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Festivals in Myanmar
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Myanmar is the land of Festivals; a festival for every month of the year. Majority of the festivals are cultural and religious. Contact us for the latest festival calendar.

Here are The Special Festivals besides the annual Festivities at the Pagodas throughout Myanmar are –

JANUARY

Manaw Festival

Place : Myitkyina, Kachin State

Time : 10th January 2018

Duration : 1 day

manaw-festival-01

Description : The KACHIN, one of the largest ethnic races of Myanmar live in the Northern part of the country. The most interesting festival is MANAW festival which has been celebrated more than three decades. It is a reunion of all KACHIN tribes. The traditional MANAW poles decorated in KACHIN motifs are in the centre of MANAW ground. Sounds of brass gongs are heard and a line of dancers approaches the MANAW poles. As usual for all mountain people, the dance is communal and everybody joins in line behind the leaders. It is a show of gratitude to their ancestral spirits and their wish for a bright future. You can see everybody in their finest native costumes, especially the womenfolk with silver flash from their blouses.

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How to get there : It can be reached by air to Myitkyina from Yangon and Mandalay. The charter boat trip along the Ayeyarwaddy River on the way back to Mandalay is unforgettable.

Accommodation : Only 2-3* hotels are available in this remote area, but you will be provided to stay at the best available hotels in MYITKYINA and guest house in INDAWGYI LAKE by our arrangement.

Road Condition to INDAWGYI Lake and MYITSON is bumpy.

Recommended Short Program (which should be combined with your choice of tour):

8th OF JANUARY : YANGON / MANDALAY – MYITKYINA (BY FLIGHT)
Morning transfer to airport for flight to MYITKYINA. Upon arrival at MYITKYINA, sightseeing to downtown area.

9th OF JANUARY : MYITKYINA – MYITSON – MYITKYINA (BY LAND)
Excursion trip to confluence of MAIKHA & MALIKHA crossing through villages.

10th OF JANUARY : MANAW FESTIVAL
Enjoy the festival in the morning and you are invited the annual dinner of KACHIN National Day in the evening.

11th OF JANUARY : MYITKYINA – INDAWGYI (BY LAND)
7 hours drive to INDAWGYI LAKE.

12th OF JANUARY : INDAWGYI – MYITKYINA (BY LAND)
Sightseeing by boat on the Lake and drive back to Myitkyina.

13th OF JANUARY : DEPART FROM MYITKYINA by air to Yangon or Mandalay OR by car to BHAMO and then to MANDALAY by charter boat.

Ananda Temple Festival in Bagan

 

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Place : Anada Temple Precincts

Time : 25th December 2017 – 15th January 2018 (Recommended to recheck the final occasion time with us.)

Duration : 22 days

Description : It is the biggest occasion in Bagan. Alms-bowls filled with crops are offered to monks who all wait in a long line. Pilgrimage and holiday outings on country bullock carts can be seen. In front of the pagoda there is a fairground with market stalls and restaurants.

Program : One or two days of this occasion program should be combined with your choice of tour including Bagan.

Mahamuni Pagoda Festival

Place : Mahamuni Pagoda Precinct, Mandalay.

Time : 30th  -  31st January 2018

Duration : 2 days

Glutinous rice delicacy contests are held late on 14th Waxing day. On the morning of 15th Waxing day / full moon day, incense is burnt in large flames in a symbolic gesture of offering heat to the great image.

APRIL

Thingyan (Water) Festival & Myanmar New Year

Place : THINGYAN is celebrated throughout the country, but the ‘biggest’ action is in Yangon and Mandalay.

Time : 13th - 16th April 2018, 17th April 2018 (Myanmar New Year Day)

Duration : The Water Festival lasts four, or occasionally five days.

water-festival-01Description : During the Water Festival, young people splash water at one another to wash away sins and to have a good time flirting and drinking, while older people retreat to the monasteries and observe the eight precepts including fasting after noon.

The streets of Yangon and Mandalay are packed with thousands of residents and visitors dousing each other with water and enjoying dance and music performances staged on roadside stages, built specially for the festival period. Special interest at THINGYAN is beautiful decorated cars which go round the town entertaining the people, singing, dancing and chanting. The traffic stands still, visiting the city’s tourist sights is virtually impossible and it’s highly recommended leaving expensive photo equipment at home.

During the festivities, THAN-GYAT or satirical rhyming couplets are called out with a lead singing the first line and the chorus responding. Special THINGYAN sweets - MOUN-LON-YE-BAW, rice dumplings with a jaggery centre are cooked as a ritual by boys and girls. When cooked, they float to the top of the boiling water (YE-BAW). Sometimes a chiLLI is substituted for the jaggery.

water-festival-02THINGYAN dates back to the Burmese kings and is also celebrate as SONGKRAN in Thailand. But it is not a religious festival, strictly speaking, and is not determined by the phases of the moon. According to legend, SAKKRA, King of the DEVAS, and ARSI, King of the Brahmas, made a bet whereby the loser would be decapitated. ARSI lost the wager and his head. The Brahmas cut off an elephant's head and fixed it on his body and he became the god GANESH. Since it was said that the earth would be consumed by flames and the oceans would dry up if ARSI'S head fell into them, seven celestial goddesses were charged with holding the head for a year each. When they pass it from one to another, this represents the New Year.

On the eve of THINGYAN, Day 1, only children are allowed to throw water before it gets too wild. On Day 2, the Descent Day, THAGYARMIN (SAKKRA), the Lord of THINGYAN is said to descend from his celestial abode. On the intervening day(s), he records saints and sinners in his book, before returning to heaven on Ascent Day, the day before the New Year.

The throwing of water originally took place from a silver bowl from which THANAKHA scented water was scattered with THA-BYE (Eugenia) leaves. Nowadays, water pistols and motor-driven pumps are used.

Astrologers from Mandalay distribute the annual THINGYAN-SAR or almanac which predicts the situation for the coming year, including the weather, pests, economy etc.

17 Apr 2015, New Year's Day: Buddhists throughout the country perform meritorious deeds such as releasing animals at KABA AYE Pagoda and elsewhere, offering alms, and paying homage to their elders. Water-throwing is forbidden except in the village YOGO south of MAWLAMYINE.

Program : One or two days of this occasion program in Yangon or Mandalay should be combined with your choice of tour.

August

TAUNG PYONE NAT (SPIRIT) FESTIVAL

Place : TAUNG PYONE village, about 10 km north of Mandalay, on the Mandalay – Mogoke Road.

Time : 2nd - 7th August 2017(Recommended to recheck the final occasion time with us.)

Duration : 6 Days

taungpyone-nat-01Description : The background history of the festival dates back to the BAGAN Period. After the empire King ANAWRAHTA’S Army went to attack the MONGOLS at the Burma – Chinese border. On the way back, he camped at the TAUNG PYONE Village. In the King’s Army, the two young generals SHWE PYIN NYI NAUNG, adopted sons of the King who got the supernatural power were very popular. As youngsters, they enjoy drinking and gambling all the time. The King was building a pagoda at that village. He ordered everyone of his Army to participate. The two young generals didn’t. The jealous ministers purposely did the plan by not placing the two bricks that were of the two generals. So the two bricks were missing after completion of the pagoda (We can still see this today). When the King found out that, he ordered to execute the two heroes and since then they became Nats (Spirits), and the King deified them as the guardian spirits of the area. They are the most popular among the 37 Nats deified by the people.

taungpyone-nat-02Nowadays, TAUNG PYONE is the most famous Nat festival in the country. Tens of Thousands of Myanmar People attend this annual celebration, held in honour of the TAUNG PYONE Brother lords. Not only TAUNG PYONE brother statues, but also Series of 37 NAT statues on the stands are offered food and flowers, cash and alcohol. All the Nat mediums and those who believe and worship Nat’s gather in the village. Thousands of people are visiting the hundred some NATS Pavilions to consult a medium for their future prospects and fortunes. The mediums entertain the crowds with Nat dance with the traditional Nat music and performance during night and day.

The whole area is occupied with circus and cultural dances, music and magic shows, fortunetellers and tattoo shops. Thousands of people come here every day during the festival.

Program : One or two days of this occasion program should be combined with your choice of tour including Mandalay.

OCTOBER

The Thadingyut Festival or Festival of Lights

Place : Throughout Myanmar

Time : 4th - 6th October 2017

Duration : 3 days

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 during the year.

Elephant Dance Festival (Dummy Elephant Festival)

Place : Kyaukse in Mandalay Division, about 16 km away from Mandalay

Time : 4th - 5th October 2017

Duration : 2 days

Elephants made of paper and cloth on a bamboo frame are animated by two men inside and carried around the town towards the pagoda on the Kyaukse Hill. A dance competition features these elephants. Numerous life-size dummy elephants sing and dance to the accompaniment of music.

NOVEMBER

Hot Air Balloon Festival in Taunggyi

hot-air-balloon-festival-01Place : Taunggyi in Shan State

Time : 29th October - 3rd November 2017

Duration : 7 Days

Description : During this typical ‘Pa-O’ festival, hot-air balloons are released day and night, and compete for attractiveness and height attained. During the day, animal figures are flown, and at night, there are fireworks and bamboo and gunpowder rockets launched, and lighted balloons are sent up as high as possible.

How to get there : It takes about 1 hour drive from Inle and 2 hours drive from Heho Airport.

Recommended Accommodation : Ayetharyar Golf Resort Program

Program: One or two days of this occasion program should be combined with your choice of tour including Inle Region.

Shwezigon Pagoda Festival

Place : Shwezigon Pagoda, Bagan

Time : (27th October to  18th November 2017)

Duration : 16 days

Candle lights and fireworks are carried in procession before offering to the pagoda.

Tazaung-daing or Festival of Lights

Place : Throughout the country 

Time : 3rd November 2017

Duration : 1 days

Having fine weather and clear sky, and having the first crop harvested, Myanmar celebrate the night with various kinds of illuminations. Treasure hunts (pant-tha-ku) are organized for the children and donors hide and hand out money, sweets and presents.

Robe-weaving Contest

Place : Shwedagon Pagoda or elsewhere 

Time : 2nd November 2017

Duration : 1 days

An all-night weaving competition takes place at the Shwedagon Pagoda, on the night before the full moon day. The robe is to be finished flawlessly overnight and offered at dawn to the images around the pagodas.

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