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Sule Pagoda

The Sule Pagoda is an excellent landmark. It is said to be over 2,000 years old and contains a hair given by the Buddha to two Burmese merchants. Located on a roundabout in downtown Yangon. The golden pagoda is unusual in that its octagonal shape continues right up to the bell and inverted bowl. It is surrounded by small shops and all the familiar non-religious services such as of astrologists, palmists, and so on.

Mandalay

Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Located 445 miles north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of one million, and is the capital of Mandalay Region.

Agriculture

The major agricultural product is rice, which covers about 60% of the country’s total cultivated land area. Rice accounts for 97% of total food grain production by weight. Through collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute 52 modern rice varieties were released in the country between 1966 and 1997, helping increase national rice production to 14 million tons in 1987 and to 19 million tons in 1996. By 1988, modern varieties were planted on half of the country’s ricelands, including 98 percent of the irrigated areas.

U Bein Bridge

U Bein Bridge is a crossing that spans the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura in Myanmar. The 1.2-kilometre (0.75 mi) bridge was built around 1850 and is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. Construction began when the capital of Ava Kingdom moved to Amarapura, and the bridge is named after the mayor who had it built. It is used as an important passageway for the local people and has also become a tourist attraction and therefore a significant source of income for souvenir sellers. It is particularly busy during July and August when the lake is at its highest.

Bagan

Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar.

Ngapali Beach

Ngapali Beach is a beach located 7 kilometres (4 mi) from the town of Thandwe (Sandoway), in Rakhine State, Myanmar. It is the most famous beach in Myanmar and is a popular tourist destination. Myanmar’s political climate means that Ngapali is not as well publicized as other good beaches of Southeast Asia.

Myanmar Lacquerware

Yun-de is lacquerware in Myanmar, and the art is called Pan yun. The lacquer is the sap tapped from the varnish tree Melanorrhoea usitatissima or Thitsee that grows wild in the forests of Myanmar (formerly Burma). It is straw-coloured but turns black on exposure to air. When brushed in or coated on, it forms a hard glossy smooth surface resistant to a degree effects of exposure to moisture or heat.

Lahpet, Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

Lahpet, also spelled laphet is Burmese for fermented or pickled tea. Burma is one of very few countries where tea is eaten as well as drunk. Its pickled tea is unique in the region, and is not only regarded as the national delicacy but plays a significant role in Burmese society. Its place in the cuisine of Myanmar is reflected by the following popular expression: “Of all the fruit, the mango’s the best; of all the meat, the pork’s the best; and of all the leaves, lahpet’s the best”.

Ananda Pagoda Festival

Anada-pagoda-festival-JPG

Dates :   Fullmoon Day of Pyatho to 15th Waning of Pyatho

Location : Central and Upper Myanmar

Duration : 15 days

 

 

This is the biggest and most important pagoda festival in Central and Upper Myanmar. Villagers come in caravans of covered ox-carts and camp out for the duration of this exciting country fair, The Fullmoon Day of the Myanmar month of Pyatho, which falls on January 13, marks the height of the celebrations, with one thousand monks from a hundred villages in the vicinity arriving to accept offerings of filled alms bowls. With their crops having recently been harvested, famers have the time and the money to enjoy themselves.

Naga New Year Festival

(There is a special tour program for this festival. Please read more here.)

Naga

Dates : usually Jaunuary 14 to 16

Location : either Lahe or Layshi, Kachin State

Duration : 3 days

 

 

The Naga national race comprises many different tribes with their own languages and culture, They meet once a year to sing, dance and feast, dressed in the fanciest of their costumes. Other Festivals in January are;

  • Shwe Oo Min Pagoda Festival (Pindaya, Shan State)
  • Kachin Manao Festival (Myitkyina, Kachin State)

Maha Muni Pagoda Festival

Mahamuni Pagoda

Dates : 14th Waxing and Fullmoon Days of Tabodwe

Locations : Mandalay

Duration : 2 days

 

 

February is the coldest month in Myanmar and at the Maha Muni Pagoda Festival, devotees light bonfires and cook huge pans of sticky rice with ginger, coconut and sesame to offer to monks. In other parts of the country this sticky rice is cooked as a celebration of the harvest and distributed within communities.

Sticky Rice Cooking or Hta-ma-ne

Sticky-Rice-festivalHtamaenae-festival

Dates : anytime during Tabodwe

Locations : throughout the country

 

 

 

 

To celebrate the harvest, communities and organizations cook giant pans of sticky rice with ginger, coconut, peanuts and lots of sesame, which is wrapped in banana leaves and given to neighbors and friends.

Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival

Shwe-Set-Taw-Pagoda-Festival

Dates : Begins 5 th Waxing Moon  Days of Tabodwe

Location : Shwe Settaw, Magwe Division, central Myanmar

Duration : 1 day (but this holiday site remains open until April)

 

 

There are two pagodas which enshrine footprints of the Buddha. The site is on the banks of the Mann Creek, where bamboo cabins are erected every year for local revelers to enjoy cool swims during the heat of summer. Other Festivals in February are;

  • Maw-tin-sin Pagoda Festival (Pathein, Ayeyarwaddy Division)
  • Indawgyi Pagoda Festival (Kachin State)
  • Pindaya Cave Pagoda Festival (Shan State)
  • Chinese New Year
  • Salone Traditional Festival( Myeik Archipelago)

Ko Gyi Kyaw Spirit Festival

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Dates : 3rd Waxing Moon Day of Tabaung

Location : Pakhan, Yayza Gyo Township

Duration : 8 days

 

 

Ko Gyi Kyaw is a happy spirit who loves to drink, gamble and see his worshipers sing, dance and be merry. He is the patron of gamblers. This annual festival in his honour is celebrated on his home town.

Kekku Pagoda Festival

ancient-stupas-at-indein-inle-lake-inle-lakeDates : Begins 14th Waxing Moon Day of Tavaung

Locaion : Kekku ancient pagoda complex, near Taungyi, southern Shan State

Duration : Three Days

 

 

There are more than 2000 pagoda in the Kekku Pagoda complex, built several centuries ago. It is in a valley surrounded by beautiful scenery. Usually deserted at other times, tens of thousands of members of the Pa-O, Shan and Danu national races arrive by foot or boat to celebrate this festival. Other Festivals in March are;

  • Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (Yangon)
  • Shinpyu (Novitiation) Ceremonies

Water Festival and Myanmar New Year

Water-festival-

Dates: Usually 13 to 17 April (New Year’s Day)

Location: throughout the country

Duration: Four Days

 

 

 

Throwing water about four days and the last, New Year’s Day, devoted to doing good deeds in all towns and villages, people carry water guns or buckets to douse anyone seen on the street while the more sedate attend meditation sessions or keep the Buddhist precepts. Communities prepare sweets to give out to passer-bys and at night, the people are entertained with songs and dancing by both professional and amateur performers.

Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda Festival

shwemawdaw

Dates : Begins day after New Year’s Day

Location : Bago

Duration : Seven days

 

 

 

Classical theatre troupes perform their best here so they will be booked by agents for the next pagoda festival season. With the advance money they make new costumes and settings and rehearse throughout the monsoon Buddhist Lent  yeriod. Other festivals in April is:

  • Popa Nat or Sprits’ Festival (Mount Popa)

Ritual of pouring water on the Bodhi Tree

Kason-festival

Dates : Fullmoon Day of Kason

Location : Pagodas throughout the country

Duration : 10 Days

 

 

This ritual commemorates the date 2500 years ago when the Buddha gained enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree. Pilgrims pour water on the Bodhi trees in pagoda compounds to keep them fresh in the summer heat of May. Other Festival in May is:

  • Taung-yo Torchlight Procession Festival (Pindaya, Shan State)

Pakoku Thihi Shin Pagoda Festival

Thihoshin-pagoda-festival

Date : 8th Waxing Moon Day of Nayon

Location : Pakoku, Central Myanmar

Duration : 15 days

 

 

 

Pakoku is an old traditional town on the western bank of the Ayeyarwady River. This pagoda festival is the most important for all towns west of the Ayeyarwady and produce from the region, such as dried chili, homespun baskets and tobacco are sold every year at this huge country fair. The best thanakha trees, the bark of which is ground to make the purely organic make-up cream worn by many Myanmar women grow in this area. Other festival in June is:

  • Nayone Festival of Tapitaka

Waso Festival

Waso-festival

Date : Centred around the Fullmoon Day of Waso

Location : throughout the country

 

 

 

 

This festival commemorates the time when the Budda gave His first sermon, to five monks. Pilgrims throughout the country gather wild flowers to offers at pagodas and offer new robes to monks. The Buddhist Lent period is from the Fullmoon of Waso until the Fullmoon of Thadingyut.

Caaneball or ‘Chinlon’ Competition

chinlone

Date : Ends on the Day after the Fullmoon Day of Waso

Location : Mahasmuni Pagoda compound, Mandlay

Duration : Seven Days

 

 

Actually it begins about a month before the ending date but the last week displays the skill of the best teams, who must pass a woven ball of cane between its members without touching it with their hands… they use heads, shoulders, knees, elbows, heels. Points are given for grace and style. This game is where no one team goes heads on with another in aggressive competition, unique in the world of sports.

Taung Pyone Sprits Festival

taungpyone01

Date : 10th  Waxing Moon Day of Wagaung

Location : Taung Pyone Village, near Mandalay

Duration : 12days

 

 

Taung Pyone is the site where two brothers serving a king of Bagan in the 11th century were executed. They became powerful spirits or Nat. This festival in their honour is attended by tens of thousands of mediums and worshippers. A ritual is celebrated each day. Toddy palm wine, whisky, rum, grilled rabbit and fried chicken are offered to the two spirit brothers, Orchestras come to play for the mediums who dance to make the spirits joyful.

Yadana Gu Sprit Festival

yadanar-gu-nat-festival-

Dates : 10th Waning Moon Day of Wagaung

Location : Amarapura, near Mandalay

Duration : Five days

 

 

 

This festival honours the mother of the two spirit brothers referred to above. She is the Goddess of Popa and her main shrine is on Popa Crest, near Bagan. She too is a powerful spirit and protector of women.

Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

Phaung-Daw-Oo-Pagoda-Festival1

Date : 1st Waxing Moon Day of Thadingyut

Location : Inle Lake, southern Shan State

Duration : 18 days

 

 

 

Four of the five images of the Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda are carried by a golden with ceremonies and there is much rejoicing while the images are at the villages. The fifth image has not left the pagoda since an incident in the 1970s when it was on a barge that capsized during a sudden storm. The image fell into the lake and was no recovered but it was miraculously found back at the shrine when the processing surrounding mountains carry fruit and flowers on lacquer trays in their own boats and pay homage as the holy barge passes. Teams of the lake’s famous leg-rowers compete in annual boat races this great country fair.

Festival of Light

parade-of-lights

Dates : One day before the Fullmoon Day of Thandingyut, the Fullmoon Day and one day after

Location : Throughout the country

Duration : Three days

 

 

This festival commemorates the time when the Buddha returned to earth after preaching in the abode of devotees greeted Him with lamps and lanterns. People decorate their houses with candles and coloured lanterns to symbolise this event. The festival of Light marks the end of Lent.

Dancing Elephants Festival

dancing elephant festival

Dates : One day before the Fullmoon Day of Thadingyut and the Fullmoon Day

Location : Kyaukse, about 40 km southeast of Mandalay

Duration : Two days

 

 

On the first day, colourfully decorated cloth elephants with two men inside compete in dance competitions. The ‘elephant’ with the vest dance performance and behavior wins the fold. Food and flowers are offered to the pagoda on the second day.

Kahtein Ritual Offerings

kathein-2

Dates:all through since the end of Lent on the Fullmoon Day of Tahdingyut

Location : Throughout the country

Duration : Month

 

 

 

Sets of new robes and other offerings such as slippers, umbrellas, alms bowls, food, Cash offerings for monasteries are also collected and displayed on wooden frames buit in the shape of a tree. New cash note are folded into bird and flower shapes.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Myanmar - balloon festival - take off

Dates : 10th Waxing Moon day of Tazaungmon

Location : Taungyi, southern Shan State

Duration : Five days

 

 

The daytime competitions are for balloons made in animal or bird shapes. At night balloons have a bamboo frame over which hand-made paper is glued, The hot air is generated by burning rags under the opening. Balloons are judged for size, style, design and the time they remain aloft. On the night of the Fullmoon Taunngyi townsfolk hold a parade around the town carrying colourful lanterns.

Popa Guardian Spirits Festival

Mt.Popa-Festival

Dates : Begins Fullmoon Day of Nadaw

Location : Mount Popa, near Bagan

Duration : Six days

 

 

 

The two spirit figures on either side of the Tharaba Gate at Bagan are the brother and sister spirits Lord of the Mountain and the Lady Golden Face who protect home or country. A festival takes place at Mount Popa in their honor.

Kyaik- hti-yo ‘golden Rock’ Pagoda Nine Thousand Lamps

20060108_burma

Date : Evening of December 31

Location : Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda, Mon State

Duration : One evening

 

 

On the platform of the Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda devotees light nine thousand lamps to welcome the New Year and to give thanks to Buddha’s peaceful philosophy. The magical Golden Rock Pgoda, a golden spire, sits on top a huge boulder covered with gold leaf and perched on the edge of a cliff.