Festivals In Myanmar
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Festivals In Myanmar

January (Nadaw/Pyartho)

Manaw Festival
Location : Myitkyina in Kachin State.

There are seven states and seven divisions in Myanmar. Among them, Kachin is one of the states, which has a delightful festival known as Manaw. Kachin, the hill people or the Scots of Myanmar, celebrate Manaw festival. It is one of the most popular festivals in Myanmar. The festival is usually held in January.

This festival has been held for more than three decades. Manaw festivals is the celebration of the New Year, Victory in battles, reunion of the tribes etc. Everybody joins the spiritual dance lined up behind one another. The traditional Manaw poles are decorated in colorful Kachin motifs and are centered in the middle of the festival ground. All who came to the festival wear their best traditional costume and the main feature of the festival is dancing around the erected Manaw poles, quite similar to the totem poles of North American Indians. Manaw festival is held in Myitkyina and Putao in Kachin State.

Ananda Pagoda Festival
Location : Ananda Pagoda in Bagan

Ananda Pagoda is probably the finest largest and best preserved of all the Bagan temples. Ananda Temple suffered considerable damage in the earthquakes in history. The Ananda, built by Kyansittha in 1090, is on a larger scale than the Pahtothamya and the Apeyadana and is significantly different in form. The temple is said to represent the endless wisdom of the Buddha.

Symbolizing the limitless wisdom of Buddha, there is a month long sanctified festival for the temple Ananda, the most beautiful one out of 2000 holy monuments in Bagan, Myanmar. It is usually falls on January every year. The busiest day of the festival is on the full-moon day of the lunar month. Villagers and pilgrims around Bagan roll in the sacred site of Ananda for the consecration.

This is also the best time to see not only the ritual of Buddhists but the festival is also meant for social gathering, reunification, propagation and perpetuation of the religion that is Buddhism. During the festival, walk around in sea of vendors and shops that sell traditional Myanmar food-stuff and enjoy the local atmosphere in locality.

Naga New Year Festival

Location : Khamti , Lahe ,Lashi in Sagaing Division.

Numerous Naga tribes spread throughout the Northwestern hills of Myanmar. Most of the Naga are from the Chin State. The Naga festival is social, but it is also to exchange previous year experiences, to make plans for the coming year and to discuss how to overcome difficulties.

They pray for abundant crops and domestic animals and to have good weather. Another aspects of this festival is reunion of relatives, who are away from home. They worship to their deities by scarifying the animals. The festival is usually in January, for this year it will be held on the 15th of January.

February (Pyartho/Dabodwei)

Htamene Festival

Location : Countrywide

Htamane festival is held between February and March, throughout the whole country. It is made of sticky rice and sesame seeds. One large pan requires 4 small baskets of sticky rice, 20 coconuts, one small basket each of peanut and sesame seeds, 4 kilo of oil, 0.32 kilo of ginger and some salt.

Making of Htamane is not very easy. First the sticky rice must be soaked over night. The next day, start frying the small pieces of coconuts and other ingredients. Then pour in the soaked sticky rice into the pan. Now, we need two strong men to do the stirring of the rice until it is cooked. After preparing Htamane, it is then offered to the Buddha and is given away for free to all the visitors to the pagodas.

Mahamuni Pagoda Festival

Location : Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay Division.

Falls on the full moon day of Thabodwe. This festival usually lasts for 2 days. Glutinous rice (which is a delicacy) contests are also held on the pagoda's platform. A variety of incense sticks are burnt for the Myanmar Buddha image on the full moon day. During this festival thousands of people from all over the country make the pilgrimage to the Mahamuni Pagoda. The temple is always the center of activities and during this festival it explodes with energy.

Salon Festival
Location : Bocho Island in Thanintharyi Division

Salon festival is usually held during the month of February. The festival is at Majungalet Village on Bocho Island near Lampi Island in Myeik, Thanintharyi Division. It is celebrated every year, to promote tourism in acquaintance with Salon and Myeik Archipelago as one of the tourism attractions for International Market. Here is where you will witness traditional and spiritual dances, diving competitions and a fascinating way of life. There are also rowing competitions, folk singing and a traditional Salon feast. The Salon people, or sea gypsies, live nomadic sea lives for seven months of the year, living off their ingenuity and the resources of the ocean. Encountering this chance be a rare opportunity.

March (Dabodwei/Tabaung)

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival
Location : Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon Division

The festival of the Shwedagon Pagoda is celebrated on the full moon day of Tabaung (March) every year. This is the land mark of Myanmar, visible from all directions. It situates on the hill of seinguttra and therefore it lore the original name of Seinguttra Ceti.

It was built by King Utkalapa enshrining the sacred hair relies of the Lord Buddha in this life time, brought by the two young trader brothers Tapussa and Balirea who went to Buddha gaya to trade and came to see the Lord Buddha in his early days of Enlightenment.

The original stupa was only 66 feet, and now becomes 326 feet after many renovations by successive rulers of Myanmar. The Shwedagon is now the second tallest religious structure in the country.

The first tallest one is the Shwemawdaw pagoda in Bago having the height of 373 feet. It is the most beautiful and magnificent structure in the world. It is a towering spire of Shimmering gold.

It is the world's richest pagoda, with its glittering crown embedded with inestimable treasure of precious gems and weight of gold beyond enumeration. The whole stupa is covered with gold over. It is one of the modern wonders of the world.

Many people in the country contribute funds for repairing over and a great number of people pay homage every day. There are many festivals throughout the year. The pouring water to the sacred Bo-tree, the overnight weaving contest for the yellow robes, the donation of gold leaves in a buck and many others are unnoticed festivals in each occasion.

The greatest festival is that of Tabaung festival. The renovation works were greatly done and the escalator on the western stairway and the elevators in all others are beautifully and the elevators in all others are beautifully and the spires are rebuilt. Even the canopy is renovated with modern techniques.

Kakku Pagoda Festival

Location : Kakku Pagoda in Taunggyi in Shan State.

Annually in March, on the full moon day of Tabaung (March), which is the last month of the Myanmar lunar calendar, Kakku Pagoda festival takes place. Normally the festival will begin two or three days in advance for this is not just a religious festival but also a social occasion. It is the time for all to have fun, exchange news and gossips, to trade. For the younger set it is the time to meet their friends from other villages or the boys to fall in love with the girls.

As it is, all the people of the region arrive by the thousands, dressed in their traditional costumes. Some come in bullock carts while others arrive by more modern conveyances, on the village tractor.

But the most interesting time to visit this place is to get there before dawn of the full moon day of Tabaung where the Pa O people in all their finery come with gaily decorated trays bearing morning food offerings.

Pindaya Shwe Oo Min Pagoda Festival

Location : Pindaya Cave in Shan State

Pindaya Shwe Oo Min Cave Pagoda festival is held on around Full moon day of Tabaung as well. It starts seven days before the full moon day. During the festival time, thousands of devotees come from villages around the area to the cave. A kind of stall is set up at the foot of the hill under big shady Banyan trees to sell local products.

April (Tabaung/Tagu)

Mann Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival

Location : Magway Division

The land of festivals and the land of Pagodas are the names that make Myanmar famous among the nation. Mann Shwe Sattaw Pagoda Festival is one of the most significant Pagoda festivals in Upper Myanmar. It is 36 miles from Magwe to the Mann Shwe Sattaw which is also well known as Mann Footprint across Ayeyawaddy river bridge, Magwe. And people from the entire nation pay Pilgrimage to the Pagoda but the Pagoda is mostly crowded within the festival time which is from the mid February to mid April. To enjoy Mann Shwe Sattaw Pagoda festival, if you come from lower Myanmar, please take the Yangon-Pyay motor road and go along Pathein-Monywa road after passing Nawadae Bridge. At Mann Shwe Sattaw Pagoda, you will find the upper Sattawyar, the Footprint of Lord Buddha on the hill and the lower Sattawyar, another Footprint of the Buddha at the foot of the same hill.

There is a motor road which will take you to the Upper sattawyar for the elders and children where the youths can climb up by the stairway built by venerable hermit U Khanti in 1937 and at the same time, study cultural artifacts decorated along the stairway. This is the platform of the upper footprint. And from here, you can view and pay homage to the lower footprint and the panoramic view around here is quite amazing. This place is beautiful, peaceful and pleasant.

As you go along the stairways to the upper Sattawyar, you will find various stalls selling all sorts of handicrafts and traditional herbal plants. Further above when you reach Mutsoetaung Zedi, you will be able to witness a sight which is so full of greening. And also at the lower Sattawyar, at the foot of the hill, it is bustling with devotees. Locally made lodging houses built with bamboo are waiting for the people who come here to rest and refresh themselves with a well-rested overnight stay. As there are stalls which are stuffed with products from all over the country, pilgrims can conveniently buy what they want in one place. The cool and pleasant Mann creek flows steadily around both Sattawyars and adds sparkle and life to the Pagoda festival itself.

One exhilarating experience you will get when visiting Mann Shwe Sattaw is bathing in the cool, clean and sparkling waters of Mann Creek after you have had an exhausting day of pilgrimage.To go on a trip to Mann Shwe Sattew Pagoda Festival in Central Myanmar which is like an oasis in an arid zone, you will experience the feeling for a place. Which gives you respite from the torrid heat and at the same time, experience the pilgrimage to a sacred and holy place of Myanmar. .

Water Festival (Myanmar Thingyan)
Location : Countrywide

Myanmar is a land full of festivals and fun. The Mekong Water Festival includes the countries Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos. The celebration is called Songkran in Thailand, Chaul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia, Thingyan in Myanmar and Pimai in Laos. But it is believed that water festival washes away sins and welcomes the New Year. The water festival represents the most popular, raucous and colorful celebration of the year for more than 120 million people who will abandon any thoughts of work and bring their nations to a standstill. People around the country gather together again and visits pagodas, offers and pay homage to the monks, play traditional games and celebrate with their joyous spirit.

After playing around and having fun throughout the country, the city-dwellers welcome the New Year on the 17th by cleaning the floors of the pagodas and monasteries, washing old and aged peoples' hair, helping to cut them their nails. Some offer free food and drinks for everyone who visits the pagodas, some make other donations. If you can be here with us, you will never forget the true joy.


Thanakha grinding festival

Location :Rakhine State

Thanakha grinding festival (Rakhine State) Thanakha is a cream or make up obtained by grinding thanakha tree's bark. Females use it as a protection against heat as well as a decoration. However, it is not unusual to see males also wearing them. Thanakha grinding event in Sittwe is a traditional event held on the eve of Water Festival i.e. Thingyan. Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine State. The Rakhines are quite similar to the majority Bamar people in many ways but are a completely different ethnic group with history going back thousands of years.

On Thingyan eve, in the early part of the night, young women grind Thanakha barks and roots to a fine cream by grinding it along with a sprinkle of water on rounded stone slabs. Young men play musical instruments and dance to support the event. Once the Thanakha is ready, all go to nearby pagodas and wash the Buddha images with it as a new-year eve good deed.

Myanmar New Year Festival

Location : Countrywide

Myanmar New Year Festival is held after the consecutive Thingyan Water Festival. Thingyan Water Festival is enjoyed by both young and old generations throughout the country.

On Myanmar New Year Day, which usually falls on 17th April, Myanmar's donate offerings to Monks and elders. The youngsters wash the elder's hair, cut their nails and do cleanings for them. It is a traditional manner especially done on the Myanmar New Year Day.

May (Tagu/Kason)

Kason Bo Tree Watering Festival
Location : Countrywide

The month Kason usually falls on May of the English calendar. The month is excessive great. It is the season water in all ponds, lakes and creeks reduces to its lowest level. During the month of Kason the length of the day is longer and the night is shorter. People of Myanmar regard the month of Kason as Taurus) season and the sign of the zodiacs is a ball. The seasonal flower is Sagar and this festival is water pouring ceremony at the Maha-Bodhi tree, the holy Banyan tree at the foot of which the Buddha attained Buddhahood or enlightenment. As the month of Kason is at the middle of the hot reason, the earth is dry and people pour water at the Maha-Bodhi tree to make sure it does not die of drought during the hot summer. This has become an integral part of Myanmar culture and on every full-moon day of kason, the Buddhist people would march in a grand procession to the Bodhi tree or to the pagodas to pour scented water.

The full-moon day of Kason is significant for other seasons too. It is the day on which Gotama Buddha was born, attained enlightenment, passed away, and as a recluse in this previous existence, blessed by the prophecy of Depankara Buddha that he (sumedha human ) would also become a Buddha one day in the very remote future. It also is the day on which the original Bodhi tree arose from out of the earth as an assurance of the coming of the Gotoma Buddha.

The Bodhi tree has relations with Lord Buddha so it becomes respectable for the Buddhists. Lord Buddha attained enlightenment underneath the Bodhi tree so the Buddhists revere the tree. On the Fullmoon day of Kason Buddhist devotees celebrate not only water pouring ceremony at the Bodhi tree but also perform meritorious deeds by keeping Sabbath, meditation, offering flowers, light, water and incense to the images of Lord Buddha.

There are so many banyan trees in various regions of Myanmar. The majestic trees give cool shade and grandeur as well as dignity, grace and charm. Water pouring ceremony to the Bodhi tree in the month of Kason had been performed successively since the time of Myanmar monarchs to the present day. The performance of the ceremony is supportive not only to the religion and tradition but also to keeping trees green and lush.

June (Kason/Nayon)

Pariyatti Sasana Tiptaka Examination

Location : Countrywide

In this month all the novice and monks are sitting for their pariyatti exam, that's not only great chance for them but also preserve for Buddhism. This occasion is most famous in Yangon and Mandalay.

July (Nayon/Waso)

Full Moon Day Of Waso (Dama Skya day)
Waso Robe Offering Festival

Location : Countrywide

This day commemorates the lord Buddha's first sermon (Dama Skya) to his disciples. That day is start the first day of Buddhist lent duration until to next three or four months which the monks are prohibited to traveling and sleeping outside of their monasteries. At the same day all Buddhism people are offering robes to the monk by individual or group. During the lent no one marry in Myanmar as a Buddhism. Most older people are going to near pagoda or monastery for keep the Sabbath in a week a day.

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