Myanmar Festivals

January 

Manao Festival (Myitkyina & Bahmo)

The Duwas celebrate a festival best known as Manua to propitiate or exercise numerous Nats (spirits) through dancing.  The spectacular carnival is held every January.

Naga New Year - La He (Hkamti)

jan-01Although 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.

Anandar Pagoda Festival (Bagan)

jan-02A unique and very important Buddhist festival. Hundred of oxen cart are traveled days 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.

 


February 

Mahamuni Pagoda Festival (Mandalay)

feb-01Incense are burnt in large flame in symbolic of offering heat to the great image.

Bon Fire Ceremony (Pyay)

Plants which emit no smoke when lit are burnt at four cardinal points on the platform of the pagoda in the early morning.  Worshippers then proceed to Pho U mountaintop where the Lord Buddha is said to have visited and made preordination of events. 

Full Moon Festival (All over the country)

Traditionally, it is held on the full moon day of this month as the harvest festival when people rejoice in the combined communities preparation and distribution of glutinous rice delicacy or feast of Htamane. One should not miss this opportunity to sample the delicious Myanmar delicacy consisting of glutinous rice freckle of coconut, sesames seeds, peanuts, ginger, and oil, which is specially prepared for the feast. Among the major Buddhist festival are Mahamuni Pagoda ceremony in Mandalay and Kyaikkhauk festival in Yangon.

 


March

March is the most colorful month of the year with Pagoda Festivals in full swing everywhere. The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival is held on the day of the full moon of Tabaung and is the month's finest event. During this festival, visitors can get to know the true religious feelings of the people of Myanmar by participating in events at pagoda fairs or by observing the rituals of the holiday.

Shwemyitsu Pagoda Festival (Inn dawgyi)

Ceremony sponsored by Kachin Buddhist. The summer, a footpath leading to the pagoda surfaces enabling pilgrims to walk to the pagoda. Usually the pagoda is surrounded by a large volume of water.

Pindaya Cave Festival (Pindaya, Shan State)

mar-01Typical Taung Yoe pagoda festival. Different ethnic minorities can be seen. 

Shwedagone Pagoda Festival (Yangon)

The sight of numerous monks who come in boats to receive food offerings is striking view.

 

Kekku Pagoda Festival (Taunggyi)

mar-03Traditional Pa O Theatrical performances and singing contests are included. 

Taung Gwe Zedi Festival (Loi Kaw)

Thousand Buddhist monks are offered food on the full moon day. Long necked green, red dressed Kayan and black dressed Kayah among other minorities are seen. 

Bawgyo Image Festival (Tibaw, Shan State)

mar-05A large volume of Shan and Burma merchandise is traded. There are boat races on Dottawadi river.

 

Nam Pan Ceremony (Inle Lake, Shan State)

mar-06The sight of numerous monks who come in boats to receive food offerings is striking view.

 

Full Moon Day of Tabaung (All over the country)

This is the last month of Myanmar lunar calendar. The most colorful month of the year with Pagoda Festivals in full swing everywhere. The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival is held on the day of the full moon of Tabaung and is the month's finest event. During this festival, visitors can get to know the true religious feelings of the people of Myanmar by participating in events at pagoda fairs or by observing the rituals of the holiday.

Shwesayan Pagoda Festival ( Mandalay)

mar-07Merchandise from northern Shan State and other part of the country are exchanged at Pagoda bazaar. 

Shwemawdaw Pagoda Festival (Bago)

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

 

 


April

Bo Min Khaung Memorial (Mt.Popa)

Bo Min Khaung is remembered for his higher attainment in mediation practices.

Fullmoon Day of Tagu (All over the country)

This is the first month of Myanmar lunar calendar. The most colorful month of the year with Pagoda Festivals in full swing everywhere.

Thingyan Festival (all over the country)

apri-01Celebrated to welcome Myanmar New Year for four days 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.

New Year Day (All over the country)

Buddhists young and old alike spend the day performing meritorious deeds such as feeding and releasing animals, offering to monks, paying homage to elders etc.

 


May

Shithoung Pagoda Festival (Mrauk U)

may-01Dummy boat race on land, real boat race and water splashing in Mrauk U canal on full moon day.

Traditional wrestling competitions are held at the foot of the pagoda.

Kason Festival (all over the country)

Pouring water the Sacred Bo Tree symbolizes the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing away of Buddha. It is an important Buddhist holiday and belles go in procession to the pagoda grounds throughout the country with pots of water and thousands of oil-lamps or candles to be lit.

Taung Yoe Festival Pindaya Cave, Shan State

Taung Yoe tribe make Torchlight procession in the early part of the night to pay homage to the numerous statues in the cave.

Pa-Oh Rocket Festival  Taunggyi

Locally made rockets stuffed with powerful gunpowder are ceremoniously carried and launched in competition. Observed mostly by ethnic Pa-Oh to predict the weather and crop. Young men and women use small mirrors to tease one another.

Wat Zom Kum Rice Offering Ceremony (Kyaing Tong )

Danu Ceremony Pindaya: Single Danu youth throw roasted lablab beans at one another in a show of love.


June

The onset of monsoon season makes June relatively quiet in Myanmar. There are, however, various smaller Buddhist festivals can be witnessed.

Buddhist Recitation ( Kaba Aye hillock, Yangon )

jun-01Recitation of five parts of Nikaya held at Kaba Aye hillock. Both monks and nuns alike hold similar recitation, throughout the country.

Mt. Popa Nat Spirit Festival ( Mt. Popa )

For the energetic, it is time to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the hill. Proceed to Salay (52 km, approx 1 ½ hour) along the Ayeyarwady riverbank.

 


July

The onset of monsoon season makes June relatively quiet in Myanmar. There are, however, various smaller Buddhist festivals can be witnessed.

Wicker ball ceremony (Mahamuni, Mandalay)

Traditional wicker ball players from all over the country participate in the month long contest that tradition has going on over 70 years. This is the best event to watch Myanmar traditional chin jul-01lone <cane ball> playing match.

Waso Full Moon Festival (all over the country )

The day Buddha preached his first sermon is commemorated. Monks are confined to the monastery by Buddhist code of conduct during the 3-month long Buddhist lent.

Shwe Kyun Pin Nat Pwe (Mingun, Mandalay)

The day Buddha preached his first sermon is commemorated. Monks are confined to the monastery by Buddhist code of conduct during the 3-month long Buddhist lent.

 


August

Taung Byone Nat Pwe (Madayar, Mandalay)

august-01A popular festival held in Taungpyone near Mandalay. According to tradition, the homage-paying festival is held annually to appease the spirits as it is believed that the Nats can fulfill their wishes, protect from ill-fate and danger, and bring good luck, prosperity and progress. Although Myanmar Buddhists are not particularly spirit worshippers, thousands of country folks and town people, their joyous, light-hearted and merrymaking can be found in this particular festival.

Kyaungdawyar Pagoda Festival ( Min Bu, Magway)

A famous religious festival also known as "Fish Feeding Festival". People believed that thousands of big fishes, you can see only in this period, come to pay homage to the pagoda.

Yadana Gu Nat festival (Amapura, Mandalay)

Known as mother of Taungbyone festival. Most enjoyable because of the rowing boat trip to the site. The festival is held annually in honor of Popa. Medaw, Mewanna <mother of the two Lords> who came back from Taunbyon Festival, on her way back to Mt. Popa, she halted at the Yadanagu as her transit-camp.


September

Bo Bo Gyi Nat Festival (Taungthaman Inn, Mandalay)

Bo Bo Gyi is believed to have high level alchemical and to have expired to become a Nat. On the eve of ceremony pilgrims throw tealeaf packets at one another from racing exacts. It is regarded as a pledge that one who is hit must take a visit next year with out fail.

Yadana Gu Nat festival (Amapura, Mandalay)

Known as mother of Taungbyone festival. Most enjoyable because of the rowing boat trip to the site. The festival is held annually in honor of Popa. Medaw, Mewanna <mother of the two Lords> who came back from Taunbyon Festival, on her way back to Mt. Popa, she halted at the Yadanagu as her transit-camp.

Manuha Pagoda Festival

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.


October

Bo Bo Gyi Nat Festival (Taungthaman Inn, Mandalay)

Bo Bo Gyi is believed to have high level alchemical and to have expired to become a Nat. On the eve of ceremony pilgrims throw tealeaf packets at one another from racing exacts. It is regarded as a pledge that one who is hit must take a visit next year with out fail.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake)

Myanmar : Inle Festival

oct-01The 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 <men> and Inthu's <women> unique leg-rowing competitions.

Mya Tha Lun Pagoda Festival (Magwe)

Buddhist chanting, early morning offering to 1700 monks, and the lighting of 9000 candles are major activities. The scenic beauty of the pagoda, situated on the riverbank, is dramatic.

Thadingyut Light Festival (throughout Myanmar)

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.  Myanmar :

Dummy Elephant FestivalDummy Elephant Festival (Kyauk Se, Mandalay)

oct-02This 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.

Kyauktawgyi Pagoda Festival ( Mandalay)

The image was cast out of a single piece of alabaster in1864 under the guidance of king Mindon.

Festival of Light and Fire Ball (Kyaing tong )

 

Indein Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake)

November Buddhist ceremony held at unique site of old sharine complex in Inle Lake.


November

Poewintaung Ceremony (Monywar)

nov-01The one and only market where leaves, fruits, roots, thorns, tubera, stems of any herbal value from the western wilderness of Chindwin river are sold on a large scale.

Shwezigon Festival (Bagan)

Candlelight's and fireworks are carried in procession before offering to the pagoda.

Balloons Flying Festival (Taunggyi)

nov-02Lu 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.

Tazaungdaing Light Festival (throughout Myanmar)

Tazaungdaing Festival, means the offering new robes to monks which celebrated on the eve of full moon day in Oct/Nov every year. Before dawn a competition on weaving the fresh robe is held at every Pagoda and several team participate in the merrymaking competitions which the fresh robe then offered to the Buddha Image early in the fullmoon day morning. A month earlier, every household buys some soap, washcloths and robes for the monks. Brand New note of money is folded in the shape of peacocks, pigeons or the lotus flower. The gifts are decoratively hung on “pendals” made of wood or bamboo. On this day people carry the pendals on their shoulders (or on cars nowadays). They proceed through town and gather in the city monastery. Homes and offices are colorfully lit and fireworks and hot air balloons at night. On the morning of the full moon “soons” (meal) and offering are offered to the monks.

Robe Weaving Contest (throughout Myanmar)

On this particular full moon eve groups of young women take part of competition held on the platforms of the pagodas. The robe is to be finished flawlessly overnight and offered at dawn to the Buddha images around the pagodas.

Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival (Golden Rock)

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 <ceremony of offering robes to monks>. 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.

Kakku Pagoda Kakku Pagoda Festival (Taungyi)

nov-03Celebrate by Pa O tribal Buddhist at the unique pagodas complex. 

Kaung Mudaw Festival Sagaing

The best spot to watch Myanmar puppet. Pilgrimage and holiday outings on country oxcarts can be seen. 

Ann Tribe Ann Tribe Fertility Festival (Kyaing tong)

nov-05

 

Mt. Popa Nat Sprit Festival (Mt. Popa )

Mt. Popa being considered most important Nat worshipping center, thousands of country folks and town people in their joyous, light-hearted and merrymaking in this particular festival. Thousands of animals were sacrificed to the Nats during the festival however this practice has been stopped since Bagan period. Spirit possession and overall drunken ecstasy are part of the celebration.

Thanbottay Pagoda Festival (Monywar)

Shan New Year Celebration (Kyaing tong)

Many different Shan tribes are celebrate with offering to the Buddha and traditional dance and feast.

Taungto Pagoda festival (Inle lake)

nov-07A Buddhist festival celebrates an old Buddha statute site.

 


December

New Rice Harvest Festival (Kyaing Tong)

On this particular period Ann hill tribe celebrate fertility festival. Very interesting with traditional group dancing and drinking etc.

Kachin New Year Celebration ( Kyaing Tong )

Akha New Year Celebration (Kyaing Tong)