Festivals in Myanmar

Jaunary - February
** Anadar Temple Festival in Bagan
** AKachin New Year Festival (Manaw) (Kachin State)
** Naga nationalities New Year Festival


Anandar Pagoda Festival (Bagan)(January)

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A unique and very important Buddhist festival. Hundred of oxen cart are traveled Day to get to the venue from various village of the dry plane of Myanmar. Bowls of alms filled with crops are offered to Buddhist monks who all wait in a long line. This festival gives you a great exposure of the Pilgrimage traveling style and holiday outings on country oxcarts.



Kachin New Year Festival (Manaw) (Kachin State)(January)

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One of Myanmar (135) races who are Kachin and native of Kachin race in Northern Myanmar is a magical kingdom. The richness of plant and animal life, the topography, the tapestry of ethnic diversity are a wonder for all. Although Myanmar is treated as tropical country the tropic of cancer passes through the country at a point just northern Myanmar which is temperate zone. It is a place where flora and fauna both of the tropical and temperate zones can be found. Myanmar is the only country in the SE - Asia region that can boasted every variety of geographical zones. Ice clad mountains, semi desert regions, thick and dense tropical rain forest that come down to meet the white beaches fronting the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Myitkyina, the administrative town for northern Myanmar also the source of the AyeyarwaddyRiver.Tanpre, 27 miles north of Myitkyina is where the Na Maikha and the Maikha rivers meet to form the mighty Ayeyarwaddy.
The Kachinrace are celebrating the MajoiManaw, a reunion of all Kachin and its subordinate tribes. The traditional Manaw poles, decorated in Kachin motifs are in the centre of the Manaw ground. Sounds of brass gongs are heard and line of the dancers approaches the Manaw poles. Leading the procession are the Shamans or Duaws the comminity leaders who proud of their ancestral traditions. The Shamans are radiant in their flowing robes and elaborated head dress. Peacock's feather and wild boar's stuck on a rattan hats. Behind them come other people weaving and bobbing in tune with the music. Every single one is in their finest native costume especially with the womenfolk with silver flashing from their blouses. There are many kinds of Manaws, to celebrate the New Year, victory in battle etc. Usual for all mountain people the dance is communal to show of gratitude to their ancestral spirits and their wish for a bright future.


Naga New Year Festival (January)

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Although most people have heard about Naga tribes there is some who have seen them and only a few who have been to their area. Nagas celebrate their new year 15 of January each year. In this particular day you will se the most unique Nagas gathering from the entire region with festive mode. You will be busy shaking hands with Naga warriors wearing hats made from bear fur, wild boar tusks, hornbill feathers, and tiger claws. Some also have tiger fangs hanging from their necklaces.



February - March
** Shwesettaw Pagoda Festival on the banks of Mann Chan, Magway Division
** Kyaik Khaut Pagoda Festival, Thanlyin
** Mahamuni Pagoda Festival


Mahamuni Pagoda Festival (Mandalay)(February)

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Incense are burnt in large flame in symbolic of offering heat to the great image.




March - April
** Kekku Pagoda Festival at the very beautiful pagoda complex deep in the Shan hills
** Ma Tin Zun Pagoda Festival in Pathein
** Shwedagon Pagoda Festival

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (March)

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Shwe Dagon Pagoda is the most famous pagoda in Myanmar and previously this pagoda festival was one of the most visited festival for pilgrims all over the country. The legend is that Shwe Dagon Pagoda enshrines in it's relic chamber 4 articles of holy relics belonging to the four Buddhas that have gained enlightenment in this era. But now the festival has transformed into a purely religious nature. There would be a competition to weave holy robes for the Buddha Images at four corners of the pagoda before dawn using traditional looms. Monks would recite the holy scriptures 24 hours continuously throughout the duration. The festival is supposed to be in it's 2546 years. The festival of the Shwedagon Pagoda is celebrated on the fullmoon day of Tabaung (March) every year. Many people in the country contributes funds for the repairing and a great number of people pay homage every day. The greatest festival is that of Tabaung festival. Visitors from all over the country enjoy the festival at such a time. They come to donate offertories.


Pindaya Shwe Oo Min Pagoda Festival (Southern Shan State)

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Well known for its extensive limestone caves over millions of years ago.Shwe Oo Min Cave Pagoda festival is as well celebrated on full moon day of Tabaung, starts a week before full moon day. Thousands of devotees from villages around the area come to pay homage to the images of Buddha in the cave. There are some 6000 Buddha images and interesting stalagmites.



April - May
** Most famous Water Festival @ Thingyan Festival
** Shwemawdaw Pagoda Festival in Bago

Thingyan Festival (all over the country) (April)

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Celebrated to welcome Myanmar New Year for four Day throughout the country during the second week of April. It also marks the end of the old year and beginning of the new. Young people gather together to sing and dance, and to joyfully throw water on each other. During the Thingyan Carnivals decorative floats and water throwing pandals are seen everywhere in towns and cities alike. If you do not mind getting wet, this high-spirited festival is one that you should not miss.



Kason Festival (all over the country) (May)

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All the pagodas throughout the country celebrate on Full Moon Day of Kason. This ritual commemorates the date 2500 years ago when the Buddha gained enlightenment while meditation under a Bodhi tree. Pilgrims pour water on the Bodhi trees in pagoda compounds to keep them fresh in the summer heat of May.




June - July
** Robe offering ceremonies, notification ceremoines and other religious rituals take palace from April to the begining of Lent which is the Full Moon Day of Waso, in June.

Waso Festival

The Waso festival is annually held on the full moon of Waso throughout the country. The festival commemorates the time when the Buddha gave his first sermon, to five monks. Pilgrims throughout the country gather wild flowers to offer at pagodas, and offer new robes to monks. The Buddhist Lent period is from the full moon of Waso until the full moon of Thadingyut.


July - August
** Taung Pyone Nat Festival, near Mandalay
** Yadana Gu Nat Festival, near Mandalay

Taung Byone Nat Festival (August)

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86 Taung Byone : The village is about nine miles north of the Mandalay Hill. The Taung Byone Nat festival is held every year in the Myanmar month of Wa Gaung (around August - September). The Taung Byone Nat festival is held for four Day and reaches the climax on the fourth day when the faithful observe the bathing ritual of the two Nat princes, carried on palanquin followed by the train of procession to the Shwe Ta Chaung stream (the Golden stream) which runs close to the west of the village.



Manuha Pagoda Festival (September)

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86 Paper Dummy (Nat) Idols are made into competition. Singing & Dancing competition in commemoration of Taungbyone (Nats). Festival Start at 2 PM and ends around 4 PM.





September - October
** Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival in Inle Lake
** Shwezigon Pagoda Festival in Bagan
** Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda in Mandalay
** Thadingyaut Festival @ Lights Festival symbolizing the end of Lent lasting three day.


Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake) 16th Oct - 2nd Nov

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The festival is held with great magnificence and pageantry. There will be full of fun fairs and dances everywhere. 4 x holiest Buddha images are ceremoniously tugged clockwise around the lake on a decorated royal barge by leg-rowing boats stopping at each village to let people pay homage. The procession of the Inle leg-rowers in full pageantry and ceremonial splendor is a sight not to be missed by anyone visiting Myanmar. The unique and most interesting event of the festival is, of course, the Shan traditional boat races participated by leg-rowers of both men and women dressed in their national costumes. Phaungdaw O Pagoda festival draws celebrant from far and near not only for the homage of Buddha statutes abut also for great fun fair and for the fame of Intha's and Inthu's unique leg-rowing competitions.


Thadingyut Light Festival

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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.



Dummy Elephant Festival (Kyauk Se, Mandalay)

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This unique and exotic elephant dance held at Kyaukse, a small town not far from Mandalay. A huge but light elephant figure is made with bamboo and paper. Men take their places inside the figure and dance around the town to the accompaniment of Dobat and Drums. The elephant dancers circle three times at the foot of the hill to pay homage to the Shwethalyaung Pagoda. It is a dance that requires precise rhythm and timing in order for the elephant dancers to maintain uniformity inside the elephant figure. Numerous life-size paper dummy elephants sing and dance to the accompaniment of music.


November - December
** Robe weaving contest, all over the country, and a major event at the Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon. The night before the Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone, teams of weavers compete to finish a robe during the night, to be offered to hte images at down of the next day. ** Popa Nat festival in Popa, near Bagan.
** 31st December night is celebrated at the Golden Rock @ Kyaik-htiyo Pagoda with devetoees lighting thousands of jcandles at the shrine.

Tazaungmone Hot Air Balloon Festival (Taunggyi, Shan State)

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Lu Ping festival commonly known as hot balloon festival celebrates by Pa O, one of the many ethnic groups in the region. The word Lu Ping generally means eliminating all evil by giving alms and offertories to Buddhist monks. On the occasion people also enjoy fun and merriment by holding firework launching competitions. The firework is in the form of rockets. There is also hot balloons competitions on the day and night occasions. Day balloons are usually in the form of Pagodas, and animals such as elephant, dragon or ducks while the night balloons usually in the shape of rugby ball, huge elongated paper balls with small lighted multicolored paper lanterns hung around their sides and balloons would sting along fireworks and fire sticks which are set off mid-air fireworks.

Popa Guardian Spirits Festival (Mount Popa)

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This Spirits festival begins full moon day of Nadaw. During six Day festival, the two spirit figures on either side of the Tharaba Gate at Bagan are the brother and sister spirits lord of the Mountain and the Lady Golden Face who protect home or country. A festival takes place at Mount Popa, near Bagan in their honour.




Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival (Golden Rock )

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The boulder, standing on the edge of a peak in the highest mountain range, is said to be freely hanging over the cliff. The place is famous as a pilgrimage and holiday outing spot. On this particular full moon day number total 9999 candles are ceremoniously lit at mid night.
Another festival of light held on the full moon day throughout the country. Home and streets are illuminated and Buddhists are provided robe and various requisites at Kathein . On this particular full moon day number total 9999 candles are ceremoniously lit at mid night. Visitors are served with mixed salad of maezali buds, believed to possess powerful, magical and medicinal properties if eaten at this time.


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