Myanmar Festivals

The Myanmar calendar subscribes to both the solar and lunar months thus requiring an intercalary 30-day 13th month every second or third year. Therefore the full moon days may change from one month to another in the usual calendar. The Myanmar months and the respective festivals are as follows.

January (Nadaw/Pyartho)

Ananda Pagoda Festival (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. 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-staff and enjoy the local atmosphere in locality.

Naga New Year (Sagaing)

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 aspect 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.

Kachin Manao Festival (Kachin)

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 are 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.

February (Pyartho/Dabodwei)

Htamane Festival (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 overnight. 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 (Mandalay)

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 a 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.

Salone Festival (Tanintharyi Region)

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 is a rare opportunity.

March (Dabodwei/Tabaung)

Shwe Dagon Pagoda Festival (Yangon)

The festival of the Shwedagon Pagoda is celebrated on the fullmoon day of Tabaung (March) every year. This is the eand mark of Myanmar. vistible 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 enshrinijg the sacred hair relies of the sord Buddha in this life time brought by the two young trader brothers Tapuss a and Balirea who went to Buddha gaya to trade and came to see the sord Buddha in his early days of Enlightenment. The greatest festival is that of Tabung festival. The renovation works were greatly done and the escalator on the western stairway and the elevators in all others are beautifully fired and the elevators in all others are beautifully fired and the spires are rebuilt. Even the canopy is renovated with modern techniques.

Kakku Pagoda Festival (Inle)

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

Shwe Umin Pagoda Festival (Pindaya. Southern Shan State)

Pindaya Shwe Oo Min cave Pagoda festival is held on and 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 pagoda mall is set up at the foot of the hill under big shady Banyan trees to sell local products.

Sand Pagoda Festival (Countrywide)

One of the traditional festivals of the month Tabaung (March) is the festival of the pagoda or stupa on the broad sand banks along the river of the locality. It falls on the full moon day of the month, Tabaung. During the Pagoda festival, there are shopping malls where the visitors from adjacent villages buy and sell. The free shows of Theatrical troupes, dancing troupe and marionette troupe are engaged.

April (Tabaung/Tagu)

Mann Shwesettaw Festival

The land of festivals and the land of Pagodas are the names that make Myanmar famous among the well 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.

Thingyan Water Festival (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. 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 (Rakhine)

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. 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. 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 (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)

Full Moon Day of Kason (or) Bo Tree Watering Festival (Countrywide)

The month Kason usually falls on May of the English calendar. The month of 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 podiac 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 is this previous existence. Blessed by the prophecy of Depankar Buddha that he (sumedha) 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 tresses 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 Examination

The religious (Buddhist) examinations are usually held during the month of Na Yone (June). Since the time of the Myanmar Kings, the religious examinations for the novices and monks were held in the court yard annually including written test and viva voice. Nowadays the religious examinations were held for and wide all over the country.

July (Nayon/Waso)

Full Moon Day of Waso

Full moon day of waso is the fourth month of the traditional Burmese calendar.

August (Waso/ Wakhaung)

Taungpyone Festival

Mount Popa is a vast volcanic mountain that overwhelms the flat landscape. It is only about one hour drive from Bagan. Popa is located near Bagan and it has many legendary stories about the spirits (Nats) of today. This annual festival is known as Taung Byone festival it is usually held during the month of August. The Nats are believed to be super natural powerful beings. Stated between the gods and the spiritual beings. The Myanmars still worship them vigorously. And believe that the Nats can bring luck and prosperity to the worshippers and can also bring danger to those who do not respect them. The word "Nat" is unclear. It may be derive from the Hindu Natha which means lord. Savior or protector. This festival includes the following matters. Preparation for the Ritual, The Offerings, The Orchestra, The Possession The Nat Pwe is usually held for three days. The first day is for the Summoning the Nats. The second day is the Nats' feast. The third is the day for the Nats' departure. Devotees from a all over Myanmar. Comes to this special festival and offer their donations and enjoy themselves with the blessings of the spirits every year. They pray for prosperity fame and luck for the next coming year. So if you can have a visit to Myanmar to learn about new cultures and to have extraordinary experience. We recommend that you should visit this special festival of Mount Popa.

September (Wakhaung/Tawthalin)

Phaungdawoo Pagoda Festival (Shan State)

One of the famous principal shrines in Myanmar. This pagoda houses five small Buddha images. Once a year in end Sept-early Oct. there is a pagoda festival during which the five Buddha images are rowed around the Lake in a colourful barge. Situated in Inle Lake one of the most dazzling and magical places in Asia. It is held on a grand scale for 18 days usually falls in October (sometimes in September). 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 hundreds 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. Among the dance shows and fun-fairs the most interesting event of the festival. It is the one and only place in the world that one can see such marvelous act. The festival of Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is usually held during October. The festival takes about 18 days. The festival is held with great magnificence and pageantry. The holy Buddha's images are placed on a decorated royal barge and towed by leg-rowers around the lake. Inle Boat Competition There are also Shan traditional boat races participated by leg-rowers. People from all the villages nearby come to pay homage to the Images.

Manuha Pagoda Festival (Mandalay Region)

Manuha Pagoda Festival is held annually one day before the Full Moon Day of Tawtalin. Depending on the Lunar Calendar the festival is held in end of September or start of October. Manuha Pagoda Festival is celebrated for three consecutive days. 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. The parade of colourful paper mache figures roam around the city during the festival. The locals create colourful and beautiful decorations of images such as the Manuha King himself, Tigers, cows, elephants, horses and even some stars of today. The number of representation varies up to hundred. The parade goes on until the end of the day. Locals and foreign visitors enjoy the sight of the colourful paper mache figures and also the lifestyle of the Bagan locals. There are other entertainments such as Zat Pwe and Anyeint at the night time. Villager near and far never misses this opportunity of participating the Manuha Festival.

October (Tawthalin/Tadingyut)

Full Moon Day of Thadingyut (Countrywide)

Festival of Lights (Thadingyut) (Countrywide) Thadingyut is a seven-month of Burmese calendar and the end of lent. Three days of lights festival namely the day before full moon the full moon day and the days after. Illuminations are there to celebrate the anniversary of Buddha's return from the celestial abode where He had spent the lent teaching the celestials about His Law. Among the gods was the one who was the mother of Buddha reborn there. It was on the full moon day of Thadingyut month that Buddha descended to the abode of humans. He and His disciples were attended by a heavenly host of celestials who created a pathway of star ladder. Buddhist on earth illuminated the homes and streets to welcome Buddha and His disciples. History of Thadingyut Myanmar is rich in culture and has developed its own distinctive culture. Buddhism has great influence on the daily lives of Myanmar people. The Full Moon Day of Thadingyut is the Lighting Festival of Myanmar. The festival is held at the end of the lent on the festival day it as a custom. It celebrates the descent of Buddha from heaven after he preached the Abidhama (the most difficult of Buddhist teaching) to his mother reborn in heaven. Why do people light up? When Lord Buddha descended from heaven after preaching his reborn mother, people all over the country light candles to welcome back. As years passed by it became a tradition and a festival. The festival in a small town and villages are more enjoyable than in cities. In small towns there are small earthen saucers filled with sesame oil where pieces of cotton are used as wicks. People collect donations for charity decoration and entertainment purposes. Roads and streets are full with amateur dancing group’s music troupe’s stalls and spectators for free entertainment. On the festival day groups of young people and children can be seen walking with candles and gifts in their hands to pay respect elders. In Burmese we call Kadaw, actually it is more than paying respects or doing obeisance. For the Buddhist the Buddha, His law, His Order of the Sangha. Parents and Teachers are the first to be reserved next come those who are older and those to whom we owe gratitude.

Dancing Elephant Festival (Kyaukse)

Dancing Elephant Festival is also another famous festival in Myanmar. It is held in Kyaukse near Mandalay. It is a marvelous performance of two men together to dance in rhythm. A huge elephant figure is made from bamboo and paper. Men take their places inside the figure and dance around the town to the accompaniment of Dobat and Drums. The elephant dancers circles three times at the foot of the hill to pay homage to the Shwe Tha Lyaung Pagoda. It is a dance that requires precise rhythm and timing in order for the elephant dancers to maintain unity inside the elephant figure. People from far and near come to visit Kyaukse and watch the elephant dance.

Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival (Mon State)

The famous legendary Pagoda on the Golden Rock about 160 Km from Yangon and 11 km of hiking from the base camp at Kyaikhto. Visitors can also go by car up to a point about a mile away from the Pagoda. This pagoda is situated on a rocky mountain 3615 ft above sea level. The Kyaikhtiyo pagoda is one of the most ancient and celebrated of all pagodas in Myanmar. During the festival time most of the local places and hotels around the pagoda are fully booked. Some people travel to the base of the mountain by car and then hike up the mountain on foot. Some people climb the mountain by ferry buses. Some hike up with carriers.

November (Tadingyut/Tazaunmone)

Matho Thingan (Yangon)

Yellow Robe Weaving Festival (Countrywide) This festival of Tazaungmon is an auspicious time for offering of yellow robes to the monks. The Buddha's mother reincarnated as a god in Tavatimsa perceived from her heavenly abode that her son would soon be discarding the royal robes and wearing a monk's garments. She wanted to provide the yellow robes of the monk and she had only a night's time. But she had it woven in a single night and offered to the Prince (Siddhata) by a celestial messenger. In commemoration of this event weaving competitions of yellow robes are held all over the country. An offering of Kathein thingan (ceremony for offering of yellow robes) to the monks is usually a big affair in large cities of Myanmar. Offering ceremonies consist of a thousand and one gifts pooled by the whole town beside the prime gift of Yellow robes. The Kathein festivals account for the greatest significance in Tazaungmone.

Hot-air balloon Festival (Shan State)

Taunggyi is the capital of the Southern Shan State and it lies 1.430 meters above the sea level and has a moderate climate. The most significant festival is the annual Tazaungdine Lighting Festival which is around October and November. Lu Ping festival commonly known as hot balloon festival celebrates by Pa O. one of the many ethnic groups in the region. On the occasion people enjoy fun and merriment by holding firework-launching competitions. The firework is in the form of rockets. There is also hot balloons competitions on the day and night occasions. Day balloons are usually in the form of Pagodas and animals such as elephant. dragon or ducks while the night balloons usually in the shape of rugby ball huge elongated paper balls with small lighted multicolored paper lanterns hung around their sides and balloons would sting along fireworks and fire sticks which are set off mid-air fireworks.

Kahtein Thingan Offering (Country wide)

Kahtein Festival is held annually after the duration between the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut and the Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone. The Kahtein robe offering and donation of Kahtein tree or the Padaytharpin are also another famous act in Myanmar.

Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone

Tazaungmone in Myanmar Calendar is the month of November. It is among the 12 months when the rainy season ends and winter comes in. At that time in Myanmar the seasonal Khawei flowers are in full bloom. On the night of full moon day of Tazaungmone 9.999 candles were lighted and offered to Koehtatkyi Pagoda in SanChaung Township Yangon Division. The auspicious night the word 'Atula Dipati Mahamuni Thetkya Koehtetgyi Badhha' if add you will get the number 9 which we called Koenawin and the omen which means free of enemies and diseases exactly we started to light of 9.999 candles and offered them to Buddha. Myanmar preserves and adore to date.

December (Tazaunmone/Nadaw)

Kayin New Year Festival

Kayin New Year day is a National Public Holiday in Myanmar. Traditional Kayin costume was worn by most of the celebrants at the events. Many young and old Kayins wear their traditional colourful dresses and go around the city visit relatives and enjoy the festival. In Hpa An capital city of Kayin State dance competitions are held every year.