Festivals & Events in Myanmar
Buddhist festivals fall all year round in Myanmar and usually coincide with the full moon. There are also many festivals that are specific to particular villages or temples. The best source of accurate information concerning these festivals is the Myanmar Embassy.
Temple fairs or pagoda festivals, lasting a week or longer, are the equivalent of western fun fairs, with entertainers, magicians, puppeteers, musicians, clairvoyants, healers and patent medicine purveyors moving from one fair to the next bringing excitement, colour and a much-earned break to the lives of local people.
Spirit festivals, known as Nat Pwes, whilst having only a tacit connection to Buddhism, have equal significance and share a tendency to coincide with the full moon. Major festivals fall during March,Buddhist Lent (July-September) and December.
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Festivals & Events
April Thingyan Water Festival Celebrating the Myanmar New Year, this festival lasts for several days and is marked by major, good-natured water throwing. It is also a time of merit making, and older people go to temples for prayer and alms giving. May The Kason Festival Representing the day the Buddha was born, the day He attained Enlightenment, and the day of His passing, this festival falls on the day of the full moon of Kason in the Myanmar calendar, in early May. Visits are made to pagodas to water the sacred Bo Trees - under which species the Buddha is said to have attained Enlightenment.
The Waso Festival Commemorating the Buddha's first sermon, this festival also marks the beginning of Buddhist Lent. Monks are given new robes and other requirements to tide them through the months ahead October Thadingyut Festival (Festival of Lights) Marking the end of Buddhist Lent, this festival, held on the full moon day of Thadingyut, lasts for three days during which houses and streets are festively decorated and illuminated. People crowd into their local pagodas to offer alms and make merit. Younger people also pay homage to their parents, elders and teachers. Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda Festival, Inle Lake Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda's Buddha images are ferried from village to villages for people to pay homage. Fairs, dances, the leg rowers' boat races and general festivities counterbalance the more austere ceremonial aspect. This is the biggest celebration in the Shan state. Elephant Dance Festival Though enacted in several towns and villages, the town with the best festival is Kyauk-se, 40km south of Mandalay. Two full size paper elephants, one black, one white, each with two men inside, dance through the town with much pageantry and ceremony November Tazaungdaing Festival Held on the full moon day of Tazaungmon according to the Myanmar Calendar, this festival finds houses and public buildings decorated and brightly lit. Robes and other requisites are offered to monks with the special offering of Mathothigan - a robe that is woven in one single day - held on the eve of the full moon. Dedicated teams of weavers compete with one another to complete the robes, which are then reverently offered to images of Buddha.
Jan 4 Independence Day Feb 12 Union Day Mar 2 Peasants’ Day (anniversary of the 1962 coup) Mar 24 Full Moon of Tabaung Mar 27 Armed Forces Day Apr 12-17 Maha Thingyan (Water Festival) & Myanmar New Year Days May 1 World Workers' Day Jul 19 Martyrs’ Day Jul 20 Full Moon of Waso Oct 17 Full Moon of Thadingyut (End of Buddhist Lent) Nov 15 Tazaungmon Full Moon Day Nov 25 National Day Dec 25 Christmas Day Dec 30 Kayin New Year only
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