Festivals in Myanmar are an integral part of people's life. Festivals of Myanmar portray the rich cultural heritage of the country. Festivals are innumerable in number and are equally varied in origin marking the national, regional, local, religious, seasonal and social fervour. The Myanmar calendar is one long procession of festivals
Here is a spectrum of Myanmar festivals/fairs and their significance.
Naga New Year Festival in Sagaing Division;
Every year , NAGA traditional New Year Festival is celebrated in January and the gathering place for this auspicious occasion is rotation, in one of the township in Sagaing Division viz Khamti, Lasyshi, Namying and the Lahe. There is a great feasting and the NAGA get attired
Ananda Pagoda Festival in Bagan
Bagan is where the numerous temple, and pagodas of over
2000 exist today. The most interesting aspect of this
festival is the caravan of bullock carts in the Ananda
Manhamuni Pagoda Festival in
Mandalay is historically known as the last royal capital of the Myanmar Kingdom. Situated to the south of the Royal Palace is the 4.5 high Buddha image cast in bronze.Besides the daily rituals, Mahamuni Pagoda Festival is unique with monks chanting Buddhist svriptures, communal offering to the monks and food stalls selling a variety of Myanmar snacks.
Indawgyi Lake. 100 miles far from Myintkyina. Approx. Five hours drive up to Indawgyi. This festival is held yearly for ten days. One intriguing fact is that two sandbanks are washed up by the waves before the festival begins so that people can walk from the bank to the pagoda. People believe that one is for human use and the other is a passage for the gods. These two sandbanks disappear into the lake shortly after the festival.
Shwe Aaryan Pagoda Festival, Shwe Saryan Village, Patheingyi, Mandalay
45 minutes drive form Mandalay on the way to Maymyo (near Hton Bo), You can also take a small boat on the Douhtawaddy River and visit the pagodas nearby, Myanmar traditional toys, boxes, baskets, mats made of dried toddy palm leaves are the best selling village products in this festival.
Pindaya Cave Festival, Pindaya
During the festival at the Shwe Oo Min Pagoda Cave in Pindaya thousands of devotees throng the cave to pay homage to the pagoda. You will find hundreds of small stalls selling delicious local foods, Shan handicrafts, all kinds of cheroots (Myanmar cigars), Shan umbrellas, and, and, and… Tribes from all over Shan State join this festivity in their colourful costumes.
Nay Win Taung Pagoda Festival,
Maymyo (Pyin Oo Lwin)
Same as Nyan Taw Pagoda Festival. Traditional Shan festival. It takes place in the northern part of Maymyo, about an hour’s drive from the downtown area.
Bo Bo Gyi festival
Bo Bo Gyi is believed to have mastered high level alchemi-cal practices and to have expired to become nat.
Shwemawdaw Pagoda Festival, Bago
Same with the other pagoda festival. There are evening entertainment such as Zats, Anyeints, stage show and also a popular sales fair where all kinds of goods, most of them are clothes, toys & kitchen supplies. (not expensive one)
Thingyan Water Festival Throughout Myanmar
The Burmese New Year will be celebrated in April and everybody joins in the fun of dousing each other with water. Youths go out for the enjoyment, while elder people take retreat in monasteries and pagodas to perform meritorious deeds.
One cannot avoid of getting very wet because every one throws water at everybody. People drive through the city in open cars and there are stages along the street where people throw water. During this time, everything is closed: restaurants, shops, markets, Museum, etc.
Popa Ceremony, Mt. Popa
Nat dances on Mt. Popa. Very crowded and difficult to get up the mountain.
Shite-Taung pagoda Festival, Mrauk Oo
This pagoda festival will be held on 3rd (Full moon day) as same as the others pagoda festival but they have one exiting thing is they have traditional boxing show.
Wasoo Full Moon days
It is celebrated with the offering of Waco Thing a yellow (Robes) to the monks which market the beginning of the Buddhist Lent.
The Pagoda Festival at Thihoshin Pagoda in Pakkoku and at Shwe Kyun Pin Pagoda in Mingun are prominent occasions.
Chin Lone festival, Mahamuni / Mandalay
Chin Lone (Cane Ball) tournament held in Mandalay. It is used to held in Mahamuni Pagoda compound almost a month for every day and night. Cane ball players from all over the country come up to Mandalay to enjoy this festival. We can enjoy to see several ways of playing Chin Lone and racing by either team or individual together with local / folk music played while entertaining the audience.
Shwe Kyun Pin Nat Pwe Mingun , Mandalay
During the Myanmar month of Tabaung. According to the legend, the youngest brother of King Mindon fomented a rebellion and succeeded in ousting the Sawbawa of Hsipaw. Several of his six children got killed in this confrontation and Mindon’s brother did not rest until he eliminated all potential successors of Sabawa of Hsipaw. One day his two surviving children were struck by a teak trunk and drowned in the Shweli River at Thit Maik Myun while attending a boat race. Their mother died from heartbreak about this loss. The ‘Pagoda of Despair’ (Lwan Hpaya) was built at this place. Since then, the children were declared to be nats and thus became the keepers of the river. After harvest time, hundreds of farmers, wearing colourful dresses, arrive with their beautifully decorated bullock carts at the Myatheindan Pagoda. They build a big tent as temporary housing for the nat images. During these days the mediums perform Nat Dances in order to be granted a good harvest for the next season and to the delight of hundreds of spectators.
Taungpyone Nat Festival
It is celebrated in Taungpyone, near Mandalay which lasts for five days. According to tradition, the spirits(nats) are appeased to bring good luck and prosperity.
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 Mt. Popa. Medaw, Mewanna (Mother of the two Lords) who came back from Taunbyon Festival, halted on her way back to Mt. Popa at the Yadanagu as her transit camp.
Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival
It is celebrated in Kyaukse, near Mandalay. A huge elephant made of bamboo and paper has men inside to perform the elephant dance at the foot of the hill, paying homage to the Shwe Tha Lyaung Reclining Buddha.
Paung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
In Inlay Lake is popularly celebrated in the Inlay Lake every year. The images of the Buddhas from Paung Daw Oo are placed on a decorated royal barge and taken around the Lake; stopping at villages for people to pay homage. The porcession of the Inlay leg rowers in full pageantry makes this Festival more unique then ever.
Kyauktawgyi Pagodas Festival
In Mandalay is celebrated at the Pagoda foot of the Mandalay Hill.
Indein Pagoda Festival, Inle Lake
Buddhist ceremony held at unique site of old shrine complex in Inle Lake.
The Thadingyut ( Festival of lights), 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.
Shwezigon Festival in Bagan
KCandle lights and fireworks are carried in procession before offering to the pagoda
Taunggyi Tazaungdine Festival
Taunggyi Tazaungdine Festival attracts many pilgirms and foreigners. A traditionally Shan festival with a competition of hot air balloon , fireworks to
Pho Win Taung Festival, Monywa
Like other pagoda festival 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.
Shinn Mar Le Pagoda Festival, Thazi
Celebrated at the time of the Tazaung Dine Festival. People throe with lotus flowers to the top of the stupa, located at the North entrance of the Mahamuni Pagoda, as homage to the Lord Buddha.
Robe Weaving Contest, Throughout Myanmar
The robe weaving ceremony is held on the eve of the day before full moon day in one night. This is a competition for the weaving skills between teams of women to complete special saffron-coloured robes, called “Ma Tho Thin Gan” from the evening onwards at dawn. It is still done in the traditional way and lots of people enjoy watching the demonstrations. At dawn, the robes are offered to the great image of Lord Buddha and followed by the prize giving ceremony for the winners.
Kaunghmudaw Pagoda Festival,
The most interesting aspect of this festival is the caravan of bullock-carts in the pagoda compound. Some of the carts carry their village products, such as hand-woven cotton cloths and cane mats, to sell them there. They like to camp under the shade of the trees.
The Nadaw full moon is a time for honoring the spirit world and nat festivals (nat-pwe) are held in many parts of the country. Christmas Day is also a public holiday.