Traveling to Myanmar, you will realize that most of Burmese festivals are related to Buddhism. If you have the chance to visit this country, you should participate in at least one of the top 5 major festivals in Myanmar to understand more about culture and people in here.
Thingyan – New Year Festival
Took place on the New Year’s days, Thingyan Festival is a very important and meaningful event of the Burmese people. With more than 90% of the population being Buddhists, the Land of Golden Temple – Myanmar still preserve the cultural values from the ancient times. Thingyan, the New Year Festival or Water Festival, a significant event of Burmese people also brings the typical features of Buddhism. The festival often falls on the second week of April every year and lasts three or four days.
The festival is held all over the country and people often splash water on others. Powerful water pipes douse people driving by in jeeps and trucks. Burmese people believe that the water will wash away all of the previous year’s bad things and welcome the new year with the luck.
Previously, on the New Year Festival, people often prepared fragrant water which made from different kinds of flowers and leaves put in bowls and placed in front of their house during the festival. The water on each day will be prepared by different kinds of leaf but now people use tap water instead of fragrant water. Passersby are splashed by others and all the unlucky things will wash away.
The traditional food during the festival is the rice balls called “mont loun yeibaw” filled with palm sugar inside. It is cooked by throwing the rice balls in a container with boiling water and taken out of the container when they finally surfaced.
Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most sacred and greatest pagodas in Myanmar. It is also the place where Shwedagon Festival took place – a very important traditional event and has great impact on the spiritual life of people in this country.
The festival is held in half-month with many activities, traditional rituals of Buddhism. It was started with a morning parade in which thousands of people in traditional costumes, walk barefoot around the stupas in the temple complex. The sounds of gongs at every corners of the Shwedagon Pagoda and chanting of hundreds of monks create an extremely sacred atmosphere.
Outside the temple ground is the entertainment space with a number of cultural performances sục as puppet shows or traditional dancing. There is also a food area, fair and vendors selling handicrafts and food from all over country.
Myanmar Music Festival
Visitors will be enjoyed the Myanmar traditional music performances with a traditional orchestra including: a set of drums, gongs, bamboo bells and wind instrumens like hne and flute. In folk music, the saung-gauk is one the most special things of Burmese people which has shape like a boat and is often used for ancient songs.
Besides the folk music, the traditional dances of Myanmar are also very impressive. The dance of the country has the origination from pre-Buddhist times when dancing is the must-activities in worshiping of the nat.
Phaung Daw U Festival
One of the most important and popular festivals in Myanmar, especially in Shan state is Phaung Daw U, which is celebrated around late September or early October to honor the Buddha. During the festival, many colorful boats will be marched to different villages around Inle Lake. The most prominent is the barge with the golden bird shape representing Myanmar’s mythology, carrying five small Buddha of Phaung Daw U Temple inside.
Thadingyut – Festival of Light
The Thadingyut Festival lasts three days in the full moon month of the Thadingyut calendar (around mid-October). This is the festival attracting many tourist of Myanmar. During the festival, people decorate their house, the streets are filled with light. They hold many activities in order to raise money for charities. Children often bring candles and small gifts to show the respect to the elderly people.
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