights (Fullmoon night of Tazaungmone)

Where: Taunggyi & throughout the country

Having fine weather and clear sky, and having the first crip harvested, Myanmar celebrate the night with various kinds of illuminations.

Candle Light Event (Fullmoon night of Tazaungmone)

Where: Ko-dad-gyi Pagoda in Yangon

Duration: 1 day

On full-moon day, 9999 candles are ceremoniously lit. At midnight, visitors are served with mixed salad of maezali buds, believed to possess powerful, magical and medicinal properties if eaten at this time.

Kaung Hmu Daw Pagoda Festival (Fullmoon night of Tazaungmone)

Where: Sagaing

Duration: 6 days

The best sopt to watch Myanmar puppet as at Sutaungbyi pagoda festival in Monywa. Pilgrimage and holiday outings on country oxcarts can be seen.


DECEMBER

Christmas Day

Where: Throughout the country

When: 25th December

Christianity is the largest religion in Myanmar after Buddhism.

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