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Famous Festivals

Culture and pagoda festivals are usually held by lunar calendar and of festival’s dates are determined by this. Lunar calendar begins the month Tagu (meet in April) followed Kasone, Nayon, Waso, Wagaung, Tawthalin, Thidingyut, Tazaung mone, Nadaw, Pyatho, Tabodwe and ending Tabaung . Every year, Myanmar new year day always meet in mid of April( 16-18). The regular lunar year has 12 months while in the leap year the month Waso is split into two periods “first” and “second”.

The lunar month begins (the waxing phase) the day after the dark moon day until peaks on the full moon day and then tails off (the waning phase) to the next dark moon. The order of lunar days and months can be varied from Gregorian calendar one year to another. Hundreds of festivals take place up and down the country each year and some are big occasion, some are nation-wide. As an example, the Manau Festival in Myitkyina boasts dances performed by as many as of 2,000 revelers at one time.

“Thingyan” water festival is sprung across country. Manau festival, Naga new year festival, Chin national day and Akah, a big Shan ethnic festival are fixed according to Gregorian calendar. Some national or ethnic people festivals are held by their own calendar or by means of the decision of their heads, astrologist – e.g Thingyan water festival, Phaung Daw Oo pagoda festival, Karen new year festival. A festival offers opportunity to gain an insight into Myanmar’s life, traditions, culture, beliefs and same time to interact with local people.

Festivals in Kasone (May 2013)
Event : Sand stupa festival
Venue : Pa Le Ngwe Yaung quarter, Min Thar Su Quarter, Yahai Quarter / Mandalay
Period : The eve and full moon day of Kason ( May. 24-26, 2013)
Theme : Ritual related for Buddhist / small scale

In three different Mandalay quarters stupas are built with sand at the eve of Kason full moon day. Sand stupas are built up with five segments gradually converging to the top. Each layer of white sand is supported by bamboo-mats and -posts. The celebration dates are not the same and depend on the different quarters where the festival is held.

Event : Kason Fullmoon Day ( Watering ceremoniously to sacred Bodhi tree
Venue : Shwedagon ( Yangon) / Other significant pagodas
Period : Full moon day of Kasone ( May 24, 2013 )
Theme : Buddhist ritual deed

The Kason festival of watering the Sacred Bodhi (Banyan) tree symbolizes the birth, enlightenment and nirvana of Buddha. It is a holy Buddhist event followed processions and reciting Metta Sutta.

Event : Shwe Kyet Yet pagoda
Venue : Shwe Kyet yet pagoda - near Sagaing bridge
Period : Full moon day of Kasone ( May 23-24, 2013 )
Theme : Buddhist ritual deed

Like other pagoda festival is held before full moon day of Kasone. Small plays are performed locally.

Event : Taung Yoe Festival
Venue : Pindaya cave
Period : The eve and the full moon day of Kason (May. 16 - 17, 2013)
Theme : Taung Yoe ethnic ritual deed

Taung Yoe tribe make torchlight procession in the early part of the night of full moon day to pay homage to the numerous statues in the cave.

Event : Pa-O Rocket Festival
Venue : Taunggyi
Period : The eve and full moon day of Kason (May. 16 - 17, 2013)
Theme : Pa-O ethnic ritual deed

Locally made rockets stuffed with powerful gunpowder are ceremoniously carried and launched in competition. It is observed mostly by ethnic Pa-O to predicthe weather and crops. Young men and women use small mirrors to tease one another.

Event : Shite Thaung pagoda festival
Venue : Mrauk U
Period : The eve and full moon day of Kasone ( May 21-24, 2013)
Theme : Pagoda festival

Event : Shwe Guni Pagoda festival
Venue : Kyaukka village, 20 km east of Monywa
Period : 7th - 9th waning of Kasone( May 24 – 26 , 2013)
Theme : Pagoda festival

There is a 33 meters high Buddha image dating from the 14th century. Kyaukka Village is just beyond Shwe Guni Pagoda. It is the main center for the crafting of lacquer-ware since the Konbaung Era.

Festivals in Nayon (June 2013)
Event : Thihoshin Pagoda Festival
Venue : Pakokku
Period : 13th waxing day to 1st waning day of Nayon (June 14-17 , 2013)
Theme : Pagoda festival

In three different Mandalay quarters stupas are built with sand at the eve of Kason full moon day. Sand stupas are built up with five segments gradually converging to the top. Each layer of white sand is supported by bamboo-mats and -posts. The celebration dates are not the same and depend on the different quarters where the festival is held.

Event : Popa Nat festival
Venue : Mt Popa
Period : The eve and the full moon day of Nayone (May 09, 2013)
Theme : Nat small event

Young revelers from far and near climb to the top of Taungkalat which has 777 step snaking stairs. Make fun among the young.

Event : Wat Zom Kum rice offering ceremony
Venue : Kyaing Tong
Period : 10th waxing day of Nayon (June 26 , 2013)
Theme : Ritual and social

Like Danu ceremony in Pindaya. Single Danu youth throw roasted lablab beans at one another in a show of love.

Event : Chinlone (Wicker ball) competition
Venue : Mahamuni pagoda precinct, Mandalay
Period : 1st waxing day of Nayone till full moon day of Waso( July 13-23 , 2013 )
Theme : Traditional sport / physical exercise

Chin Lone (Wicker Ball) tournament is used to held in Mahamuni Pagoda compound almost a month for every day and night. Wicker ball players from all over the country come to Mandalay to enjoy it. We can see several ways of playing Chin Lone and racing by either team or individual together with local. Folk music is played while entertaining the audience.

Festivals in Waso ( July 2013)

The month of Waso in Myanmar calendar is associated with the offering of Waso Robe to the Buddhist monks viewed precursor to the Buddhist lent, at the eve of the full-moon day of Waso( Jul 22, 2013). After this day, the Buddhist monks are forbidden to travel and are required to spend lent in their monasteries. The robes are offered to use during the period of retreat. The full moon day of Waso( Jul 22, 2013) is commemorated the Lord Buddha's first sermon to his five disciples.

The holy day's religious activities can be found at the precincts of the famous pagodas and monasteries featuring; delivering sermons by Buddhist monks, reciting Pali verses praising Lord Buddha, offering meals to the monks. Buddhist Lent - The full moon of Waso is the beginning on the three month Buddhist 'Lent'. Laypeople present monasteries with stacks of new robes for resident monks, since during the lent period monks are restricted to their monasteries for a prolonged period of spiritual retreat. Ordinary people are also expected to be rather more religious during this time-marriages do not take place and it is inauspicious to move house. The most devout Myanmar Buddhist will observe eight precepts-rather than the usual five-for the duration of the season. This is a good time for young men to temporarily enter the monasteries.

Event : Waso Robe Offering and Dhama Sakya Day
Venue : Shwedagon and other famous pagodas / monasteries
Period : The eve and the full moon day of Waso( July 22 , 2013 )
Theme :  
Festivals in Wagaung ( August 2013)
Event : Shwe kyun pin nat pwe
Venue : near Mingun /Mandalay
Period : 3rd to 8th waxing day of Wagaung ( Aug. 08-11, 2013 )
Theme : Nat festival

According to the legend, the youngest brother of King Mindon fomented a rebellion and succeeded in ousting the Sawbwa of Hsipaw. Several of his six children got killed in this confrontation and Mindon’s brother did not rest until he eliminated all potential successors of Sawbwa of Hsipaw. One day his two surviving children were struck by a teak trunk and drowned in the Shweli River at Thit Maik Myun while attending a boat race.

Their mother died from heartbreak about this loss. The ‘Pagoda of Despair’ (Lwan Hpaya) was built at this place. Since then, the children were declared to be Nats and thus became the keepers of the river. After harvest time, hundreds of farmers, wearing colourful dresses, arrive with their beautifully decorated bullock carts at the Myatheindan Pagoda. They build a big tent as temporary housing for the Nat images. During these days the mediums perform Nat Dances in order to be granted a good harvest for the next season and to the delight of hundreds of spectators.

Event : Traditional clay ware sale
Venue : Si thar street, block 52, Padamyartaw quarter /Mandalay
Period : 7th to 9th waxing of Wagaung ( Aug 6-8 , 2013 )
Theme : Curiosity for country toys and utensils

Traditional clay ware sale is remained only in Mandalay. They were made from Nwenyein village from Shwebo and Sheinmakar village from Wetlet. The items sale are made of clay and jar such as small crockery, little toys, drinking pots, flower vase and varieties of other household utensils.

Event : Taung byone nat festival
Venue : Taung Byone village near Mandalay
Period : 10th waxing day to full moon day of Wagaung (Aug. 08-21, 2013)
Theme : A big festival for Nat believers

This festival is known as the major gathering spot for spiritual mediums. According to the legend, Byat Wi and Byat Ta, two Indian brothers, got extraordinary powers after they ate the body of a dead alchemist. Byat Wi, the older brother, lost his supernatural power, after he walked under a clothesline on which women's under-ware used in childbirth had been hung. He was captured and died after his loved ones offered him a quid of betel and a cup of water. Byat Ta was killed by King Anawrahta's magical lance, after he was again late to bring the fresh flowers from Mt. Popa for the Royal Audience, and thereupon his wife

Popa Medaw also died from broken heart. 15 years later, the two sons of Byat Ta and Popa Medaw, whom were adopted by King Anawratha, forgot to bring one brick each to build the "Pagoda of Wishes". King Anawratha soon found out who was responsible for this omission and gave the order to gently hit them with a fillet stick. As they were in the trap which the king's son, Kyansittha, planned from beginning on, they were instead hardly hit with a bamboo stick and died. Hundreds of mediums (Nat-Kadaw) and thousands of pilgrims come once a year to Taung Byone, where the statues of the two brothers are placed in a shrine and there stands still the "Pagoda of Wishes" with the two missing stones. It is the most impressive Nat Festival in Myanmar.

Event : Lawkananda pagoda festival
Venue : New Bagan
Period : 7th & 8th waxing day of Wagaung (Aug. 6 -7, 2013)
Theme : Pagoda festival, small event

Lawkananda pagoda exists by the shore of Ayeyarwaddy. Folk people nearby villages come in group. Host revelers and country people have chance being friends. Small plays are performed for fun.

Event : Myazedi pagoda Festival
Venue : Myingaba village, Bagan
Period : The eve and full moon day of Wagaung (Aug. 13 - 14, 2013)
Theme : Pagoda festival, small event

Myazedi pagoda is well known for it’s earliest Myanmar writing. It is a small festival with host revelers. Small plays are perform for fun.

Event : Tantkyi taung pagoda festival
Venue : Kyun Chaung , at the west of Ayeyarwaddy river, Bagan
Period : The eve and full moon day of Wagaung (Aug. 13 - 14, 2013)
Theme :  

Tant Kyi Taung Pagoda is the temple on top of the mountain across the Ayeyarwady River. The view from the mountaintop was breathtaking _ across the Ayeyarwady to Bagan and beyond. The sight of the mountain tapering down to the river’s edge in a series of crests and ravines for kilo-metres in either direction in a long serrated edge was spectacular. There were three smaller shrines on top of the mountain. Most intriguing was a rock pagoda on an outcropping where three sides dropped off vertically for at least 30 metres – an intimidating and exhilarating sight.

Event : Yadanagu nat festival
Venue : Amapura, Mandalay
Period : 8th waning to hidden moon of Wagaung ( Aug. 23-Sep 04, 2013)
Theme : Nat festival after Taung byone

Known as mother of Taungbyone Festival. Most enjoyable because of the rowing boat trip to the site. The festival is held annually in honor of Mt. Popa Medaw(Mother of the two Lords) who came back from Taunbyon Festival, halted on her way back to Mt. Popa at the Yadanagu as her transit camp.

Festivals in Tawthalin ( September 2013)
Event : Bo Bo Gyi Nat Festival
Venue : Taungthaman lake ,Amapura, Mandalay
Period : 14th waxing day to 1st waning of Tawthalin (Sep. 12-14, 2013)
Theme : Ritual worshipping by believers

Bo Bo Gyi is believed to have high level alchemical and to have expired to become a Nat. On the eve of ceremony pilgrims throw tealeaf packets at one another from racing exacts. It is regarded as a pledge that one who is hit must take a visit next year with out fail.

Event : Manuha Pagoda festival
Venue : Myingaba village, Bagan
Period : The eve and full moon day of Tawthalin ( Oct 18-19, 2013 )
Theme : Pagoda festival

The Manuha Pagoda Festival is annual held during September or October or more precisely on the day before the Full moon day of Tawthalin. Myinkaba Villagers serve white rice cakes and pickled winter melon to all comers known as "Sadu Ditha" or the free donation of food. Monks from many monasteries are invited and alms bowls full of food are offered to them in the morning of the Full Moon Day. During the festival, the Myinkaba Villagers march a parade with representation of the Jataka tales of the lives of Buddha. Most of the young villagers would take part in the roles of the king, queens and other characters. The festival is for two days. Peppier Mache characters are also created with one's own ideas and displayed at such a time. The paper figures are of a variety of design - tigers, horses, crocodiles or even a gigantic rabbit. Some represent the spiritual beings.

Event : Boe Min Gaung memorial
Venue : Mt Popa
Period : 2nd -3rd waning day of Tawthalin ( Sep 14-15, 2013)
Theme : Honour to a weizzar, a wise and enlightened one

Bo Min Gaung is believed to be expired as “Ashin Htwet” in Myanmar language means when he expired without leaving his dead body. Bo Min Khaung is remembered for his higher attainment in concentration practices. Annual memorial day is held by those who wish to honor him.

Festivals in Thidingyut ( Sep- Oct 2013)
Event : Phaungdaw Oo pagoda festival
Venue : Inle Lake
Period : Usually held in 1St waxing to 3rd waning day of Thidingyut ( 5 Oct – 22 Oct 2013)
Theme : Pomp and pageant big festival

September and October (when the rain is ding off, but the river level is still high) are the months when boats races are held on rivers and lakes throughout Myanmar. The most spectacular festival takes place at the Phaungdaw-Oo Pagoda on Inle Lake. Four of the five Buddha images covered so thickly by gold leaf are placed on the Royal Barge (the fifth is left to take care of the monastery). The barge, shape of Karaweik ('a mythical bird with a sweet voice') and a procession takes place around the lake, stopping at each large monastery and village to spend the night before moving on the following morning to the next. Hundreds of other vessels travel in the entourage in a general festive atmosphere. At Nyaung Shwe they spend three nights and then they return to the Pagoda via the right- hand side of the river. On the last day of the festival there is a boat race. This consists of long boats each containing around 100 people who row with their legs on both sides. Thousands of people from around the Shan State attend this most holy of all Shan celebrations. There are about 3 heydays – arrival day to Nyaung Shwe with boat race, longest distance while leaving from Kyaing Kham to Mine Pyoe and closing day.

Event : Indein pagoda festival
Venue : Inle Lake
Period : 1st to 4th waxing day of Thidingyut( 5 Oct – 08 , 2013)
Theme : Pomp and pageant big festival

Buddhist ceremony is held at unique site of old shrine complex Indein far west of Inle Lake.

Event : Kyaukdawgyi pagoda festival
Venue : Mandalay
Period : Peak days - 13th waxing day till 1st waning day of Thidingyut ( Oct. 16 – 23, 2013)
Theme : Pagoda festival - medium

It’s situated at the foot of Mandalay hill, within a short walking distance from Mandalay Hill Resort. It is considered popular sales fair where all kinds of goods (some of them locally produced) are sold. Next to that is the usual organization of events similar to other Pagoda Festivals.

Event : Dummy elephant festival
Venue : Kyauk Se, 52 km south of Mandalay
Period : Eve of Thidingyut full moon day (Oct. 18-19, 2013 Only)
Theme : Traditional art cum pagoda festival – Big

This unique and exotic elephant dance held at Kyaukse, a small town not far from Mandalay. A huge but light elephant figure is made with 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 circle three times at the foot of the hill to pay homage to the Shwethalyaung Pagoda. It is a dance that requires precise rhythm and timing in order for the elephant dancers to maintain uniformity inside the elephant figure. Numerous life-size paper dummy elephants sing and dance to the accompaniment of music.

Event : Mya Tha Lun Pagoda festival
Venue : Magwe
Period : Peak days - 13th waxing day till 1st waning day of Thidingyut ( Oct. 10 – 13, 2013)
Theme : Pagoda festival

Magwe Myathalun Pagoda is located on the bank of Ayeyarwaddy River in Magwe. According to legend, the pagoda was originally built by a wealthy man from Magwe named Thubawga. The original height of pagoda was 15.6 metres (52 feet) and it was extended to 24.6m by Bagan’s King Saw Lu (1077-1084) who enshrined 120 relics and seven gold Buddha images inside it. The festival is one of the significant pagoda festivals in the country. It draws from the fifth waxing day of Thadingyut the last waning day. The peak period is around full moon. The festival area will encompass three to four acres, with hundreds of shops sell locally made goods, like clothes and traditional medicines. The traditional and modern fun fairs are always.

Event : Thidingyut (festival of lights)
Venue : Throughout Myanmar
Period : 14th waxing day to 1st waning day of Thidingyut (Oct. 18-20, 2013)
Theme :  

To mark the end of the Buddhist Lent, and is also one of the 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. Today in Yangon, at Sanchaung township area still prevails for best performance. Candle lights are illuminated at Koe Htat gyi pagoda.

Event : Pinn Sakalanpa pagoda festival
Venue : Yenanchaung
Period : 8th waning day of Thidingyut (Oct. 20, 2013)
Theme : Country pagoda festival with country style vistas

Pinn pagoda( full name Pinn Sakkalanpa) is located about 6 km west of Yenan Chaung, closed to Ayeyarwaddy river. This is a small festival compared to nation wide. The most enchanting is the way to pagoda. One has to go through low ridge mountains, narrow valley, walking Banyan trees, native people from nearby villages travelled by bull-cart. In that pagoda festival, one can find food stalls, toy shops selling sundry consumer goods, magic show, puppet shows and dramas. People young and old simply love to have a stroll around the place where there is pagoda festival. This country side is virtually tourist away. This is the day worth seeing for those who are looking typical fun of Ahnyar land.

Festivals in Tazaung Mone (Nov 2013)
Event : Hot air balloon
Venue : Taungyii
Period : 12th waxing day to full moon day of Tazaung Mone. ( Nov. 11-17, 2013)
Theme : The traditional fun fair

The fireworks are in the form of rockets. There is always hot balloons competition day and night. 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.

Event : Shwezigon festival
Venue : Bagan
Period : Peak days - 13th waxing day to 1st waning day of Tazaung Mone (5-19 Oct, 2013)
Theme : Pagoda festival - medium

There are evening entertainments such as Zats: (a variety of dances, songs, short and long plays), Anyeints (a performance of a few hours in which a number of "jokers" caricature current situations and or person strung together by a traditional dancer, popular movies shown in open air. On full moon day (10 Nov.), there is a communal offering of food and various domestic articles to the monks from the nearby monasteries.

Event : Popa nat festival
Venue : Mt Popa
Period : The eve and full moon day of Tazaung Mone. (Dec 17, 2013)
Theme : Nat believer’s service

This is the small event. New offertories are being replaced. The believers come for such offertories are changed to new ones. The Nat medium plays performing service between the believers and spiritual statue.

Event : Thanbuddhae pagoda festival
Venue : Monywa
Period : Peak days - The eve and full moon day of Tazaung Mone. (Nov. 16-17, 2013)
Theme :  

Like other pagoda festival with the usual entertainment provided. Myanmar Thanaka, sandalwood and woven textiles (cotton blankets and longyis mainly) can be bought at the various stalls around the pagoda area.

Event : Poe-win-taung festival
Venue : Monywa
Period : Peak days - The eve and full moon day of Tazaung Mone. (Nov. 16-17, 2013)
Theme :  

Like other pagoda festival with the usual entertainment provided. Myanmar Thanaka, sandalwood and woven textiles (cotton blankets and longyis mainly) can be bought at the various stalls around the pagoda area.

Event : Kaunghmudaw pagoda festival
Venue : Sagaing
Period : Peak days - 14th waxing day to 1st waning day of Tazaung Mone( Nov. 17-22, 2013)
Theme :  

The most interesting aspect of this festival is the caravan of bullock-carts in the pagoda compound. Some of the carts carry their village products, such as hand-woven cotton cloths and cane mats to sell there. They set a camp under shady trees.

Event : Tazaungdine light festival
Venue : Throughout Myanmar
Period : 14th waxing day to 1st waning day of Tazaung Mone( Nov. 17, 2013)
Theme :  

14th waxing day to 1st waning day of Tazaung Mone( Nov. 9 - 11, 2011) Another festival of light held on the full moon day throughout the country. Home and streets are illuminated and Buddhists are provided robe and various requisites at Kathein (Ceremony of offering robes to monks). On this particular full moon day number total 9000 candles are ceremoniously lit at mid night. Visitors are served with mixed salad of maezali buds, believed to possess powerful, magical and medicinal properties if eaten at this time.

Event : Robe weaving contest
Venue : Throughout Myanmar
Period : Eve of the Tazaung Mone full moon day (Nov. 17, 2013)
Theme :  

The robe weaving ceremony is held on the eve of full moon day within one night. This is a competition for the weaving skills between teams of women to complete special saffron-colored robes, called “Ma Tho Thin Gan” or “Non stale robe” from the evening onwards at dawn. It is still done in the traditional way and lots of people enjoy watching the demonstrations. At dawn, the robes are ready to offer Buddha statues and followed by the prize giving ceremony for the winners.

Event : Kyaikhtiyo pagoda 9000 lights festival
Venue : Kyaikhtiyo(Golden Rock)
Period : The eve and full moon day of Tazaung Mone (Nov.17, 2013)
Theme :  

The boulder, standing on the edge of a peak in the highest mountain range, is said to be freely hanging over the cliff. The place is famous as a pilgrimage and holiday outing spot. On this particular full moon day number total 9000 candles are ceremoniously lit at mid night.

Event : Taungto pagoda festival
Venue : Inle lake
Period : 7th – 8th waning day of Tazaung Mone( Nov. 17 - 18, 2013)
Theme :  

TaungTo village is at far south of Inle lake. Pa O people come and enjoy the ceremony with typical dress and bullocks are the main transportation.

Event : Shin mar le pagoda festival
Venue : Thazi
Period : Full moon day of Tazaung Mone (Nov. 16-17, 2013)
Theme :  

Celebrated at the time of the Tazaung Dine Festival. People throw with lotus flowers to the top of the stupa located at the north entrance of the Mahamuni Pagoda paying homage to the Lord Buddha.

Festivals in Nadaw ( December 2013)
Event : Ahlodawpyae pagoda festival
Venue : Bagan
Period : 14th waxing day to full moon day of Nadaw (Dec. 9 - 10, 2013 )
Theme : Small pagoda festival

This pagoda festival is held after 1992. Buddhist devotee who want to make novena practice able to fulfill his/her wish. It is just a small festival

Event : Shwemyatmhan Pagoda Festival
Venue : Shwe Taung near Pyay
Period : Peak days - 13th waxing day to full moon day of Nadaw (Dec. 10-17, 2013 )
Theme : Pagoda festival - medium

This pagoda festival is as same as the others pagoda festival. But one interesting thing is during the British time, Mrs. Hurtno wife of the commissioner was relieved from her eye disease after she offered a pair of glasses to the Buddha. Local people who lives around this area they believe that whoever have a problem with eyes they make novena to this pagoda.

Event : Mt. Popa
Venue : Full moon day of Nadaw (Dec. 17, 2013)
Period :  
Theme :  

Mt. Popa being considered most important Nat worshipping center, thousands of country folks and town people in their joyous, light-hearted and merrymaking in this particular festival. Spirit procession and overall drunken ecstasy are part of the celebration.

Event : Akha new year festival
Venue : Kyaing Tone and their native village
Period : 28 - 31 Dec ( Fixed as of Gregorian calendar)
Theme : one of the big Shan ethnic festival

Akha traditional dance performed on the ground. Akha people gather at Kyaing Tone on 28th Dec. On the other days, Akha people return to their respective home village and continue their festival on their own tradition.

Event : Karen new year festival
Venue : Insein( Arlein Ngarsint pagoda) Yangon and Pa-an - Karen state
Period : 1st waxing day of Pyatho (Dec 25, 2013)
Theme :  

Festivities usually take place before and after of the designated day. It is celebrated by the Karen national race, featuring, group dance in their ethnic costume, sport activities like the traditional boxing matches are held in Insein, a suburb in north of Yangon where the Karen communities are concentrated. Pa-an, the capital of Karen state, held the grandest celebration.

Festivals in Pyatho ( January 2013)
Event : Ananda pagoda festival
Venue : Bagan
Period : Peak days - 13th waxing to 1st waning day of Pyatho ( Jan. 19-28, 2013)
Theme :  

Pilgrimage and holiday outings come to pagoda site by the caravan of bullock-carts. Then set camp under the shady trees. There are evening entertainments such as Zats: a variety of dance, song, short and long plays, Anyeints: a performance of a few hours in which number of jokers caricature current situations and or person strung together by a traditional dancer, popular movies shown in open air. It is also a popular sales fair where all kinds of goods, some of them are locally produced, are sold. People are waiting in a long queue to offer food and other articles to monks on the full moon day. It is very crowded around the full moon day( 7~8 Jan 2012)

Event : Kachin manau festival
Venue : Myitkyina
Period : peak days - Jan. 10 are the ( Fixed as of Gregorian calendar)
Theme :  

Kachin State day is on 10 Jan. The festival will be held one day ahead of State day. Traditionally, the Jinghpaw are animists who recognize a spirit world presided over by Karai Kasang, a supreme deity who requires animal sacrifice. Duwa (hereditary chieftains) maintains ceremonial and cultural leadership, especially with regard to the manao (also spelt manau or Manaw) important festival held periodically to placate or pay homage to the Jinghpaw nats. On 10th January-Kachin State Day-a major manao in Myitkyina draws Kachin groups from all over the state.

Event : Narga tribe new year's festival
Venue : Alternately in Khamti, Lahe, Lashi , Sagaing division
Period : peak days - Jan. 12-16 are the ( Fixed as of Gregorian calendar)
Theme :  

The authentic Naga Hill Tribes (about 68 different groups) wear their respective traditional costumes to participate this important festival. They worship to their deities by scarifying the animals. Their traditional dance, martial music and cults of animism are unique and interesting. The festival is held at Khamti, Lahe, Lashi in Sagaing. The festival days are 14th to 15th of January. On 14th, an opening ceremony is held in the morning and in the evening there is traditional dance with bonfires. On New Year day they have a competition of traditional sports, and gathering of sub tribes of Narga, once fierce warriors in their bright and exotic dresses, celebrate with rice wine roasted meat and tribal dances performed with loud beating of drums.

Event : Kayah state day  
Venue : Loikaw
Period : peak days - Jan.15 ( Fixed as of Gregorian calendar)
Theme :  

During The Kayah State Day, local tribes gather in the capital Loikaw for a day of traditional dancing, zat pwe, music concerts and sporting events. There is very beautiful scenery with high mountains and colourful plantations of sesame, pepper and sunflowers between November and January.”

Festivals in Tabodwe ( Feb 2013)
Event : Shan State Day
Venue : Taunggyi, Laisho, Kyaing Tone and Shan State
Period : 7 Feb ( Fixed as Gregorian calendar)
Theme : Shan national annual festival

The Shan State National Day was founded on Feb 7, 1947, by Shan princes and leaders. The unity of Shan leaders was carried through in the Panglong agreement. Dances of Shan ethnic minorities are performed.

Event : Mahamuni pagoda festival
Venue : Mandalay
Period : Peak days - 13th waxing to full moon day of Tabodwe ( Feb 11-March 05, 2013)
Theme :  

This festival usually lasts for 7 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 (29 Jan.). Thousand of people make the pilgrimage to the Mahamuni Pagoda. tables.
The temple is always the center of activities and during this festival it explodes with energy. Evening entertainment such as Zats (a variety of dance, song and short & long plays), Anyeints (a performance of a few hours in which a number of “jokers” (usually four) caricature current situations and /or persons strung together by a traditional dancer) and popular movies shown in open air. In the day time, there are many stalls selling various kinds of Myanmar snacks displayed in continuous rows of long tables.

Event : Nyan taw pagoda festival (Shwe Myin Tin Pagoda)
Venue : Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo)
Period : 13th waxing to full moon day of Tabodwe ( Feb 17-25, 2013)
Theme :  

Similar to most of the pagoda festivals with most of the ingredients as in the Mahamuni Pagoda Festival. It is a famous pagoda festival in Pyin Oo Lwin. In addition, you can observe several Shan and other ethnic groups who come from the hills to sell their products.

Event : Kyaik Khauk Pagoda festival
Venue : Thanlyin near Yangon
Period : 13th waxing to full moon day of Tabodwe ( Feb 20-26, 2013)
Theme :  

The atmosphere at the Festival of the Golden Hilltop of Kyaik Khauk Pagoda is similar to a fun fair.

A bamboo spiral staircase is erected around the Pagoda for men to climb up, worship the Buddha and to enjoy the surrounding scenery. A multitude of stalls are offering local foods, ceramic and clay pots of all sizes, furniture and bamboo mats. Most of the pagoda festival has evening entertainments such as Zats, Anyeints, some stage show and movies shown in the open air the whole night for every day. Villagers nearby come to the festival by ox-carts of that can be seen on eve of full moon day.

Event : Bon Fire ceremony of Shwesandaw pagoda
Venue : Pyay
Period : The eve and the full moon day of Tabodwe ( Feb 6 – 7, 2013)
Theme :  

Plants which emit no smoke when lit are burnt at four cardinal points on the platform of the pagoda in the early morning. Worshippers than proceed to Pho U mountaintop where the Lord Buddha is said to have visited and made preordination of events.

Event : Htamane feast or Rice Harvesting Festival
Venue : Nation wide
Period : The eve and the full moon day of Tabodwe ( Feb 25, 2013)
Theme :  

The full moon (in the lunar month of Tabodwe) is the time of the rice harvesting festival Htamane, or Htamin (literally rice), a special food-offering made and eaten at this time, consists of glutinous rice mired with sesame, peanuts, shredded ginger and coconut. In villages large batches of glutinous rice are cooked over open fires and stirred with big wooden paddles until they become a thick mall, after which the rice is wrapped in small banana-leaf parcels and distributed to nearby community.

Event : Chin national day
Venue : Haka, Chin state
Period : 20th Feb ( Fixed as of Gregorian calendar)
Theme :  

The Chins were among the ethnic groups represented at the signing of the Panglong Agreement in 1947, an agreement to create unity in the country. In February 1948, instead of the traditional hereditary system of chieftainship, Chin representatives were elected at a conference in Falam town. The final day of the conference, February 20, was thereafter recognized as Chin National Day. Chin people gather at Haka Town’s Soccer ground and do celebration the whole day.

Festivals in Tabaung ( Feb ~ March 2013)
Event : Zeedaw Nat festival  
Venue : Zeedaw village, Yinmarbin Township , Near Monywa
Period : 1st to 7th waxing day of Tabaung ( Feb 22 –28, 2013 )
Theme :  

Spirit festival is held at Zeedaw village across Chindwin river.

Event : Shwesettaw pagoda ( The Great Footprints Pilgrimage)
Venue : Minbu, near Magwe
Period : 1st waxing day of Tabaung till full moon day of Tagu ( 45 days) ( Feb 23 to Apr 6 , 2013 )
Theme :  

Twenty years after attaining Enlightenment Lord Buddha in the Buddhist Era 123, Buddha travelled to Ma Ku La Mountain present day in Myanmar. He left an imprint of his left foot on the summit of that range. Pilgrimage is only possible in the dry season. Two big footprints are said to have been left by Lord Buddha.

Event : Mingun Nat Festival
Venue : Mingun village - near Mandalay
Period : 6th to 10th waxing moon of Tabaung) Aug 8-11 , 2013
Theme :  

This is a celebrat ion in tribute to the Brother and the Sister of the Teak Tree, who drowned in the Ayeyarwady river clinging to a tree trunk. The trunk took root and the late children became ‘nats’ in its branches.

Event : Shwedagon pagoda Festival
Venue : Yangon
Period : 13th waxing to full moon day of Tabaung ( Mar 5 – 7, 2013)
Theme :  

The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival is held on the day of the full moon of Tabaung . During this festival, visitors can get to know the true religious feelings of the people of Myanmar by participating in events at pagoda fairs or by observing the rituals of the holy day. The sight of numerous monks who come to receive food offerings is striking view. It is usually take place on the full moon day of Tabaung( Feb 27, 2010).

Event : Shwe saryan pagoda festival
Venue : Shwe Saryan Village, Patheingyi, Mandalay
Period : Peak days - 13th waxing to 1st waning day of Tabaung ( 18 Feb-28 March, 2013)
Theme :  

45 minutes drive form Mandalay on the way to Maymyo (near Hton Bo village), You can also take a small boat on the Doahtawaddy River and visit the pagodas nearby, Myanmar traditional toys, boxes, baskets, mats made of dried toddy palm leaves are the best selling rural products in this festival.

Event : Mahamuni pagoda festival
Venue : Kyauktaw Village, Near Mrauk U
Period : 13th waxing to full moon day of Tabaung ( 11 Feb-5 March, 2013)
Theme :  

The pagoda is situated near the site of the ancient city of Danyawaddy in Thayet tapin village in Kyauktaw Township. The pagoda is being exalted by all Rakhine as well as Buddhist devotees across the country.

Event : Shwemyintzu pagoda festival
Venue : Indawgyi lake, Hopin, near Myitkina
Period : 13th waxing to full moon day of Tabaung ( Mar 5 – 7, 2013)
Theme :  

Ca.100 miles far from Myitkyina. Approx. Five hours drive up to Loneton village, the gate way to Indawgyi lake. One intriguing fact is that two sandbanks are washed up by the waves before the festival begins so that people can walk from the bank to the pagoda. People believe that one is for human use and the other is a passage for the gods/ fairies. These two sandbanks disappear into the lake shortly after the festival.

Event : Baw-gyo pagoda festival
Venue : Hsipaw / Shan State
Period : 13th waxing to full moon day of Tabaung ( Mar 21-26, 2013)
Theme :  

Only during the festival days, the locked up “four Buddha images” are brought out for display, worship and gilding. We can see tea-growing Palaung tribes from the hills and jewelers from Kyauk Me who try and sell their products there. A large volume of Shan and Bamar merchandise is traded. There are boat races on Dottawadi river.

Event : Kekku pagoda festival
Venue : near Taungyi
Period : 13th waxing to full moon day of Tabaung ( Mar 26-28, 2013)
Theme :  

On the full moon day alms offering is carried out by the native (Pa-O) people dressed in their traditional black out fits. There is the festival market also.

Event : Pindaya golden cave festival
Venue : Pindaya
Period : 14th waxing to 1st waning day of Tabaung ( Mar 26-28, 2013)
Theme :  

Typical Taung Yoe pagoda festival. Different ethnic minorities such as; Shan, PaO, Palaung, Taung Yoe, Intha, Danu can be seen. Most of tribal are Buddhist, During the festival at the Shwe Umin Pagoda in Pindaya throng with thousands of devotees. Festivities include performances with roaming artisans and the festival market. You will find hundreds of small stalls selling local foods, Shan handicrafts, all kinds of cheroots, Shan umbrellas, and more…Tribes from all over Shan State join this festivity in their respective costumes, women are carrying the alms goods on their head to offer to Buddhist monks on a morning of certain day. People in a big change waiting the arrival of Buddhist monks are to be seen from the distance. It is a joyous scene, people coming in a group with car, or some are coming in huge line of Native bullock-cart. The tribal circle the ox-cards, and in the middle people cook, and sleep during festival.

Event : Nay win taung pagoda festival
Venue : Pyin Oo Lwin(Maymyo)
Period : The eve and full moon day of Tabaung ( Mar 26, 2013)
Theme :  

Same as Nyan Taw Pagoda Festival. Traditional Shan festival. It takes place in the northern part of Maymyo, about an hour’s drive from the downtown area.

Event : Pakhan Ko Gyi Kyaw Nat festival
Venue : Shwe Guni village, Near Pakoku
Period : 9th to 14th Waxing day of Tabaung ( Mar 1 – 6, 2013)
Theme :  

Regional Nat festival like Taung Byone and Yadanar Gu. The festival is special offering to the spirit of Mayor U Min Kyaw of Pakan city. The spirits was famous for drinking toddy with fried chicken as well as fond of cock fight. The nearest town is Pakokku and Myinchan.

Event : Taung Gwe Zedi Festival
Venue : Loikaw, Kaya State
Period : 13th waxing day to full moon day of Tabaung ( Mar 5 – 7 , 2013)
Theme :  

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

Event : Nampan Ceremony
Venue : Nampan village, Inle lake
Period : 14th waxing day to full moon day of Tabaung ( Mar 6 – 7 , 2013)
Theme :  

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

Event : Maung dong nat festival
Venue : Monywa
Period : 13th waning day to new moon day of Tabaung ( Mar. 31- April 10, 2013)
Theme :  

This festival is known to be the most important gathering of witches imaginable. According to the legend, Ye Kin Kadaw, the Queen of the Witches, the favourite wife of King Taung U, had extraordinary powers. The king sent her into exile, as his other wives did not like her supernatural power. She went to Maung Dong, where she got drowned. Her oldest statue, only 30 centimeters high, can thus be found in Maung Dong. During this festival all 37 kinds of Nats will be placed in a shrine, devotees offering them bunches of bananas, green coconuts, betel leaves, colourful arrangements of flowers and ‘money bouquets’

Event : Ah-Lone Nat Festival
Venue : Ah Lone town, 12 km north of Monywa on the way to Shwe Bo road
Period : 13th waning day to new moon day of Tabaung ( Mar. 20 – 22, 2013)
Theme :  

The heroine of this festival is Ma Ngwe Daung (Ms. Silver Wings) who was a daughter of the Ah-Lone Bodaw, a minor Indian prince who came through Tamu and Kalaymyo to Myanmar. The celebration of this festival is related to the love story of Ma Ngwe Daung. During the festival the pilgrims appeal to Ma Ngwe Daung to give them the opportunity to have as many mistresses as hairs on their head. The festival appeals also to pilgrims wishing to control or to spirit away illness with the lusty waters on offer there.

Festivals in Tagu (April 2013)
Event : Shwemawdaw pagoda festival
Venue : Bago
Period : 14th waxing day to 1st waning day of Tagu (Apr . 20-29, 2013)
Theme :  

Theatrical artists perform such as Zats, Anyeints, stage show and also popular sales fair where all kinds of goods, most of them are clothes, toys & kitchen supplies not expensive ones.

Event : Thanakha grinding Event
Venue : Sittwe, Rakhine State
Period : The eve of water festival ( A Kyo day) 13 Apr 2013
Theme :  

A traditional event held on the eve of water Festival. In the early part of the night young women grind Thanaka bark and roots to a fine cream usually by using water on rounded stone slabs accompanied by musical troupe support the event.

Event : Tiger man dance
Venue : Myeik
Period : 3 days before water festival ( should 10 – 12 April )
Theme :  

Natives of Palaw painted as tigers and dance to wild music through streets prior to Thingyan water festival.

Event : Thingyan (Water Festival)
Venue : Throughout the country
Period : Thingyan period is set by astrologist on study of position of stars and movement of planets (Usually be met with Apr 13-16 by Gregorian calendar)
Theme : 1st day : eve of Thingyan ( Welcoming to Thagyarmin, the chief of celestial beings) 2nd day : beginning day 3rd day : peak day 4th day : receding day

The festival is held prior to Myanmar new year to cleanse away evil deeds of the past year with water. Youths go out for enjoyment while elders take retreat in monasteries and pagoda precincts to perform meritorious deeds.

Event : Poppa Ceremony
Venue : Poppa Taungkalat
Period : Receding day( A-tet day) of Thingyan (09 May)
Theme :  

During Thingyan, Pilgrims from the country over pay respect to Popa nat shrines.

Event : Myanmar new year day & Animal-freeing Ceremony  
Venue : Throughout the country & Kaba Aye Hillock and elsewhere significant religious sites
Period : Immediate after Thingyan (17th April )
Theme :  

Buddhists young and old alike, and the day performing meritorious deeds like releasing live animals, offering food to monks, paying homage to elders, keeping Sabbath etc. Animal freeing ceremony is held by the Religious Department on Kaba-aye Hillock to give animals a similar ceremonies held township wise.

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