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Country Overview

The land was also known as Suvannabhumi, Golden Land- in ancient times, and today, with its rich natural resources and diversity of attractions, it still deserves to be called the Golden Land. With a land area of 676, 577 sq.km. Myanmar is the largest country in the Southeast Asia region, bounded by mountain complex in the north, east and west, and enclosed by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal in the south, southwest, and west. Myanmar shares borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. Situated between latitudes 9. 30’ N and 28. 30’ N and between longitudes 92. 10’ E and 101. 10’ E, the country stretches 2090 km north to south, and 925 km east to west and has a varied topography which includes islands and lakes, extensive rice plains and river valleys, forested hills and mountains. It has a 2,832 km long coastline on the Indian Ocean. Myanmar's highest mountains, situated in the far north, include the Hkakabo Razi, the tallest peak both locally and in the region, which rises 5,881 km above sea level. The two other mountain systems: a group of low mountains called the Rakhine Yoma stands in the west, forming a border with the Indian Subcontinent, and the hilly Shan Plateau separates Myanmar from China, Laos and Thailand. The central lowland region of Myanmar consists of the Ayeyarwaddy and Sittaung river valleys. Ayeyarwaddy is the longest river in the country running for 2,010 km from the northern region to the Bay of Bengal, and serves as the principal transportation route and as the main source of water supply for the central dry zone.

National Races of Myanmar

There are 135 national races in Myanmar by official count. The Bamar is the majority group, comprising about 65 percent of the more than 60 million population. The other main groups are the Shan, Kachin, Chin, Kaya, Kayin, Mon and Rakhine with various sub groups that often speak different languages. Each national race group has its own culture, and they preserve their traditions and customs.

 TRADITIONS

Myanmar is predominantly a Buddhist country with the Buddhists making up about 80 percent of the population, following the school of Theravada Buddhism. There are also Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists. But it respects the freedom of belief and the people practice religious tolerance on other religions which is evident in the existence of religious buildings of different beliefs in large cities. Because the people are deeply pious, there is at least one pagoda or Buddha Image and a Buddhist monastery in every town or city. Religion is so vital in a typical Myanmar Buddhist's life that the daily routine cannot be separated from Buddhist rituals. There is also a Buddhist lent on Myanmar calendar which lasts for three months in the rainy season, approximately from July to October, during which fasting is preserved; marriages and moving home are usually put off.

Myanmar lies between two great civilizations, India and China, and yet, Myanmar has developed its own culture with distinctive characteristics. For the majority of Myanmar's population, Buddhism is the center of individual life where as the monastery is the center of the community. That is why, it is little wonder Myanmar culture is synonymous with Buddhist culture. Myanmar people try to live according to the basic five precepts of Buddhism in their daily activities. The unique thing about Myanmar culture is that it is free from racial or sex discrimination from childbirth throughout the lifetime. Everyone is entitled to equal rights, opportunity and treatment whether at work or at court. For much of Myanmar's history, women played a stronger role than in traditional Western societies. From early on, they could own property and were independent in economic activities. Myanmar women enjoy the same status with their male counterparts and do not necessarily have to keep their surnames.

Highlights of the Administrative Capital

Naypyitaw

Nay Pyi Taw is the administrative capital of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Centrally located, it is 391 km from Yangon and 302 km from Mandalay, being easily accessible from all parts of the country. The environs of Nay Pyi Taw comprise (8) townships viz. Zeyar Thiri, Pohbba Thiri, Uttara Thiri, Zabu Thiri, Dekhina Thiri, Pyinmana, Lewe and Tatkone Townships. Nay Pyi Taw Airport is about 30 minutes from Nay Pyi Taw. All domestic carriers operate daily flights from Nay Pyi Taw to the commercial capital, Yangon, and the cultural capital Mandalay. There are flights via Nay Pyi Taw to tourist destinations such as Bagan, Heho, Sittwe, Myitkyina, Kyaing Tong and others.

Hluttaw (Parliament House)

Myanmar International Convention Center (MICC)

The Gems Museum

The National Land Marks Garden (Nay Pyi Taw)

Zoological Garden

Festivals

Festival Calendar

JANUARY
Ananda Pagoda Festival                                                                                                                                                                      Kachin Manaw Festival                                                                                                                                                                        Naga New Year Festival

FEBRUARY
Mann Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival
Kyaik Khauk Pagoda Festival
Maha Muni Pagoda Festival (Mandalay)
Htamane (Glutinous Rice Festival)

MARCH
Ko Gyi Kyaw Spirit Festival
Novitiation Ceremony
Shwe Nattaung Pagoda Festival
Maw Tin  Zun Pagoda Festival
Inn Daw Gyi Shwe Myitzu Pagoda Festival
Bawgyo Pagoda Festival
Zalun Pyi-Taw-Pyan Buddha Image Festival
Pindaya Shwe Oo Min Festival
Shwe Myat Mhan Pagoda Festival
Kekku Pagoda Festival
Shwe Sar Yan Pagoda Festival
Shwedagon Pagoda Festival
Alaungdaw Khathapa Pagoda Festival
Panguni Utram

APRIL
Water Festival and Myanmar New Year
Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda Festival

MAY
Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree

JUNE
Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival

JULY
Waso  Full Moon Festival
Waso Chin-Lone(Cane Ball) Festival

AUGUST
Taung Pyone Spirit Festival
Yadana Gu Spirit Festival

SEPTEMBER
Manuha Pagoda Festival
Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

OCTOBER
Festival of Lights
Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda Festival
Dancing Elephants Festival
Kaunghmudaw Pagoda Festival
Shwe Kyin Light Festival

NOVEMBER
Tazaungmone Full Moon Festival
Hot Air Balloon Festival
All Night Robe Weaving Contests
Shwezigon Pagoda Festival
Pho-Win-Taung Festival
Shwesandaw (Pyay) Pagoda Festival

DECEMBER
Mae Lamu Pagoda Festivals
Popa Guardian Spirits Festival 
Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda Festival (Nine Thousand Lamps)

Festivals

Myanmar is a Land of Festivals; in every month there is a festival. Most of the Myanmar festivals are cultural and religious in nature, reflecting the country's deep spirituality as well as important social events. Many festivals are related to pagoda festivals that people from the surrounding towns and villages come. Pagoda festivals are meant to commemorate the religious consecration rituals which are observed by the monks and make it into a holy and revered place of worship. During the pagoda festivals, there are local entertainment groups performing for the visitors, food stalls, other shops selling various products, etc. As most festivals are held during the fair weather; i.e. after the rains when the harvest has been done by the villagers and they are free from their daily fieldwork. During the festivals, they meet old friends, engage in commerce, boys meet girls and generally the people enjoy themselves. There are also other festivals by many ethnic groups inhabiting the country connected with either the new year or harvest according to their own calendars. Apart from these festivals there are also many festivals connected with the other religions and Nats or the spirits.

JANUARY

 Ananda Pagoda Festival
Date       : Full Moon of Pyatho to 15th Waning of Pyatho

Location : Bagan

Duration : 15 days

This is one of the most famous pagoda festivals in Bagan; one of the Asia’s most amazing and richest archaeoligical sites. The Great Ananda Pagoda Festival is said to have been going on continuously since the Bagan period. Long ago, people from many villages around Bagan came to the festival in bullock-carts and made camps for the whole duration of the festival. Even now some villagers still come to the festival in the traditional way. Visitors can definitely enjoy the traditional lifestyle of the locals of Bagan during this festival. 

Kachin Manaw Festival (Kachin New Year Festival)
Date       : Usually around first week of January

Location : Myitkyina, Kachin State.

Duration : 1 day

The Kachins; one of the major races of Myanmar, take great part in this festival and many Kachins from abroad come back to meet and dance at this special event. The Manaw dance is performed at Manaw Festival which originated as part of the Nat or spirit worship of the past. 

Naga New Year Festival

Date        :  Usually January 14 to 16

Location   : Either Lahe or Layshi, Sagaing Region

Duration : 3 days

Naga New Year Festival is one of the rarest ceremonies in Myanmar. There are more than 49 different clans with their own distinctive dresses and dialects. They usually gather annually to celebrate the New Year which falls on January 15. Package tours are available to visit the Naga New Year Festival of Myanmar.        

FEBRUARY

Mann Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival
Date       :  Begins on 5th Waxing of Tabodwe

Location :  Shwe Settaw, Magwe Region, Central Myanmar

Duration                :  11 days

There are two pagodas which enshrine footprints of the Buddha. The site is on the bank of  Mann Creek, where bamboo cabins are erected every year for local travellers to enjoy cool swims during the heat of summer.

Kyaik Khauk Pagoda Festival

Date       :  8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabodwe

Location :  Thanlyin, near Yangon

Duration                :  8 days

One of the famous pagoda festivals around YangonCity. Most of the activities of Pagoda Festival are evening entertainments such as Zat(Drama), Anyient, Stage Show and Movies shown in the open air, the whole night everyday. 

Maha Muni Pagoda Festival (Mandalay)
Date       :  14th Waxing and Full Moon Day of Tabodwe

Location :  Mandalay

Duration: 2 days

Maha Muni Buddha image is highly venerated, as it is said to be made in front of Buddha Himself, and thus its face is most revered. The image is completely covered with 15 cm-thick gold. February is the coldest month in Myanmar and at the Maha Muni Pagoda Festival Devotees light bonfires and cook huge pans of sticky rice with ginger, coconut and sesame to offer to monks. 

Htamane (Glutinous Rice Festival)
Date         :  Full Moon Day of Tabodwe

Location   :  Throughout the country.

Duration :  1 day

This is a competition between teams of men for donation of Glutinous Rice to the Great Lord Buddha in early morning on Full Moon Day. There are lots of people enjoy watching the demonstrations and competition of cooking glutinous rice and  after finished, Glutinous rice is  distributed as donation to people and followed by the prize giving ceremony for the winners.                                                                                                                                                        

MARCH

Ko Gyi Kyaw Spirit Festival

Date        :  3rd  Waxing to 10th Waxing of Tabaung

Location  : Pakhan, Yayzagyo Township

Duration : 8 days

It is enjoyable to see the singing and dancing of the worshippers to Ko Gyi Kyaw; a happy spirit who loves to drink and gamble. This annual festival in his honour is celebrated in his home town; Yayzagyo. 

Novitiation Ceremony

Date :      During the months of Tabodwe and Taboung  (school holidays, mostly in summer holidays in

                March and April before the water festival)
Location :  Throughout the country

Duration :  2 days

It is deemed the most important duty that parents owe to their son by letting him go forth and embrace the legacy of the Buddha, join the Sangha as novice and become immersed in the teachings of Buddha at least for a short while. Novitiation ceremony is the unique characteristics in Myanmar. The ceremony usually celebrates during the school holidays. A formal Novitiation Ceremony involves a parade around the pagodas with boys all dressed up as princes. 

KaraweikPalace

International Buffet with Cultural Show (Ko Gyi Kyaw Dance is available)
Open Daily from 6 PM to 9 PM

Shwe Nattaung Pagoda Festival
Date       :  8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabaung

Location :  Shwe Taung Township, Bago Region

Duration:  7 days

This is one of the largest pagoda festivals in this part of Myanmar and many local pilgrims arrive by bullock-carts from the surrounding villages. This pagoda is said to be built in the Pyu Period. 

Maw Tin  Zun Pagoda Festival

Date       :  8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabaung

Location :  Laputta Township, Southwest Coast of Myanmar

Duration:  8 days

This is the only seaside Pagoda Festival which attracts many people and it can be accessed from Yangon by a pleasant boat ride to Pathein, an interesting delta town famous for its parasols. 

Inn Daw Gyi Shwe Myitzu Pagoda Festival
Date        :  8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabaung

Location  : Moenyin, Kachin State (Northern Part of Myanmar)

Duration :  8 days

Shwe Myitzu pagoda is situated on the largest lake in Myanmar, this 8-day festival highlights a pilgrimage to the banks of the Pagoda. Sandbanks emerge from the lake just prior to the beginning of the pagoda festival making it an easier trek for pilgrims. Locals believe that one sandbank is used for humans and the other is for Spirits. Immediately following the festival, the sandbanks disappear and retreat back into the lake. 

Bawgyo Pagoda Festival
Date         :  10th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabaung

Location   :  Thibaw Township, Southern Shan State 

Duration :  6 days

It is a famous historic pagoda festival in ShanState of Myanmar. Not only the people from ShanState 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. 

Zalun Pyi-Taw-Pyan Buddha Image Festival

Date       :   Full Moon Day of Tabaung

Location :   Zalun, Ayeyawady Region

Duration:  10 days

The colonialists who had occupied lower Myanmar took this Buddha Image to England with the intention of using the bronze in their mint. According to legend they could neither melt it nor break it with hammers, and the Queen was said to have suffered nagging headache and nightmares. She ordered that the statue be returned to the place from where it was taken. After sending back it to Myanmar, she recovered from the suffering. In memory of its having been taken abroad and having been brought back, it became famous as the Man Aung Myin Pyitawpyan Bhuddha Image (the statue that was returned from abroad). 

Pindaya Shwe Oo Min Festival

Date       :  11th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Tabaung

Location :  Pindaya, Southern Shan State

Duration: 5 days

Shan, Pa O, Palaung, Taung Yoe, Intha, Danu groups residing around Pindaya come  and camp under the huge banyan trees to take part in the festival. The PindayaCave houses hundreds of Buddha Images, old and some new. During the festival time, thousands of devotees come from villages around the area to the cave. It is a joyous scene, people coming in groups by car, some coming in a huge line of traditional bullock-carts. The tribals circle the ox-carts, and in the middle, people do their cooking and rest for the night during the festival.

Shwe Myet Hman Pagoda Festival
Date       :  13th Waxing to Full Moon Day of  Tabaung

Location :   Shwetaung,  Bago Region

Duration:  3 days

People enjoy celebrating Shwe Myet Hman Pagoda Festival 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 Pyay and it’s environ, the traditional handicrafts from various places of Myanmar are available during the festival. 

Kekku Pagoda Festival

Date       :  Begins on 14th Waxing of Tabaung

Location :  Kekku Ancient Pagoda Complex, near Taunggyi, Southern Shan State

Duration:  3 days

A cluster of more than 3000 pagodas, said to be from Bagan period, but in the Yun Sha n style, are grouped on a small hillock overlooking the HoponValley. Pa O people flock to the festival in their best costumes to pay homage to the pagoda on the full-moon day of Tabaung . The best time to see this is at dawn, on the full-moon day, when villagers come with offerings to be offered to the Buddha Images. The festival ends with the pilgrims offering rice and other items to more than 1000 monks. 

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival

Date        :  Full Moon Day of  Tabaung

Location :  Yangon

Duration:  Approximately one week preceding the fullmoon day

Shwe Dagon Pagoda is the most well known pagoda in Myanmar and this Pagoda Festival is one of the most visited festivals for pilgrims all over the country. There is a competition to weave the holy robes using traditional looms to be offered to the Buddha Images at the four corners of the pagoda before dawn. Monks recite the holy scriptures 24 hours continuously throughout the duration of the festival. Buddhist devotees pay homage every day and their donations go towards the preservation of the Pagoda. 

Shwe Sar Yan Pagoda Festival

Date        :              Full Moon Day to 8 Waning Day of  Tabaung

Location :              Shwe Sar Yan Village, Patheingyi, Mandalay Region

Duration :              9 days

Shwe Sar Yan Pagoda is easily accessible by car, being on the main Mandalay-Lashio Highway. The Shwe Sar Yan Pagoda Festival is a very interesting festival indeed: a typical rural fair, bringing many visitors from not only the outlaying villages but also from faraway. The main attractions of this festival are the folk toys woven out of dried palm fronds. Beside the Pagoda is also a 17th century pagoda, Po Kalar Gu, which houses many beautiful mural paintings.

Alaungdaw Khathapa Pagoda Festival
Date         :  Fullmoon Day of Tabaung

Location   :  Alaungdaw Kathapa  National Park, Sagaing Region

Duration :  1 day

The Alaungdaw Khathapa shrine is located in a National Park in YinmarbinTownship, Sagaing Region. It is crowded with the local people from surrounding area and far distances. The festival is held by lighting to the Pagoda and NationalCave. People go there not only for just pilgrimage but also for observing the nature as it is one of the renowned ecotourism sites of Myanmar. 

Panguni Utram (Full Moon Day of Panguni Month of Tamil People)

Date       :               Full Moon Day of Tabaung or Tagu (March or April)

Location :               Sri Angata Eswari Munieswar Swamy Temple, Pelikha Village, Kyauk Tan Township,                   
                                Yangon Region

Duration:               10 Day Festival, main festival falls on Full Moon Day

Panguni Utram is the main religious festival of Hindu people in Myanmar, held in the compound of SriAngalaEswariMunieswarSwamyTemple which was built in 1862. The ritual attracts many participants and even more spectators with the performance of fire walking,  many of who wait long hours to witness relatives or friends perform. After walking over the hot coals, the devotees wade through a pit filled with goat's milk, then rub their feet with yellow powder, turmeric. This holy rare occasion is usually attended by the many local and overseas devotees. 

APRIL
Water Festival and Myanmar New Year

Date       :  Usually 13 April to 17 April (New Year’s Day)

Location :  Throughout the country

Duration:  5 days of throwing water and the last, New Year’s Day,

Thingyan (The Water Festival) is the most interesting and greatest occasion for merry-making with the largest number of people taking part in it throughout the country. During the Thingyan Festival, people pour water over one another to the melodious tunes of singing and dancing at the decorated pavilions. Pouring water signifies cleansing the body and mind of evils of the past year. During these auspicious days, Myanmar people perform a lot of meritorious deeds to usher in the New Year such as keeping Sabbath, going to pagodas and monasteries, offering food and alms to monks, paying respect to parents, teachers and elders, setting free fish and cattle and so on. Thingyan is a distinctive festival which is always awaited with great joy and excitement by Myanmar people every year. 

 Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda Festival

Date       :  8th Waxing to 5th Wanning of  Tagu

Location :  Bago

Duration:  13 days              

The most famous Pagoda Festival in Bago. Classical theatre troupes perform their best here so they will be booked by agents for the next pagoda festival season.

MAY
Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree

Date       :  Full Moon Day of Kason

Location :  Pagodas throughout the country

Duration:  1 day

This ritual commemorates the date 2500 years ago when  the Buddha gained enlightenment while meditating 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
Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival

Date       :  8th Waxing of Nayon

Location :  Pakokku, Central Myanmar

Duration:  15 days

Pakokku is an old traditional town on the western bank of the AyeyawadyRiver. This pagoda festival is the most important for all towns west of the Ayeyawady and products from the region, such as dried chili, homespun baskets and tobacco are sold every year at this huge country fair. The best thanakha trees, the bark of which is pounded to make the purely organic make-up cream used by many Myanmar women, grow in this area. 

JULY

 Waso Full Moon Festival

Date       :  Full Moon Day of Waso

Location :  Throughout the country

Duration:  Mid July

The Myanmar month of  Waso is the beginning of the monsoon rains. It is also the start of the Buddhist Lent. Monks are prohibited to travel overnight from their monasteries. According to the monks' code of conduct, they are still obligated to make the rounds for their daily food whether it is raining or not. As it is, they need spare robes. Therefore there is a ceremony to offer robes to the monks for use during the wet season.


Waso Chin-Lone (Cane Ball) Festival

Date       :  After the Full Moon Day of Waso

Location :  Maha Muni Pagoda Compound, Mandalay

Duration:  48 Days

Waso Chinlone Festival of Mahamuni Buddha Image in the year 2009 stretched for 48 days. It was the 81st. game held annually since 1926; the largest sport event of its kind, participated by 1220 Chinlone teams. The players had travelled across from all corners of the country to pay homage to the most revered Shrine, and to convene in tribute, the game of Chinlone. It is believed that this game has taken root in Myanmar for more than 1500 years. During the Festival of Mahamuni Buddha Image, as the grandeur of game call for, chinlone contest is performed with live music of Myanmar saing-waing (traditional orchestra) and running commentary.

AUGUST
Taung Pyone Spirit Festival
Date       :  8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Wagaung

Location :  Taung Pyone Village, near Mandalay

Duration:  8 days

Taung Pyone is the site where two brothers serving a king of Bagan in the 11th century were executed.  They became powerful spirits or Nats. This festival in their honour is attended by tens of thousands of mediums and worshippers. During the festival, toddy palm wine, whisky, rum, grilled rabbit and fried chicken are offered to the two spirit brothers. Orchestras come to play for the mediums who dance to make the spirits ‘joyful’. 

Yadana Gu Spirit Festival
Date       :  1st to 8th Wanning of Wagaung

Location :  Amarapura, Mandalay Region

Duration:  8 days

This festival honours the mother of the two powerful spirit brothers in Bagan era. She is the Goddess of Popa and her main shrine is on Popa Crest, near Bagan. She is a powerful spirit and protector of women. 

SEPTEMBER
Manuha Pagoda Festival

Date       :  One Day before the Full Moon Day of Tawthalin and the Full Moon Day 

Location :  Myinkaba village, Bagan, Mandalay Region

Duration:  2 days

On the first day, pretty village girls dressed in their best parade with trays of fruits and cakes to offer at the pagoda. During the afternoon, young men parade with larger-than-life paper-made figures of heroes, celestials and animals. At night, they put on dances and plays. The next morning at dawn they offer food at shrine and also to the monks.

Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

Date       :  1st Waxing to 3rd Wanning Day of Thadingyut

Location :  Inle Lake, Southern Shan State

Duration:  18 days              

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is one of the famous principal pagodas which houses five Boddha images. This pagoda is the main attraction of InlayLake and is situated in the middle of the Lake. Thousands of people from communities around the lake and villages in the surrounding mountains carry fruits and flowers on lacquer trays in their own boats and pay homage as the holy barge passes. Teams of the lake’s famous one-legged-rowers compete in annual boat races. 

OCTOBER

Festival of Lights

Date       :  One day before the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut,  the Full Moon Day and one day after

Location :  Throughout the country

Duration :  3 days           

This festival commemorates the time when the Buddha returned to earth after preaching in the abode of celestials during the three months of Lent. He descended at night and devotees greeted Him with lamps and lanterns. People decorate their houses with candles and coloured lanterns to symbolize this event. The festival of Light marks the end of Lent.

Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda Festival

Date       :  Begins one day before the full Moon day of Thadingyut

Location :  Mandalay

Duration:  4 days

An exciting festival focused on a huge Buddha image carved from a single block of marble. It coincides with an annual competition among teams of cane-ball (chinlone) players. This sport of keeping a rattan ball off the ground without using the hands is not about one side winning and the other losing and is surely the only sport in the world with such a concept. 

Dancing Elephants Festival

Date       :  One day before the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut and the Full Moon Day

Location :  Kyaukse, about 40km southeast of Mandalay.

Duration:  2 days

On the first day, colourfully decorated elephant figure made of cloth and bamboo with two men inside compete in dance competitions. The elephant with the best dance performance and behaviors wins the gold. Food and flowers are offered to the pagoda on the second day.

Kaunghmudaw Pagoda Festival

Date       :  Around Full Moon Day of Thadingyut

Location :  Sagaing, Sagaing Region

Duration:  5 days

One of the famous pagodas in central Myanmar. Most interesting aspect of this festival is the caravan of bullockcarts in the pagoda compound. Some of the carts carry their village products, such as hand-woven cotton clothes and cane mats, etc. to sell them at the festival. They like to camp under the shady trees.

Shwe Kyin Light Festival

Date       :  After the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut

Location :  Shwe Kyin Creek, Shwe Kyin Township, Bago Region

Duration:  1 day

Shwe Kyin light festival is held every year on the day after the full moon day of  Thadingyut. The festival includes daytime rowing races as well as competitive synchronized paddling exhibitions by separate teams of women and men. However, the highlight of the festival occurs only after darkness falls and locals launch hundreds of lit candles onto the water. 

NOVEMBER

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Date       :  Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone

Location :  Taunngyi, southern Shan State

Duration:  3 days

The most spectacular event of the year is the Hot Air Balloon Festival held every November in Taunggyi commonly called the Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Festival. Thousands of local pilgrims and international tourists choose to visit Taunggyi, especially to watch scores of giant paper animals being inflated and floated off into the sky. The competitions run during the day and at night when the sky is colourfully illuminated with hot air balloons. Hot air balloons in the shape of elephant, ox, horse, water buffalo, bird, pig, fish, owl and parrot are sent up into the sky. 

Tazaungmone Full Moon Festival

Date       :  Full Moon of Tazaungmone

Location :  Throughout the country

Duration:  1 day

After the rains, the monks would need new robes and on the fullmoon day, the offering of new robes for the monks are held. It is called the Kha htein ceremony. Sets of new robes and other offerings such as slippers, umbrellas, alms bowls, food, towels, soap and other necessities are presented to monks. Cash offerings for monasteries are also collected and displayed on wooden frames built in the shape of a tree.
 
All Night Robe Weaving Contests

Date       :  Begins in evening before the Full Moon Day of  Tazaungmone

Location :  Shwedagon Pagoda,  Yangon, and other pagodas throughout the country

Duration:  The whole night

In the evening of the Full Moon Day, teams of weavers compete to finish a monk’s robe during the night, to be offered to Buddha images at dawn the next day. It is a major event at the Shwedagon Pagoda. This ritual was once practised both in the palace during the time of monarchy and villages.

Shwezigon Pagoda Festival

Date       :  Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone

Location :  Nyaung U, near Bagan, Mandalay Region

Duration                :  15 days

On the Full Moon Day, there is a ritual of offering a filled alms bowl to a thousand and more monks and novices. Lacquerware, glazed pots and hand woven cotton blankets are sold by villagers living in the region at this great country fair.

Phowintaung Pagoda Festival
Date       :  One day before Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone

Location :  Monywa, Sagaing Region

Duration:  2 days

Like other pagoda festivals with the usual entertainment provided. Myanmar thanaka, sandalwood and woven textiles (cotton blankets and longyis mainly) can be bought at the various stalls around the pagoda area. 

Shwesandaw (Pyay) Pagoda Festival
Date       :  Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone

Location:  Pyay, Bago Region

Duration:  1 day

Shwesandaw  Pagoda is one of Myanmar’s biggest Buddhist pilgrimage sites and the festival of this pagoda is one of the most visited festivals for pilgrims all over the country. During the festival, the sacred tooth hall which contains a Buddha tooth relic is opened for devotees. 

DECEMBER

Mae Lamu Pagoda Festival

Dates      :  8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Nadaw

Location :  North Okkalapa Township, Yangon Region

Duration:  (8) days

One of the famous pagada festivals in Yangon Region. The activities of Pagoda festival are reciting the holy scriptures 24 hours continuously throughout the festival by monks, offering provisions and articles to monks, celebrating festivities and performing with evening entertainments such as Zat (Drama), Stage Show and Movies.

Popa Guardian Spirits Festival

Date       :  Begins on Full Moon Day of Nadaw

Location :  Mount Popa, near Bagan

Duration:  6 days

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 are believed to protect home or country. A festival takes place at MountPopa in their honor. 

Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda Festival Nine Thousand Lamps

Date       :  One evening of December 31

Location :  Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda, Mon State

Duration:  1 evening

On the platform of the Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda, devotees light nine thousand lamps to welcome the New Year and to give thanks to Buddha’s peaceful Doctrine. The magical Golden Rock Pagoda, a golden spire, sits on the top of a huge boulder covered with gold leaf and perched on the edge of a cliff.