Traditional Festivals in Myanmar 2017

Festival Calendar

Ananda Pagoda Festival - Bagan
Naga New Year Festival - Sagaing Region
Kachin Manaw Festival - Myitkyina, Kachin State
Mann Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival - Magwe Region, Central Myanmar
Kyaik Khauk Pagoda Festival - Thanlyin , near Yangon
Htamane (Glutinous Rice Festival) - Throughout the country
Maha Muni Pagoda Festival - Mandalay

Shwe Nattaung Pagoda Festival - Shwe Taung Township, Bago Region
Ko Gyi Kyaw Spirit Festival - Pakhan, Yayzagyo Township
Inn Daw Gyi Shwe Myitzu Pagoda Festival - Kachin State – Northern Part of Myanmar
Bawgyo Pagoda Festival - Thibaw Township, Southern Shan State
Zalun Pyi-Taw-Pyan Buddha Image Festival - Zalun, Ayeyawady Region
Pindaya Shwe Oo Min Festival - Pindaya, Southern Shan State
Kakku Pagoda Festival - Kakku Ancient Pagoda Complex,
near Taunggyi, Southern Shan State
Shwedagon Pagoda Festival - Yangon
Maw Tin Zun Pagoda Festival - Ngaputaw Township, Southwest
Coast of Myanmar
Alaungdaw Khathapa Pagoda Festival - Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park,
Sagaing Region
Panguni Utram (Full Moon of Panguni Month in Tamil People) - Sri Angata Eswari Munieswar Swamy Temple, Pelikha Village, Kyauk Tan Township, Yangon Region


Thingyan Water Festival and Myanmar New Year


Throughout the country

Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda Festival - Bago

Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree - Pagodas throughout the country

Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival - Pakokku, Central Myanmar

Waso Full Moon Festival
- Throughout the country
Waso Chin-Lone (Cane Ball) Festival
- Maha Muni Pagoda Compound, Mandalay


Taung Pyone Spirit Festival

- Taung Pyone Village, near Mandalay
Yadana Gu Spirit Festival - Amarapura, Mandalay Region

Manuha Pagoda Festival - Myinkaba village, Bagan, Mandalay Region
Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival - Inle Lake, Southern Shan State

Festival of Lights - Throughout the country
Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda Festival - Mandalay
Dancing Elephants Festival - Kyaukse, about 40km southeast of Mandalay
Shwe Kyin Light Festival - Shwe Kyin Creek, Shwe Kyin Township,
Bago Region)

Tazaungmone Full Moon Festival - Throughout the country
Hot Air Balloon Festival - Taunggyi, Southern Shan State
All Night Robe Weaving Contests - Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, and other pagodas throughout the country
Kahtein Thingan Weaving Festival Throughout the country
(Yellow Robe)
- Throughout the country
Shwezigon Pagoda Festival - Nyaung U, near Bagan, Mandalay Region
Kaunghmudaw Pagoda Festival - Sagaing
Pho-Win-Taung Festival - Monywa, Sagaing Region
Shwesandaw (Pyay) Pagoda Festival - Pyay, Bago Region

Popa Guardian Spirits Festival - Mount Popa, near Bagan
Kyaik-Hti-Yo 'Golden Rock' Pagoda Festival (Nine Thousand Lamps) - Kyaik-Hti-Yo Pagoda, Mon State
Shwe Myet Hman Pagoda Festival - Shwetaung, Bago Region
Kayin New Year Festival - Kayin State


* Special Festivals in Myanmar

January (Pyatho / Dabodwei) - Myanmar Calendar
Ananda Pagoda Festival
Date : Full Moon of Pyatho to 15th Waning of Pyatho
Location : Bagan
Duration : 15days

This is one of the most famous pagoda festivals in Bagan, one of the Asia's most amazing and richest archaeoligical sites. Visitors can definitely enjoy the traditional lifestyle of the locals of Bagan during this festival.

Naga New Year Festival
Date : Usually January 14 to 16
Location : Either Lahe or Layshi, Sagaing Region
Duration : 3 days

Naga New Year Festival is one of the rarest of ceremonies in Myanmar. During this festival, you will be surprised by seeing Native Naga men and women dressed up in their traditional and ancient ethnic costumes a grand head-dress made of a rattan hat topped with monkey fur and two fangs of a wild boar and long hornbill feathers, with a string of tiger claws in his face. You can also enjoy their self unique songs and dances that you may have never seen before.

Kachin Manaw Festival (Kachin New Year Festival
Date : Usually around first week of January
Location : Myitkyina, Kachin State
Duration : 1 day

The Kachin, one of the major races of Myanmar live in the Northern part of the country. 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 approach the Manaw poles. As usaual for all mountain people, the dance is communal. 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. You will get their warmly welcome and can join the dance with them.


April (Tagu / Kason) – Myanmar Calendar
Thingyan Water Festival and Myanmar New Year
Date : Usually 13 April to 17 April (New Year's Day)
Location : Throughout the country
Duration : 5days of throwing water and the last, New Year's Day

It is the traditional Myanmar New Year Celebrations. During the Thingyan Festival, water-throwers use to make fun by teasing one another. Some people erect water-throwing pandals at the road side and throw pour water at the passing cars and passerby. Pouring water signifies cleaning the body and mind of evils of the past year. Special interest at Thingyan is beautiful decorated cars which ground the town entertaining the people, singing, dancing and chanting. During these auspicious days, Myanmar people perform a lot of meritorious deeds to usher in the New Year such as keeping Sabbath, going to pagodas and monasteries, offering food and alms to monks, paying respect to parents, teachers and elders, setting free fish and cattle and so on. Thingyan is a distinctive festival which is always awaited with great joy and excitement by Myanmar people every year.


August (Waso / Wagaung) – Myanmar Calendar
Taung-Pyone Spirit Festival
Date : 8th Waxing to Full Moon Day of Wagaung
Location : Taung Pyone Village, near Mandalay
Duration : 8 days

This festival is actually a festival of the pagoda supposed to be build by King Anawrahta at Taung Pyone village near Mandalay but it has degenerated into a kind of festival devoted to the two brothers, Shwe Pyin Gyi and Shwe Pyin Galay (also known as Min Gyi and Min Lay). They became powerful Spirits or Nats as it is believed that the Nats can fulfill their wishes, protect from ill-fate and danger, and bring good luck, prosperity and progress. Although Myanmar Buddhists are not particularly spirit worshippers, thousands of country folks and town people, their joyous, light-hearted and merrymaking can be found in this particular festival.

September (Wakhaung / Tawthalin) – Myanmar Calendar
Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
Date : 1st Waxing to 3rd Waning Day of Thadingyut
Location : Inle Lake, Southern Shan State
Duration : 18 days

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is one of the famous principal pagodas which houses five Buddha images. The festival is held with great magnificence and pageantry fun fairs and dances are also held. The holy images of the Buddha from Phaung Daw Oo are placed on a decorated royal barge called Karaweik (Mythical Bird) and towed by leg-rowers around the lake, stopping at each village to let people pay homage. The pagoda festivals are held for each pagoda and there festivals could be viewed as the Myanmar equivalent of western fun fairs.


October (Tawthalin / Thadingyut) – Myanmar Calendar
Thadingyut Lights Festival
Date : One day before the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut, The Full Moon Day and one day after
Location : Throughout the country
Duration : 3 days

This is normally known as Festival of Lights and celebrated for three days: one day before the fullmoon day, fullmoon day and the day after. This festival commemorates the time when the Buddha returned to earth after preaching in the abode of celestials during the three months of Lent. He descended at night and devotees greeted Him with lamps and lanterns. The humans on earth decorate their houses with candles and coloured lanterns to symbolize this event. The festival of Light marks the end of Lent.

Dancing Elephants Festival
Date : One day before the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut and the Full Moon Day
Location : Kyaukse, about 40km southeast of Mandalay
Duration : 2 days

This town is noted particularly for the elephant dance which is performed at annual light festival. The main feature of this festival is the elephant dance accompanied by colorful pageantries-live size white paper elephant while a black paper elephant follows as the finale of the procession. Each of these paper elephants is bone and animated by two men inside. The elephant with the best dance performance and behaviors wins the gold. Food and flowers are offered to the pagoda on the second day.


November (Thadingyut / Tazaungmone) – Myanmar Calendar
Hot Air Balloon Festival
Date : Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone
Location : Taunggyi, Southern Shan State
Duration : 3 days

The most spectacular event of the year is the Hot Air Balloon Festival held every November in Taunggyi commonly called the Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Festival. On the occasion, people also enjoy fun and merriment by holding firework launching competitions. The firework is in the form of rockets. The competitions run during the day and at night when the sky is colourfully illuminated with hot air balloons. Day balloons are usually in the form of Pagodas, and animals such as elephant, dragon or ducks while the night balloons usually in the shake of rugby ball, huge elongated paper balls with small molted colored paper lanterns hung around their sides and balloons would sting along fireworks and fire sticks which are set of mid-air fireworks.

All Night Robe Weaving Contests
Date : Begins in evening before the Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone
Location : Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, and other pagodas throughout the country
Duration : The whole night

In the evening of the Full Moon Day, teams of weavers compete to finish a monk's robe during the night, to be offered to Buddha images at dawn the next day. It is a major event at the Shwedagon Pagoda. This ritual was once practised both in the palace during the time of monarchy and villages.

Shwezigon Pagoda Festival
Date : Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone
Location : Nyaung U, near Bagan, Mandalay Region
Duration : 15 days

On the Full Moon Day, there is a ritual of offering a filled alms bowl to a thousand and more monks and novices. Lacquer ware, glazed pots and hand woven cotton blankets are sold by villagers living in the region at this great country fair.

December (Tazaungmone / Nadaw) – Myanmar Calendar
Kyaik-hti-yo 'Golden Rock' Pagoda Festival Nine Thousand Lamps
Date : One evening of December 31
Location : Kyaik-hti-yo 'Golden Rock' Pagoda, Mon State
Duration : 1 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 Doctrine. The Magical Golden Rock Pagoda, a golden spire, sits on the top of a huge boulder covered with gold leaf and perched on the edge of a cliff.


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