Myanmar Holidays and Festivals

 

The traditional Burmese calendar has 12 months, each with a party. Most are related to Buddhism and in each locality the Paya Pwè (pagoda festival) is the most important event.

The Pagoda festival in Mandalay takes place towards the end of September - beginning of October: Dancing and traditional music shows. Small markets are located at the foot of the hill and pagodas.

The Nat Pwe is the feast of Nat. The most famous is Taungbyon, 30 km north of Mandalay. This festival takes place in August (8 days). Spirits are invoked by dancing, drinking and playing music.

The Nadaw festival takes place in November (date depending on the moon), at Mount Popa, in honor of the Nats. People dance and sing with traditional instruments.

Great Phaung-Daw U Festival : Every year for 18 days, at the time of the full moon in October, huge decorated boats travel from one village to another on Inle Lake with sacred Buddha statues on board. The monasteries are visited and the statues are honored by the monks.

The boat that leads the procession is royal. It represents the Karaweik, the golden bird of Burmese mythology. This "sacred" boat is guarded by wise men and priests, and carries a canopy sheltering 4 of the 5 Buddha statues of the Phaung-Daw U Pagoda. Why 4 out of 5 Buddha statues? The story goes that during a ceremony in the 1960s, the wind capsized the barge as the five Buddha statues were on board. They then all fell in the water. Immediately, research was launched to find the Buddha statues. Only one of them has never been found. But back in the Monastery, the missing Buddha was miraculously installed in his place. Since then, by superstition, he has not left his place.

This traditional festival also gives rise to races of rowers standing, dressed in traditional costumes. This is one of the most beautiful aquatic shows in Southeast Asia, which attracts a lot of visitors.

 

Festivals

 

Date

Festival

Content

January 4th

Independence Day

 The country's independence from the United Kingdom was proclaimed on 4 January 1948

February 12th

Feast of the Union

Feast in honor of Aung San, the father of Burmese Independence

March 2nd

Peasant’s Day

 In honor of the "major human resource"

March 27th

Armed Forces Day

Parades and fireworks

April 13th – 18th

Buddhist New Year

Date not specified. Burmese Songkran. Feast of the water.

May 1st

Labor Day

 

May

Vesak

Date not specified. Vesak - Anniversary of Buddha.

June – July

Vassa

Date not specified. Vassa - Celebration of the beginning of Buddhist Lent or the rainy season.

July 19th

Martyrs Day

Remembrance of the 7 martyrs: Aung San and his 6 colleagues murdered on July 19, 1947.

October – November

Full Moon Thadingyut

 Celebration of the end of Buddhist Lent. Candles and light balloons

October – November

Full Moon of Tazaungmone

Date not specified. Kathina

November 14th

National Holiday

Date not specified. 10 days after Kathina. In memory of the exile of the last king, and student protests against the British in 1928.

December 23rd

Karen’s New Year

 

December 25th

Christmas

 

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