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Festivals in Myanmar

Cultural and Seasonal Festivals of Myanmar

As Burma is known as the land of the festivals, travelers can always experience the fabulous seasonal festivals of Myanmar which are celebrated throughout the year as national, cultural, and religious festivals. The festivals are colorful and unique in their own ways. Some of the highlighted festivals of Myanmar are as below;

Thingyan, the Water Festival

Thingyan, the water festival is possibly the biggest, most jubilant and merriest occasion in Myanmar.
The holidays fall on the second week of April roughly on the twelfth or thirteenth, according to the Gregorian calendar. Almost all the people in the city will be out on the streets in celebration as it is a national holiday and there is no work or school.
The festival has religious aspects as it is a festival to welcome the Myanmar New Year, and Buddhits will be visiting Pagodas and Monasteries to do merit and offer food to monks, pay homage to elders and bathe Buddha images.
During this joyful celebration, not only Buddhist people enjoy Thingyan, people of every religion and age flock the streets, touring downtown, and performing its trademark activity – throwing or splashing water over each other as a representation of washing away the past year’s evil. Almost the whole population is in the most joyous mood. Elaborately decorated pavilions called ‘mandats’ are built on major roadsides and Thingyan songs are sung, or Thingyan dances are performed for the crowd of youths and adults who have come together in unison to join in the watery fun. Some pavilions serve free food and drinks to all passers-by. After the festival, young people go to “home for the aged” to do good merits such as cutting hair and nails for elder people. Some people go to pagodas to free birds and fishes, too. It is a way of Myanmar people celebrating New Year. Local delicacies are made during the festival to share with families, friends and neighbors.

WaterFestival2
Hot Air Balloon Festival

November is the best time to travel as there is no more rain and the environs are still green, not muddy and not yet dusty everywhere in the region. At that time of the year, the Hot Air Balloon Festival is usually celebrated on a grandiose scale. The festival has now become a proud tradition of the Shan people and is one of the major tourist attractions.
In Taunggyi, the capital of the Southern Shan State, the festival is celebrated annually for 6 days. On the occasion, people enjoy themselves by holding firework and hot air balloon launching competitions. Day balloons are usually in the form of Pagodas and animals while the night balloons are usually in the shape of huge elongated paper balls with small-lighted multicolored paper lanterns hung around their sides. Each balloon is hand-made using bamboo frames and locally produced paper, made from the mulberry plant.
Night balloons are larger and more elaborate, equipped with firecrackers and fireworks. The pyrotechnic display starts at a pre-determined height. All the fireworks are traditionally made, using gunpowder, charcoal and a little bit of magnesium.

The festival comes alive and the whole sky is lit up with huge hot-air balloons decorated with hundreds of small lighted multi-colored paper lanterns hung around their sides. The fireworks are strung along the huge balloons setting off mid-air creating magnificent view. The ceremony is accompanied by musicians who play and dance to lively traditional Shan music and the partying goes on in the festival tents until dawn.

On this great occasion, over 350 balloons are released throughout the festival every year. It is a great opportunity to observe this marvelous festival held once a year in Myanmar.
(The exact dates of festival vary from year to year according to the Myanmar lunar calendar).

Hot-air-F
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival (late September to early October)

The Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival is one of the most popular Buddhist festivals in Myanmar. The festival is celebrated for about 20 days. It is held in Inle, Lake in Shan State. Five revered Buddha images are kept at Phaung Daw Oo pagoda throughout the year and during the festival, Four out of the five revered Buddha images are paraded around the lake in a well-decorated, gilded barge pulled by traditional long boats rowed by hundreds of rowers. The festival is usually crowded with pilgrims all over the country and foreigners enjoying the festival. There is a mysterious belief tht only four images can be paraded and the fifth Buddha image must be left at the monastery as to guard. Rowing competitions are held in the lake during the Phaung Daw Oo pagoda festival that creates spectacular sights to every visitors. Hundreds of traditional boats with thousands of leg rowers in Inle Lake just make everyone go speechless at the sight. Pilgrims from all over the country come to this festival to pay homage to the four Buddha images and gain merit.

Inle Lake resembles to the Venice of South East Asia due to its stunning sight of leg rowers in the blue lake surrounded by greenish mountains all around the lake. We believe this lake will just make you go speechless!

Phawng-daw-Oo
Thadigyut Festival (Festival of Light)

Thadingyut is called the festival of light because one can see every single streets and houses in Myanmar are lit up with colorful and beautiful lanterns of different sizes. History of the Thadingyut goes back to thousands of years ago when Lord Buddha descending to the earth after he had preached ‘Abidhamma’ sermon to his mother, Maya in the heavon. Therefore, Lord Buddha was welcomed with lights and ladders decorated in jewellery as the history has mentioned. Embracing this amazing tradition, people light up their streets and houses during Thadingyut festival. The festival is both cultural and religious. Many people go to pagodas the whole day to preach ‘Abidhamma’ sermon and spread love to all the human beings on earth. People visit their parents, elders and families to pay homage in this religious festivals and young children usually get the pocket money back from their grandparents and parents! The most exciting part of the festival is to stroll along the lit-up streets, enjoy local delicacies from the night markets, and shop for souvneirs. Thadingyut is celebrated in October.

Phawng-daw-Oo
Taung Pyone Nat Festival (near Mandalay)

Myanmar is rich in different religions while majority are Buddhists. Therefore, some of the festivals have religious aspect and Taung Pyone Nat Festival is also one of them.
About 20km north of Mandalay lays a small village called Taung Pyone, resting quietly among the green fields. This place becomes the focus of the Taung Pyone Spirit Festival held every year in the Myanmar month of Wagaung (August) to honor the Nats. According to tradition, Nats are spirits that must be appeased or they will wreak havoc in peoples’ lives. The homage-paying festival is now held annually to appease the spirits as it is believed that the Nat Brothers can fulfill one’s wishes, protect one from ill fate and danger, and bring good luck, prosperity and progress. It is one of much glories and distinguish spirit festival occurs annually on August.
Nowadays, Taung Pyone is the most famous among the Nat festivals in the countryside. All the Nat mediums and those who believe and worship Nats gather at that village. Thousands of people are attend the hundreds of Nat Pavilions to ask the mediums about their future plans and prosperities. Series of 37 Nat statutes on the stands are offered food and flowers, cash, alcohol and the medians amuse the Nats with dance and the traditional Nat music day and night. As Nat song and music is very upbeat, anyone who hears it will want to dance. Thousands of people flock in and out every-day until the end of the festival.
The Taung Pyone Nat Festival is a must for those who want to observe the spirit-worship in Myanmar.

Taung-Pyone
Popa Nat Festival (Mt.Popa)

Popa Nat (Spirit) festival is held on full moon day of Tagu, the first month in Myanmar calendar during summer (April). Large numbers of worshippers, who believe in spirits pay respect to the Nats at their shrines on the top of Mt.Popa. Visitors will have a chance to witness the Nat (Spirit) dances, which are very crowded. In addition to this main festival, there are also festivals held on full moon day of Warkhaung, the fifth month of Myanmar calendar (July-August) and full moon day of Nadaw, the ninth month in Myanmar calendar (November~December).

Popa-nat


Myanmar Seasonal Festivals

Myanmar is rich in the festive moods and joyful environments of the citizens. Following are the seasonal festivals of Myanmar.

  • Kachin Manaw Festival

    The Kachin or Jingphaw as they are known in their own languages is one of the largest ethnic races of Myanmar living in the northern most region of the country; belong to Tibeto-Burman tribe. There are different Kachin tribes like Kharku, Thaisan, Lacheik, Rawang, Thaikhamt and Lisu. Frankness, friendliness, hospitality and generosity are some of the lovely characteristics of the Jingphaw.
    Manaw is the most remarkable event as well as unique holy tradition in Kachin State. The Jingphaw are now either Buddhist or Christian and the animist ceremonies of their ancestors are now celebrated as part of upholding their cultural heritage. They are a people proud of their traditions, with a richness of culture that befits the grandest celebrations. Manaw festival is held in Myitkyina on or around 10thJanuary every year and it is not only a New Year ceremony but also a reunion celebration and a festival to celebrate a victory or achievement. Moreover, it is a show of gratitude to ancestral spirits. On this occasion, all participants pray for a bright future.

    At one festival, tens of thousands of people from all villages in the region will be present in all their tribal finery. Dancing with the rhythmic beat of the ceremonial gong, moving anti-clockwise in a big circle to the beat of the gong where everybody can join behind them, waving ceremonial swords by men and handkerchief by women, your transient experience with Manaw will surely remain with you forever.

  • Ananda Pagoda Festival (Bagan – Mandalay Division)

    Ananda Pagoda festival in Bagan takes place a few days before the full moon day of Pyatho, which falls on last week of December or on the first week of January. Pagoda festivals give farmers the chance not only to worship at a famous pagoda but also make a little extra cash selling handicrafts.
    Entire villages near and far arrive in caravans of bullock carts and camp around the temple. People bring bedding, cooking pots and dry rations. Pottery rafts come downstream from the famous pottery town of Kyaukmyaung, some kilometers upriver from Mandalay during the Ananda Festival. The riverside at is lined with rafts and boats bringing these jars and smaller unglazed pottery. They are piled high on the sandy banks, while near the temple they squat in row upon glistening row, like fat beetles in the sun.
    At dawn on the day of the full moon, alms bowls filled with rice are offered to monks who all wait in a long line and special offerings at the Buddha with rice, fruit, cakes, flowers, candles and scent sticks.
    At all Pagoda festivals in Myanmar, local people have a great chance to watch the performing arts of Zat Pwe (traditional dance and drama) and movies in open theatre for dusk to dawn every night throughout the festival days.

  • Naga New Year Festival (Sagaing Division) Lashie

    The Naga are a tribe living in the mountains, valleys and plains of one of the most remote places on earth. Naga hill lies in the northwest corner of Myanmar, close to the Indian border. The snow-capped Mt.Saramati on Naga hill is 3828m high. Khamti is the most famous town of Naga land. The traditional customs and religious beliefs of the Naga tribes have not died out till today.
    The main Naga tribes have different costumes with fantastic headdresses of colorful plumes, beads, bone, horn and tusks as priceless items, which they treasure above gold. Their robes are closely woven from thick cotton or wool, dyed in bright colors and embroidered with cowry shells. Each pattern has a story that the weaver wanted to record. They wear everything in every color. The females wear tattoos on their foreheads and chins. In addition, there are some small differences in customs, but they are still of one main race. There are 49 sub-tribes differentiated by their spoken languages. They are a proud people living in an isolated land, preferring to be left alone in their own region. They live as strictly according to old customs as their ancestors did.
    Insignias of leaders are apparent: bands of woven armlets made of cane or special spear and extra necklaces. Their finery is not merely for decorative purposes as each piece has its own meaning, each piece marks an event or status of their people.
    Rice wine is always ready in pots at homes. Shared with others, it is a drink of friendship, of sealing goodwill between friends and strangers. Naga’s biggest festival is New Year festival, which annually celebrated on 14~15 January, called Kaing Bi. There is a great feasting and joy and tribes gather to join the revelries. On this occasion, endless cups of rice wine are drunk, bison and wild boar meat roasted and eaten, tribal dances performed with loud beating of drums. Visitors are welcomed, for they are curious about strangers although they prefer to stay home. The visitors on their part have a chance to see events and people living in old ways. If strangers join in their celebrations, they are welcomed; it is good to share the happiness.
    If your travel date falls on January and looking for something different, please contact to our office to adjust the date and to be integrated into your tour program.

  • Chin National Day

    It takes place on February 20 every year in Haka (Northern Chin State) and Mindat (Southern Chin State).It is a popular holidays for Chins, one of main races of the country. Visitors can witness the ethnic dances performed by different Chin groups at both venues. For our visitors, we would like to recommend a trip to Mindat as one could visit Natma Taung National Park after (or) before Mindat. Natmataung also known as Mt.Victoria was given as a present to Queen Victoria of England in commemoration of conquest on Myanmar. 10200 ft above sea level, Natmataung is the highest in Chin State. It is regarded as the best bird-watching spot among birding enthusiasts. Natmataung National Park is centered around Mt.Victoria, now known as Kong Nu Peak in Chin language. This park is situated in Kanpetlet Township, south of Mindat in Southern Chin State. On the way to the park, there are numerous ethnic Chin villages and some other villages belonging to the Taung Tha people who are said to be ancestors of Bamar people. This area was once described as “the world’s biggest botanical garden” by the renowned British naturalist Frank Kingdom-Ward.
    The route to Mindat is quite simple. It starts from Bagan and cross the Ayeyarwaddy River over the Chauk Bridge, then about 10hrs drive along the winding road to Mindat by 4 WD car.

  • Kyaik Khauk Pagoda Festival (Yangon)

    The Kyaik Khauk Pagoda is located just a few miles away from Yangon. The Festival is held every year around the full moon day of Tabodwe. In the festival, Kyaik Khauk Local villagers often travel to the festival by bullock cart, camping on the Pagoda platform, selling sovenirs and local delicacies. Myanmar traditional dance are performed too

  • Htamene Festival

    Htamane festival is held between February and March, throughout the whole country. Htameane is the local delicacy of Myanmar made of sticky rice and sesame seeds. The cooking process of Htamane takes overnight as the sticky rice must be soaked for the whole night. The next day, thinly peeled pieces are fried coconuts and ingredients are added and two strong men stir the rice until it is well-cooked. After its being cooked, Htamane is offered to Lord Buddha and shared with neighbors, friends, and pilgrims to the pagodas.

  • Mahamuni Pagoda Festival (Mandalay Division)

    Mahamuni Pagoda is the one of the most famous pagodas in the country as well as a must see place for every visitors to Mandalay. The festival falls on the full moon day of Thabodwe. and it lasts for 2 days. Local deliciacy called Glutinous rice making contest is held on the pagoda’s campus. During this festival thousands of people from all over the country make the pilgrimage to the Mahamuni Pagoda.

  • Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (Yangon Division)

    Shwedagon Pagoda festival is always full of energy and packed with thousands of pilgrims all over the country every year. It is a traditional as well as a religious festival of Myanmar. It is celebrated in March.

  • Kakku Pagoda Festival (Shan State)

    Kakku pagodas located in Shan State has its festival annually in March, on the full moon day of Tabaung (March). The festival lasts from two to three days. The festival is lively with pilgrims and travellers because this is not only the religious festival but also a time for those who want to explore the land and have fun with friends and families. It is a beautiful scenery to see the villagers coming to pagoda with bullock carts dressing in their traditional costumes. On the full moon day Tabaung, Pa-O tribes which is the ethnics of Shan State come before dawn to offer food to Lord Buddha.

  • Pindaya Shwe Oo Min Pagoda Festival (Pindaya)

    Pindaya Shwe Oo Min cave Pagoda festival is held on and around full moon day of Tabaung as well. It starts seven days before the full moon day. During the festival time, thousands of devotees come from villages around the area to the cave. At the foot of the hall, one can see many stalls lining up selling local products.

  • Mann Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival (Magway Division)

    Mann Shwe Sattaw Pagoda Festival is one of the most prestigious pagoda and its festival is one of the most popular festivals in Myanmar. Devotees from all over Myanmar come to upper Myanmar to pay homage to the pagoda. The marvelous thing about Shwe Settaw Pagoda festival is that it can only be visited during the festival time and the pagoda is usually coverd with water throughout the year. During the festival, two roads to pagoda appeared mysteriously but people only use one road as it is believed that another one is for spiritual beings who come to pay homage to pagoda.

  • Thingyan Water Festival

    Thingyan, the water festival is possibly the biggest, most jubilant and merriest occasion in Myanmar.
    The holidays fall on the second week of April roughly on the twelfth or thirteenth, according to the Gregorian calendar. Almost all the people in the city will be out on the streets in celebration as it is a national holiday and there is no work or school.
    The festival has religious aspects as it is a festival to welcome the Myanmar New Year, and Buddhits will be visiting Pagodas and Monasteries to do merit and offer food to monks, pay homage to elders and bathe Buddha images.
    During this joyful celebration, not only Buddhist people enjoy Thingyan, people of every religion and age flock the streets, touring downtown, and performing its trademark activity – throwing or splashing water over each other as a representation of washing away the past year’s evil. Almost the whole population is in the most joyous mood. Elaborately decorated pavilions called ‘mandats’ are built on major roadsides and Thingyan songs are sung, or Thingyan dances are performed for the crowd of youths and adults who have come together in unison to join in the watery fun. Some pavilions serve free food and drinks to all passers-by. After the festival, young people go to “home for the aged” to do good merits such as cutting hair and nails for elder people. Some people go to pagodas to free birds and fishes, too. It is a way of Myanmar people celebrating New Year. Local delicacies are made during the festival to share with families, friends and neighbors.

  • Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda Festival (Bago)

    Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda is just like another pagoda festivals full of pilgrims, and local people selling food and souvenirs during the festival time.

  • Kason Bo-Di Tree Watering Festival

    This festival is celebrated all across Myanmar and it is a religious festival. As Lord Buddha was enlightened under a Bo-Di tree on the full moon day of Kason, Myanmar people highly regard Bo-Di trees and water those trees in on the full moon day of Kason.

  • Shitethaung Pagoda festival (Mrauk U)

    Mrauk-Oo city in Rakhine State is one of the most ancient sites in Myanmar that is a home to thousands of pagodas, Buddha images and the marvelous architecture of Rakhine people can be seen there. This “Shit Thaung” pagoda festival is held for 8 days and is held at the pagoda’s precincts in Mrauk-Oo, Rakhine State, around the full moon day of Kasone (May). The main pagoda was built in five tiers, surrounded by a variety of stone pagodas. This pagoda festival is similar to other pagoda festivals, but it also includes exciting traditional wrestling. Boat races and water splashing in the Mrauk Oo canal are also celebrated on the full moon day.

  • Pariyatti Sasana Examination

    The religious (Buddhist) examinations are usually held during the month of Na Yone (June). Since the time of the Myanmar Kings, the religious examinations for the novices and monks were held in the court yard annually including written test and viva voice. Nowadays the religious examinations were held for and wide all over the country.

  • Chin Lone Festival (Mandalay)

    Chin Lone is a Myanmar traditional game since at the time of Myanmar Kings. A team of six players stand in a small circle to score the goals with a soft ball using only their knees, shoulders, legs and feet. Chin Lone is a game played by hundreds of players throughout Myanmar. During the Chin Lone festival, hundreds of teams of players travel to Maharmyatmuni pagoda to compete in the festivals and to show off their skills of backflips, spinning kicks and handstands.

  • Full Moon Day of Waso (Countrywide)

    Full Moon Day of Wason was the day when Lord Buddha preached his first sermon “Dhamma Sa Kyar”. It is a purely religious festival taking place in pagodas and monasteries all over Myanmar. It is also the beginning of 3 months long Buddhist lent period.

  • Taung Byone Festival-Nat Pwe (Mandalay Division)

    Taung Pyone Nat festival is one of the highlighted festivals in Myanmar. This annual festival is known as Taung Byone festival. it is usually held during the month of August.
    The Nats are believed to be super natural powerful beings. stated between the gods and the spiritual beings.
    The Myanmars still worship them vigorously. and believe that the Nats can bring luck and prosperity to the worshippers and can also bring danger to those who do not respect them. The word “Nat” is unclear. It may be derive from the Hindu Natha which means lord. savior or protector.

    This festival includes the following matters.
    1 Preparation for the Ritual
    2 The Offerings
    3 The Orchestra
    4 The Possession

    The Nat Pwe is usually held for three days. The first day is for the Summoning the Nats. The second day is the Nats’ feast. The third is the day for the Nats’ departure. Devotees from all over Myanmar. comes 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.

    So. if you can have a visit to Myanmar. to learn about new cultures and to have extraordinary experience. we recommend that you should visit this special festival of Mount Popa.

  • There are other significant pagoda festivals in Bagan

    In August; which are Lawkanandar Pagoda festival , Myazedi Pagoda festival and Bagan boat racing festival.

  • Yadana Gu festival in Amarapura Mandalay

    Yadana Gu festival in Amarapura Mandalay is also a popular festival and celebrated by thousands of people from all over Myanmar. Travellers and pilgrims gather in Mandalay. The festival is held in honor of welcoming the guarding spirit of Popa mountain “Mewanna” who is the mother of the most famous spiritual beings ‘Ko Daw Gyi’ and ‘Ko Daw Lay’ in Mount Popa. It is believed that ‘Mewanna’ stopped at Yadana Gu as a transit on her way back from Mount Popa and the festival is celebrated in honor to welcome her.

  • Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival – Inle Lake – Shan state

    Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival – Inle Lake – Shan state : late September to Mid-October
    The Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival is one of the most popular Buddhist festivals in Myanmar. The festival is celebrated for about 20 days. It is held in Inle, Lake in Shan State. Five revered Buddha images are kept at Phaung Daw Oo pagoda throughout the year and during the festival, Four out of the five revered Buddha images are paraded around the lake in a well-decorated, gilded barge pulled by traditional long boats rowed by hundreds of rowers. The festival is usually crowded with pilgrims all over the country and foreigners enjoying the festival. There is a mysterious belief tht only four images can be paraded and the fifth Buddha image must be left at the monastery as to guard. Rowing competitions are held in the lake during the Phaung Da Oo pagoda festival that creates spectacular sights to every visitors. Hundreds of traditional boats with thousands of leg rowers in Inle Lake just make everyone go speechless at the sight. Pilgrims from all over the country come to this festival to pay homage to the four Buddha images and gain merit.

    Inle Lake resembles to the Venice of South East Asia due to its stunning sight of leg rowers in the blue lake surrounded by greenish mountains all around the lake. We believe this lake will just make you go speechless!

  • Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival (Mandalay Division)

    This festival is celebrated on the full moon day of Thadingyut (October) and a yearly cultural highlight of Kyaukse, 26 miles south of Mandalay. The life-size elephants are made of bamboo frames and paper and the two elephants are marvelously decorated. Two men get inside of the hollow elephant and dance, followed by some traditional musical troupes. The whole inhabitants compete, not only participants with the best elephant’s costume but also participants with the best dance performance will receive a prize from the local committee of the festival. The musical instrument for the performance is Dobat and Drums. Because rhythm of this instrument is very quick and people inside the figure hardly see anything outside, it is quite difficult for dancers to perform well. They are more likely to use feeling and instinct while moving rather than sighting. A good balance and physical endurance are needed in order to keep the dummy stands sturdily. This elephant’s dance performance in Kyaukse is quite similar with the Lion Dance from Chinese, the difference lies on the figure utilized in both festivals. While the Chinese Lion Dance wears Lion costume, the Kyaukse Elephant’s Dance use the elephant’s dummy as a costume for the dance. During the festival, the visitors will also have an opportunity to witness the Myanmar Art of Paper Mache Toy.

    After a whole day of dancing, the announcement of the Elephant’s Dance Competition winner will be held at night. The indulgence and passion of the festival makes most people both inside and outside Myanmar attracted to attend it.

  • Shwezigone Pagoda Festival

    Shwezigone pagoda festival is held in Tasaungmone, the eight month in Myanmar calendar during winter (October~November). The bell shaped stupa Shwezigone pagoda can be regarded as Major attraction in Bagan since it is the prototype of later Myanmar stupas.
    It was first built in AD 1075 by King Anawrahta and completed in AD 1090 by his son, King Kyansittha. The holy tooth relic and the collarbone of Buddha that were brought from China and Sri Lanka respectively are enshrined in the pagoda. The festival held annually and lasts for 23 days. Like other pagoda festivals, there are food stalls, shops selling local products, magic shows, puppet shows, theatrical shows, Zat pwe and Anyeints.

  • Kyaikhtiyo Festival (Mon State)

    Kyaikhtioya pagoda is one of the most prestigious pagodas in Myanmar and is also a major tourist destionation. This pagoda is located in Kyaikhto, Mawlamyin State which is 160km from Yangon. The pagoda is known as “Golden Rock” pagoda as it was fully covered in gold leaves and rests on a huge rock. From the base camp at Kyaikhto, travellers can go up the mountain by trucks or on foot and it is 11km from its base camp. Some people hire small beds carried by four people so that they can relax and enjoy the scenerios on the way.
 This pagoda is situated on a rocky mountain 3615 feet above sea level. The pagoda is said to have been built during the time of Lord Buddha over 2400 years ago.

    The Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival is a festival of lights On the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut, local people and villagers offer the lighting of 9000 candles and 9000 flowers to the Buddha. On the next morning, rice, sweets and other snacks are offered. The platform and the whole campus of the pagoda are packed with visitors from all over the country. As full moon day of Thadingyut usually falls in October, the weather is cool and pleasant up on the mountain.

    People who love hiking also choose to go to Kyaikhtiyo as the mountains are perfect spots for hiking. Local villagers who work as carriers can be hired to carry luggage.

  • Tazaungdaing festival (Country wide)

    On the full moon day of Tasaungmone, Tasaungdine ligting festival is celebrated throughout the country. This festival is quite similar with Thadingyut as many houses and streets hung up lanterns. In the downtown areas, night markets, entertainment programs and fun activities are taken place. Even though Thandingyut festival is held one week , Tasaungdine festival takes place for only two or three days. The loveliest tradition in this festival is people pluck buds from “Mezali” trees to make salads and eat on that night as it has long been believed that eating “Mezali” salads on the full moon day will prevent one from getting diseases. Therefore, people make “Mezali” salads and share it with families, friends and neighbors.

  • Matho Thingan Festival (Yellow Robe Weaving) (Countrywide) : November

    Mathoe robes weaving ceremonies are held at various prominent pagodas in big cities like Yangon and Mandalay. Mathoe robes weaving contests on the Massive Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon are the most significant in Myanmar.
    Mathoe robe means the weaving of the robe must be completed within same night and must be offered to the Buddha before dawn. Preparation for Mathoe Robes weaving contests is taken place on the platform of the Shwedagon Pagoda in the evening of the eve of the full moon day of Tazaungmone. Nine teams of 60 Religious Associations of the Shwedagon Pagoda take part in the contests. The weavers are from various parts of the country. The weaving women are kept ready for weaving prior to the contest. The Mathoe Robes weaving contests open at 5pm. A contesting team has six members including the team leader. Weavers are selected based on stamina, energy and thoroughness and the other members stand by for assistance. Visitors can witness the communal work in this contest and contestants make great endeavor in weaving the robes.

    After the contest, gluing, sewing, pattering with golden papers and gluing golden lilies respectively are prepared in Mathoe robes. At the dawn of full moon day of Tazaungmone, prize-winning team lead a procession of offering the Mathoe Robes to four Buddha Images at four archways of the Shwedagon Pagoda and other prominent pagodas.

    An offering of Kathein thingan (ceremony for offering of yellow robes) to the monks is usually a big affair in large cities of Myanmar. Offering ceremonies consist of a thousand and one gifts pooled by the whole town beside the prime gift of Yellow robes. The Kathein festivals account for the greatest significance in Tazaungmone.

  • Hot Air Balloon Festival (Taunggyi – Shan State)

    November is the best time to travel as there is no more rain and the environs are still green, not muddy and not yet dusty everywhere in the region. At that time of the year, the Hot Air Balloon Festival is usually celebrated on a grandiose scale. The festival has now become a proud tradition of the Shan people and is a major tourist attraction.
    In Taunggyi, the capital of the Southern Shan State, the festival is celebrated annually for 6 days. On the occasion, people enjoy themselves by holding firework and hot air balloon launching competitions. Day balloons are usually in the form of Pagodas and animals while the night balloons are usually in the shape of huge elongated paper balls with small-lighted multicolored paper lanterns hung around their sides. Each balloon is hand-made using bamboo frames and locally produced paper, made from the mulberry plant.
    Night balloons are larger and more elaborate, equipped with firecrackers and fireworks. The pyrotechnic display starts at a pre-determined height. All the fireworks are traditionally made, using gunpowder, charcoal and a little bit of magnesium.

    The festival comes alive and the whole sky is lit up with huge hot-air balloons decorated with hundreds of small lighted multi-colored paper lanterns hung around their sides. The fireworks are strung along the huge balloons setting off mid-air creating magnificent view. The ceremony is accompanied by musicians who play and dance to lively traditional Shan music and the partying goes on in the festival tents until dawn.

    On this great occasion, over 350 balloons are released throughout the festival every year. It is a great opportunity to observe this marvelous festival held once a year in Myanmar.
    (The exact dates of festival vary from year to year according to the Myanmar lunar calendar).

As there are countless number of pagodas in Myanmar, celebrating pagoda festivals in all across the country is also a part of Myanmar culture. Moreover, pagoda festivals have been treasured at the hearts of Myanmar people as they are both religious and cultural festivals. There are entertainment programs at night during the festivals such as Myanmar traditional dance, singing contests, and night markets selling local snacks, toys and souvenirs.

  • Below are the names of the significant pagoda festivals.

    Shwezigone pagoda festival is held in Bagan from falls between late October to mid November.

    Thanboddhay pagoda festival in Monywa is held from the beginning to the mid November.

    Phowintaung festival in Monywa is held for five days probably in the second week of November according to the Myanmar calendar.

    Kaungmudaw pagoda is the most famous attraction in Sagaing region and its festival is held in the second week of November for several days.

  • Aloedawpyi pagoda festival in Bagan

    Aloedawpyi pagoda festival in Bagan is held from the beginning to the mid December.
    Shwemyitman pagoda is especially well-known for its glasses. People believe that any problems with eye sights can be cured if they go and wish at that pagoda. The festival is held in Shwetaung in the first week of December.

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