Myanmar Festivals

January

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Manao Festival (Kachin state – MyitKyi Na &Bhamo)

Date                – 10th January
Duration       – Only one day

Manaw festival is held in Myitkyina ,Putao in Kachin State and celebration of the New Year.The main feature of the festival is dancing around the erected Manaw poles and all who come to the festival wear their best costume.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.

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Anandar Pagoda Festival (Bagan)

Date                           – 23rd to 29th January
Duration                   – one week

This festival was held on the full moon day of Pyatho. During these festival villagers come in caravans of covered ox – carts camp out for the duration of this exciting of country fair. This is the most important pagoda festival in

central and upper Myanmar.

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Anandar Pagoda Festival (Bagan)

Date                           – 23rd to 29th January
Duration                   – one week

This festival was held on the full moon day of Pyatho. During these festival villagers come in caravans of covered ox – carts camp out for the duration of this exciting of country fair. This is the most important pagoda festival in

central and upper Myanmar.

February

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Mahamuni Pagoda Festival ( Mandalay)

Date                           – 17th to 18th January
Duration                  – 2 Days

This festival is celebrated in full moon day of Tabotwe. During this festival, thousands of people from all over the country make the pilgrimage to the MahamuniPagoda.A variety of incense sticks are burnt for the Myanmar Buddha image on the full moon day and Glutinous rice (which is a delicacy) contests are also held on the pagoda’s platform.

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Wa, Lisu, Lahu New Year Festival (KyaingTong,ShanState)

Date                           – 01st to 02nd February
Duration                  – 2 Days

Similar with Kachin New Year Festival and celebrated at the same day of Chinese new year. Sacrificing cum dancing in different way in this day.

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Kyaikkhauk Pagoda Festival (Thanlyin, Yangon)

Date                           – 25th February to 02nd March
Duration                  – 6 Days

KyaikKhauk Pagoda Festival is one of the famous pagoda festivals around Yangon. There are some activities in this festival such as Stage Show and Movies shown in the open air the whole night every day. The famous entertainment is Zat (a variety of dance, song and short and long plays), Anyient (a performance takes few hours with traditional Myanmar dance and some comedian).

March

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Shwemyitsu Pagoda Festival (Inn dawgyi Lake, MyitKyiNa ,Kachin State)

Date                           – 14th to 21st March
Duration                  – 13 Days

This pagoda festival is held in March. In this festivaltwo sandbanks are washed up by the waves before the festival begins so that people can walk from the bank to the pagoda. Everyone believes that the on sandbank is for human and the other one is for the spirit (Natt). The two sandbanks disappear into the lake shortly after the festival.

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Pindaya Cave Festival (Pindaya, Shan State)

Date                           – 14th to 21st March
Duration                  – 13 Days

This pagoda festival is held in Tabaung (March.) The native tribes such as Danu, Pa-O, Taung Yoe and Palaung make offerings on the full moon day. Festivities include performances by roaming artists and there is a busy market.

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Shwedagone Pagoda Festival (Yangon)

Date                           – 21rd to 28th March

Duration                  – 8 days

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival is one of the famous fest in the country. It has been known due to the Shwedagon Pagoda which is considered as the world’s luxurious pagoda embellish with gems and weighs like gold beyond measure. Literally, “Shwe” in Burmese means “gold”. The Statue stands 99 meters tall plated with golds and thousands of diamonds. The event takes place at Yangon Division during Tabaung or March month every year. One of the amazing highlights of this event is the radiant city during the night, over thousands of crowds from different countries and neighboring countries et to celebrate with the residents.

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TaungGweZedi Festival (Loi Kaw, Kayar State)

Date                           – 21rd -28th March
Duration                  – 8 Days

Thousand Buddhist monks are offered food on the full moon day. Long necked green, red dressed Kayan and black dressed Kayah among other minorities are seen.

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Kekku Pagoda Festival (Taunggyi, Shan State)

Date                           – 21rd -28th March
Duration                  – 8 Days

Traditional Pa O Theatrical performances and singing contests are included

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Bawgyo Image Festival (Tibaw, Shan State)

Date                           – 23rd- 26th March
Duration                  – 4 Days

A large volume of Shan and Burma merchandise is traded. There are boat races on Dottawadiriver

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Nam Pan Ceremony (Inle Lake, Shan State)

Date                           – 23rd – 26th March
Duration                  – 4 Days

The sight of numerous monks who come in boats to receive food offerings is striking view.

April

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ShweSar Yan Pagoda Festival (Mandalay)

Date                           – 19th to 27th April
Duration                  – 8 Days

The grand Pagoda festival is held yearly from the full moon day of Dabaung. If you have a chance ever to join the Shwesayan pagoda festival, you can witness for yourselves the traditional culture and beautiful natural superb panoramic views of Upper Myanmar.

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Shwemawdaw Pagoda Festival (Bago)

Date                           – 11th to 18th April
Duration                  – 9 Days

Classical theatre troupes perform their best here so they will be booked by agents for the next pagoda season.

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Bo Min Khaung Memorial (Mt.Popa)

Date                           – 15th to 19th April
Duration                  – 4 Days

A great personality by the name of Bo Min Khaung is remembered on this day for his higher attainment through meditation.

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Thingyan Festival (Water Festival) ( all over the country)

Date                           – 13th to 16th April
Duration                  – 4 Days

MahaThingyan is Myanmar New Year celebration. One of the largest and most widely celebrated holidays in Myanmar. This is held at the second week of April (hot season) and 4 days longs. Both young and old alike gather together to sing and dance and especially to shootand throw water  at anyone and everyone coming their way.Decorated floats and water throwing Pandals are seen everywhere including the more remote areas. If you are someone ready for merry making and getting soaked this is afestival you should not miss.

April

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Shithoung pagoda festival (Mrauk U, Rakhine State)

Date                           – 17th to 24th May
Duration                  – 8 Days

Traditional wrestling competitions, boat races in the river, dummy boat races on land and water splashing in Mrauk U canal are some of the highlights of this festival.

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Kason Full moon Festival  All over the country

Date                           – 16th to 17th May
Duration                  – 2 Days

This is held on the full moon day of Kason. In this day, carrying pots of water and oil lamps and candles to be lit at the foot of the Pagoda. By watering the sacred Bo tree the pilgrims honor the tree under which theBudda’s birth, enlightenment and passing away took place.

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TaungYoe Festival (Pindaya Cave, Shan State)

Date                           – 16th to 17th May
Duration                  – 2 Days

In this festival, people make a torch light at the night to pay homage to the Buddha images in the Pindaya cave.

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Pa-Oh Rocket Festival (Taunggyi , Shan State)

Date                           – 16th to 17th May
Duration                   – 2 Days

People made sky rockets containing gun powder which are launched in competition while young girls and boys tease each other using small mirrors. This festival is celebrated mostly by the Pa-Oh ethnic group.

June

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Buddhist Recitation, Kaba Aye hillock ( Yangon)

Date                           – 15th to 16th June
Duration                  – 2 Days

This religious ceremony takes place at Kaba Aye hillock where five parts of the Nikaya are recited by both monks and nuns, similar recitations held in other parts of the country.

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Mt. Popa Nat Spirit Festival ( Mt. Popa)

Date                           – 15th to 16th June
Duration                  – 2 Days

The festival of spirits held at the top of the mountain is for those of you energetic climbers (777 steps to climb) who will be fortunate enough to witness ‘a never seen before sight’ once you reach the peak.

July

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Wicker ball ceremony (Chin Lone Match) (Mandalay)

Date                           – 1st to 30th July
Duration                  – 1 Month

Wicker ball players from all over the country take part in this exciting contest

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Waso Full Moon Festival (All Over the country)

Date                           – 21st to 22th July
Duration                  – 1day

This is the start of the Buddhist lent where monks confine themselves to their monasteries for 3 months in order to meditate during the monsoon season.

August

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TaungByone Nat Pwe(Madayar, Mandalay)

Date                           – 08th to 14th August
Duration                  – 1 week

This traditional festival and you can witness tens and thousands of people getting together to celebrate this festival.

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Kyaungdawyar Pagoda Festival (Min Bu, Magway)

Date                           – 18th August to 14th November
Duration                  – 3 Months

People gather at the Pagoda to feed the shawls of fish that make their appearance only during this period, feeding the belief of locals that the fish come annually to pay homage to the Pagoda.

September

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Manuha Pagoda Festival (Bagan)

Date                           – 12th September
Duration                  – 1 Day

This Festival if one of the famous festival in Bagan and held at Manuha Pagoda Temple. During the festival. rice cakes and pickled winter melon are served to all comers from near and far. The Myinkaba region dwellers donate these to all visitors. This is a part of the traditional practice of this festival. This tradition is also believed to have been descended from the time of the King Manuha. Monks from many monasteries around the region are invited to the Manuha Pagoda and are offered rice on the morning of the Full Moon Day of Tawtalin.

October

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PhaungDawOo Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake, Shan State)

Date                           – 28th to 15th October
Duration                  – 13 Days

The 18 day festival is the most important festival in the Shan state. In a procession of boats four of the five images of the Buddha are removed from their shrine in the Phaung Daw Oo pagoda and placed on the Royal

Karaweik barge. The barge is towed by long boats manned by up to a hundred leg rowers in colorful costumes. The Royal barge stops at 14 villages around Inlelake, where the images stay in the main monastery for one night. Another highlight of the festival are the long boat races, the rowers standing upright and rowing with an oar attached to one leg.

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MyaThaLun Pagoda Festival (Magwe)

Date                           – 08th to 12th October
Duration                  – 5 Days

The major events include lighting 9000 candles, offering alms to 1700 monks in the morning and Buddhist chanting. You shouldn’t miss the mesmerizing beauty of the Pagoda by the River bank.

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Thadingyut Light Festival ( All over the country)

Date                           – 11st to 12th October
Duration                  – 1 Day

During Thadingyut, pagodas and homes throughout the country are decorated with electric lights, colourful paper lanterns, candles and even small ceramic saucers filled with oil in which wicks are lit. Majo religious sites such as Shwedagon Pagoda are packed with pilgrims who light candles to pay homage to the Buddha and gain merit. Each light adds to the incredible spectacle of thousands of small flames burning in the night. Out on the streets, meanwhile, some people light fireworks or launch small hot-air balloons, which silently ascend and drift across the sky before burning out.

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Dummy Elephant Festival (Kyauk Se, Mandalay)

Date                           – 11st to 12th October
Duration                  – 1 Day

A dance competition celebrating on full moon day of Thadingyut with artificial elephants constructed by bamboo, cloth, paper and as much gilt foil and glitter in Kyaukse Township.

November

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Balloons Flying Festival (Taunggyi, Shan State)

Date                           – 5th to 10th November
Duration                  – 6 Days

This is one of the most famous and popular Festival annually held in Taunggyi on the full-moon day of Tazaungmone. Traditionally, it is a festival to pay homage to the Sulamani Pagoda by sending up decorated hot air balloons, and lately it also became as a Hot Air Balloon Competition Festival. The festival is divided into two parts; The day competitions will usually feature balloons in the form of pagodas and animals whereas the night competitions will feature balloons in huge stretched out ball shapes and smaller multicolored paper lanterns. The balloons are released as offerings to Sulamani Cetiya, a heaven in the Buddhist cosmology and are believed to drive away evil spirits.

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Tazaungdaing Light Festival ( All over the country)

Date                           – 9th to 10th November
Duration                  – 1 Day

This festival is also known as the Festival of Lights is held on the full moon of Tazaungmon. During the festival robe weaving competition to weave yellow monk robes known as mathothingan are held throughout the country. In Shan State, primarily in Taunggyi, hot air balloons lit with candles are released into the air. Hot air balloon competitions are held both at night and day. Giving offerings or charity as a means of merit making or paying respects to the elderly and visit pagodas are also common during the Tazaungdaing festival .

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Robe Weaving Contest (All over the country)

Date                           – 9th to 10th November
Duration                  – 1 Day

On the eve of the full moon, hundreds of women gather at Pagodas across the country to take part in the robe weaving competition the whole night  and offered to the statues of Buddha in the Pagoda at the crack of dawn.

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Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival ( Golden Rock, Mon State)

Date                           – 9th to 10th November
Duration                  – 1 Day

This festival is held as a continuation of the robe offering festival (Kathein) at the famous golden rock. The highlight of the night is the lighting of 9999 candles at midnight in the Pagoda premises. This is followed by the event of serving visitors with a mixed salad of maezali buds believed to hold a powerful magical quality which will be transferred to the person consuming it at this time of the festival.

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KaungMudaw Festival (Sagaing)

Date                           – 9th to 10th November
Duration                  – 2 Days

Held as a continuation of the robe offering ceremony, this place is the best to watch Myanmar puppet shows in the midst of pilgrims and holiday goers in ox carts.

December

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Flower Festival (PyinOoLwin, Mandalay Division)

Date                           – 21st to 22th December
Duration                  – 1 Day

The Pyin Oo Lwin Flower Festival will be held in National Kandawgyi Gardens .The festival will display foreign flower species, artificial flowers and local flower species totaling about 130,000.