Myanmar is recognized as one of the countries in the world where there are many festivals and events throughout the year. Each festival has its own meaning, tradition and characteristics. The cerebration respecting the deep spiritual meaning is the fundamental aspect which commonly reflected on each festival. Each festival also said to be implying the natural and real view of people in Myanmar including customs and culture. Followings are the monthly listed festivals and events.
This colorful festival of Kachin tribe is celebrated during the end of December to the beginning of January. This festival has meaning of offering sacrificial to home god of Kachin with feasts, Kaung Yay (traditional intoxicating drink) and group dance. The people wear their traditional ethnic costume and dance all night on the sacrificial ground. There are other food stands and entertainment offered at the festival.
The Naga hill tribe wearing their traditional costumes participates in Naga New Year Festival. This festival is perceived as one of the emotional festival as the Naga hill tribe worship to their Lords by scarifying the animals. The spiritual dance, traditional martial music and strong belief of animism are part of this festival. This festival is dated January 14th in Naga Land.
It is interesting to see that the many local visitors wearing Thanakha (unique tradition of wearing yellowish paste in the face and skin). This unique tradition in Myanmar, Thanakha, has a purpose of keeping one to stay cool preventing from the heat exhaustion.
In this festival, there are many shops and stands selling traditional toys, baskets and madts made of dried toddy palm leaves.
This pagoda is usually surrounded by water; however in the summer a footpath leading to the pagoda surfaces for pilgrims to walk to the pagoda. The ceremony is sponsored by Kachin Buddhists lasting about one week during the end of February to the first couple weeks of March.
Ko Gyi Kyaw is one of 37 nat (spiritual figure) who is famous as a drunkard. There is a strong belief among people in that by worshipping Ko Gyi Kyaw will bring prosperity, luck and happiness.
Cleansing the nat figures is an important part of the festival. This festival is usually held during first couple week of March lasting for about six days.
This traditional Taung-yo Pagoda Festival with different ethnic minority groups together is held on the first couple weeks of March.
The county of Myanmar is referred to as a land of festivals surrounded with beautiful Pagodas. Among the variety of festivals, Thingyan, the Water Festival is one of the famous festivals in Myanmar. The actual Myanmar’s New Year Festival is Thingyan; and it is usually falls on April 13th for three and four days. Pouring and throwing water are the custom in this festival implying to get rid of impunity. This festival brings lots of laughers, happiness to people. At the same time this festival, Thingyan is also a time to practice good will. During the festival, everyone is content and happy getting wet by water. Thingyan is not only a time of fun but also a time to practice good will.
In the late evening on the eve of the Water Festival, young women grind thanakha bark to a fine cream using water on rounded slabs stone. They are accompanied by music played by young men. The festival falls on April 13th every year.
Stupa of sand built on the compound of Shwesandaw on the receding day of Thingyan which is sponsored by descendants of Shans. Buffalo dance is also presented. The festival falls on April 17th every year
Buddha’s birthday is commemorated by pouring water onto the sacred Bo tree. The festival usually falls on the full moon day of May.
This special recitation is held by Sittwe women and worshiper gathering at the cliff of mountain where it is believed to be the place for the Guardian Spirit dwells upon. This recitation is usually held in the couple weeks of early July.
This is Taungbyon Spirit Festival held in village of Taungbyon 8 days before the last full moon every August. This special festival symbolizes a respect towards the Taungbyon Brother Lords. There are thousands of people attend this special festival. The historical wooded figures representing the 2 brother lords are washed and paraded by the worshiper during the ceremony. There are ceremonial spiritual dances, pwes , ritual and many other are presented.
There are 2 Shrines in Yadanagu; and the annual festivals are held at these 2 shrines at the same time. The festivals take place during the first or second week in September.
This is a one of the biggest festivals of Thadigyut celebrating the Buddha’s return from the celestial abode on the full moon day. The 3 days festivals are celebrated with candle illuminations. This seventh month of the Myanmar calendar marks the end of lent. This festival is also meant to remember the people whom we need to pay respect and appreciate. According to the Buddha’s teaching there are 5 revered icons in life, the Buddha, his law, Monks, Parents (elderly) and Teachers. This festival is held during the second or third week of October and last of 3 days.
One of the biggest festivals of the lake is Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival in Inle Lake. The holy and spiritual images of Buddha from Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda are firmly placed on the Karaweik (decorated royal barge). The Karaweik are towed around the lake to let people pay homage.
Because of its magnificent size of the festivities it is said to be the festival of many ethnicity among the people of Myanmar. There are ethnic group as Danu, Inntha, Pa O, Shan,Palaung, Kachin, Taung Yoe and many others visiting this famous festival. One of the popular and traditional events in the festival is the boat races participated by the Shan men and women in traditional costume. The festival usually falls around the first and second week of October lasting for 18 days.
This special place with the boulder perfectly balanced and standing on the edge of the highest mountain peak is said to be one of the sacred place on the earth. The festival usually falls during the second or third week of October which is the full moon day of Thadingyut.
The one of the famous festivals in Myanmar is known as Tazaungdaing festival (Hot air balloons festival). During this festival the Buddhists in Myanmar celebrate and pay respect especially to the monks. The various patterns of lanterns and lights are illuminated at the houses and pagodas. Mee Bone Byan (huge balloon made of way paper, marajin cloth and plastic sheets) is set free to the sky.
This beautiful festival is held between the first three weeks of November for 5 days.
This festival is held at the Pagoda of Po Win Taung Cave in Monywa in the month of December. Every year more than 500 worshipers and devotees arrive to this Cave carrying clay pots on bullock carts. Then they drop the clay pots on the day of ceremony to pay homepage to the spirit of the cave. This ceremony lasts for 6 days.