Festivals

Festivals in Myanmar
Most of the Myanmar festivals are religious in nature, reflecting the country’s deep spirituality but they are also important social events. Many festivals are pagoda festivals when people from the surrounding towns and villages come. Pagoda festivals are meant to commemorate the day of completion of construction work and when all necessary religious consecration rituals are observed by the monks and make it into a holy and revered place of  worship.

 

 

Naga New Year Festival ( Jaunary ) :
Naga New Year Festival is one of the rarest of 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 on January 15.Many package tours are available to visit the rate Naga New Year Festival of Myanmar. For tour information, contact the local tour operators or visit at www.umtanet.org.


 

Ananda Pagoda Festival ( January ) :
Ananda Pagoda is one of the most famous pagoda in Bagan. 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 camp for the whole duration of the festival. Even now some villagers still come to the festival the traditional way. You will definitely enjoy the traditional lifestyle of the locals of Bagan during this festival.


 

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival ( March ) :
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 or holy relics belonging to the four Buddhas that have gained enlightenment in this era. But now the festival has trans formed 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.


 

Kekku Pagoda Festival ( March ) :
A cluster of more than 3000 pagodas said to be from Bagan period, but in the Yun Shan style, are grouped on a small hillock overlooking the Hopn Valley. Pa O people flock to the festival in their best costumes to pay homage to the pagoda on the full-moon day of Tabaung ( March ). The best time to see this is at dawn on the full-moon day when villagers come with offerings and food to be offered to the Buddha Images. The festival ends with the pilgrims offering rice and other items to more than 1000 monks. Most of the pagodas are in the ruins but donations from the Chief Monk of the Buddhist Monastery in Singapore an dlocal donors.


 

Pindaya Pagoda Festival ( March ) :
Shan, PaO, Palaung, Taung Yoe, Intha, Danu groups from around Pindaya come in bullock carts and camp under the huge banyan trees to celebrate the festival. Harvest has been done and crops are sold for festival. The Pindaya Cave houses  hundreds of Buddha Images, some old and some new. Pndaya Shwe Oo Min cave pagoda festival is held on and around Full moon day of Tabaung. It starts seven days before the moon day. During the festival time, thousands of devotees come from villages around the area to the cave. It is a joyous scene, people coming in a group with car, or some are coming in huge line of Native bullock-cart. The tribal circle the ox-cards, and in the middle people cook, and sleep during festival. A kind of pagoda mall is set up at the foot of the hill under big shady Banyan trees to sell local products. 


 

Thingyan Festival ( April ) :
Thingyan is the Myanmar New Year celebrations. Actually it is the celebration to commemorate the end of the old year and it could last from 3 to 4 days and the next day immediately following the last day of Thingyan is the New Year Day. All over the country the people celebrate festival by throwing water on each other to symbolize the cleansing of misfortunes of the old year will but sometimes this cleansing could be a fire hose! Astrologers calculate when the old year wil end when the New Year Day will fall. It may seems strange to westerners to learn that the transition to the 1st day of the new year could be in the middle of the day or any other time that the astrologers had calculated. According to one legend there was a dispute between some Celestial Beings and Brahma lost and his severed head was supposed to be held up by the females Celestial Beings because if this head is put on and  the land will be scorched and if it is put in the oceans they will dry up. Hence the female Celestial Beings take turns to hold up this head and annually this head is transferred to another at this time. Another legend believed by all Myanmar that Thagya Min or King of the Celestial Beings descend to the realm of humans at this time, stays for the duration and returns back to his abode at the end of the Thingyan celebrations. That is believed to be the time when the old year passes into new. That is why during Thingyan every Buddhist household put out a bowl of water with flowers and Eugenia sprigs to welcome the Thagya Min. On the first day of the New Year meritorious deeds are performed all Buddhist house holds. The younger generation washes the hairs and trim the fingernails of the elderly. Food is offered to the monks etc.


 

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival ( October ) :
One of the famous principa shrines in Myanmar, this pagoda houses five small Buddha images. In Inlay Lake annually from approximately in the middle of October or the month of Thadingyut. For Gilt Buddha images are bome on a gilt barge around the villages in Inlay Lake. The legend is that these Images were left there by King Alaung Si Thu of Bagan dynasty. It is held on a grand scale for 18 days, usually falls in October ( sometimes in September depending on the Myanmar Lunar Calendar ).   There are also Shan traditional boat races participated by leg-rowers. People from all the villages nearby come to pay homage to the images. Four Buddha Images out of five from Phaung-daw-oo pagoda are carried on royal barge and conveyed around 14 villages on the Lake. The barge is towed by the boats of leg-rowers and hundred of boats follow the procession. The large crowds of people gather on the lake-shores to celebrate the occasion. It is really a splendid sight. Amoung the dance show and fun-fairs, the most interesting event of the festival, especially for foreigners, is their boat-race-due to their unique leg rowing. It is the one and only place in the world that one can see such marvelous act.


 

Taunggyi Tazaungmone Hot Air Ballon Festival ( November ) :
People from around Taunggyi make elaborate hotair ballon in various shapes and send them up. Huge ballons of more than 24-30 feet in height and hung with lighted lanterns underneath and spewing fireworks are sent up at night. Many villages and people from around Taunggyi complete with each other on who can do the most spectacular ballon. The festival starts about a week of the full moon day and ends on the fullmoon night. Also at Taunggyi to pay home to the Atula Laba Muni Pagoda. All the people of Taunggyi and its environs walk to the pagoda with lighted lanterns.


 

Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival ( November ) :
Perched on the tip of a boulder it is a geological phenomena. Legend is that the custodian of some hairs of Lord Buddha enshrined them in this rock shaped like his head. One popular folk tale is of a native Kayin girl who was selected by a Myanmar King and then had to return disgraced back to her people as a victim of court jealousies but was killed on the road by a tiger. The Kayins of her native village put the blame on the pagoda for the girl’s death justifying that had the pagoda not been there the king would not come and consequently the girl would not be chosen to go to the place and she would still be living. They then decided to pull down the pagoda but were all transformed into monkeys. There is a shrine built to this girl ( Shwe Nan Kyin ) near the pagoda’s entrance. Our grandparents had told us that long time ago there was a space between the two rocks and a thread could be passed between them. Even now the upper rock rocks slightly if pushed and it can be easily seen if a thin strip of bamboo is put between these two rocks. The bamboo strip will bend visibly.

January

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

27 December 2015- 02 January 2016

Ananda Pagoda Festival

Bagan

2.

10th January

Manaw Festival

Myitkyina&Bahmo

3.

14th - 15th January

Naga New Year

La He (Hkamti)

4.

28th - 29th January

Mahamuni Pagoda Festival

Mandalay

5.

28th - 29th January

Bon Fire Ceremony

Pyay

6.

29th January

Full Moon Festival

All over the country

 

 

 

 

February

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

05th - 10th February 2016

Kyaikkhauk Pagoda Festival

Syrium

2.

13th - 27th February

Maha Muni Pagoda Festival

Kyauk Taw, Rakhine State

3.

22nd February - 01st March

Shwemyitsu Pagoda Festival 

Inn dawgyi

4.

22nd February - 01st March

Pindaya Cave Festival

Pindaya, Shan State

5.

22nd February - 01st March

Shwedagone Pagoda Festival (Yangon)

Yangon

6.

22nd February - 01st March

Kekku Pagoda Festival (Taunggyi)

Taunggyi

7

24th- 27th February

Bawgyo Image Festival

Tibaw, Shan State

8

26th - 27th February

Full Moon Day of Tabaung

All over the country

9

27th February - 07th March

Shwesayan Pagoda Festival ( Mandalay)

Mandalay

 

March

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

04th  – 14th March 2016

Maung Done Nat Festival

Monywa

2.

08th - 14th March

Ah-Lone Festival

Ah-Lone

3.

22nd - 29th March 2016

Shwemawdaw Pagoda Festival

Bago

4.

26th - 30th March

Bo Min Khaung Memorial

Mt.Popa

5.

28th - 29th March

Fullmoon day of Tagu

All over the country

 

April

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

12th -16th April 2016

Thingyan Water Festival

Throughout Myanmar

2.

12th April

Popacereony

Mt.Popa

3.

17th April

New Year Day

All over the country

4..

24th - 27th April

Shithoung pagoda festival

Mrauk U

5.

26th  - 27th April

Sand Stupa Festival

Pa Le NgweYaung / Mandalay

6.

26th  - 27th April

ShweKyet Yet Event

Amarapura

7..

26th  - 27th April

Kason Festival

All over the country

8.

26th  - 27th April

TaungYoe Festival Pindaya Cave

Shan State

9.

26th  - 27th April

Pa-Oh Rocket Festival

Taunggyi

10.

27th - 29th April

Sand Stupa Festival

Min Thar Su Quarter / Mandalay

11.

27th April

Sand StupaFestivial

Yahai Quarter / Mandalay

 

May

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

21st - 22nd May 2016

WatZomKum Rice Offering Ceremony

Kyaing Tong

2.

22nd - 27th May

Thihoshin Pagoda Festival

Pakokku

3.

26th - 27th May

Buddhist Recitation

Kaba Aye hillock, Yangon

4.

26th - 27th May

Mt. Popa Nat Spirit Festival B

Mt. Popa

 

June

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

17th - 27th June 2016

Chin Lone Festival

Mahamuni / Mandalay

 

July

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

12th July - 10th August 2016

Wicker ball ceremony

Mahamuni / Mandalay

2.

25th - 26th July

Waso Full Moon Festival

All over the country

3.

29th - 31st July

ShwKyun Pin Nat Pwe

Mingun, Mandalay

 

August

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

12th - 15th August  2016

ShweKyun Pin PweMingun(Nat Festival)

Mandalayy

2.

12th - 25th August

TaungPyoun Nat Festival ( TP village )

near Mandalayy

3.

27th August – 08th  September

YadanaGu Nat Festival

Amapura, Mandalay

4.

29th August - 28th November

Kyaungdawyar Pagoda Festival

Min Bu, Magway

 

September

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

02nd - 08th September  2016

YadanaGu Nat Festival

Amapura, Mandalay

2.

16th - 28th September

Bo BoKyi Nat Festival

Taungthaman Inn,  Mandalay

3.

23th September

Manuha Pagoda Festival

Near Mandalay (taungpyoun)

 

October

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

09nd - 26th October  2016

PhaungDawOo Pagoda Festival

Inle Lake

2.

09th - 12th October

Indine Pagoda Festival

Inle Lake

3.

09th September - 06 November

MyaThaLun Pagoda Festival

Magwe

4

20th - 27h October

Kyaukdawkyi Pagoda Festival  

Mandalay

5.

22th October

Dummy Elephant Festival

NKyauk Se, Mandalay

6.

22th - 23th October

Thadingyut Light Festival

Throughout Myanmar

7.

22th - 23th October

Festival of Light and Fire Ball  

Kyaing tong

 

November

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

11nd - 16th November  2015

Poewintaung Ceremony

Monywa

2.

15th - 21th November

Shwezigon Festival

Bagan

3.

20th - 21th November

Shin Mar Le Pagoda Festival

Thazi

4..

20th - 21th November

Balloons Flying Festival

Taunggyi

5.

20th - 21th November

Tazaungdaing Light Festival

Throughout Myanmar

6.

20th - 21th November

Robe Weaving Contest

Throughout Myanmar 

7..

20th - 21th November

Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival

Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock)

8.

20th - 22th November

Kakku Pagoda Festival

Taungyi

9.

20th - 21th November

KaungMudaw Festival

Sagaing

10.

20th - 21th November

Ann Tribe Fertility Festival

Kyaing tong

11.

20th - 21th November

Mt. Popa Nat Sprit festivalo

Mt. Popa

12.

21th - 29th November

Thanbottay Pagoda Festival

Monywar

13.

24th -November

MaShan New Year Celebration

Kyaing tong

14..

25th - 29th November

Taungto Pagoda festival

Inle lake

 

December

Sr.

Date

Festival Name

Place

1.

05th - 07th December 2015

New Rice Harvest Festival

Kyaing Tong

2.

14th - 21th December

Hwemyetmhan Pagoda Festival

ShweTaung near Pyay

3.

21th - December

Mt.Popanat Spirit Festival

Mt. Popa

4.

25th - 31th December

Kachin New Year Celebration

Kyaing Tong

5.

28th December -03rd January 2016

AkhaNewYear Celebration

Kyaing Tong