5 Traditional Festivals in Myanmar
Myanmar is a country with many festivals and holidays. The annual holiday is about 110 days. In addition to political festivals, most of the traditional festivals are related to Buddhism. The most famous festival in Myanmar is the Songkran Festival or Water Festival, similar to the Chinese Spring Festival and Western Christmas. In addition to Water Festival in Myanmar, what traditional festivals else are there in Myanmar? There are 5 traditional festivals in Myanmar that you can’t miss.
Water Festival in Myanmar
- Held on: at the end of January and early February according to the Myanmar Calendar(Between April and May)
- Activities: Pray and splash water each other
The Water Festival is also the Spring Festival in Myanmar, also known as the Songkran Festival. It is the middle of April each year and generally lasts for 4 days. The fifth day of Water Festival is the first day of the New Year. This festival has a history of 700 years and is the most traditional festival of the Dai and De'ang people. During the festival, regardless of gender, young or old, people can pour water on each other to pray for the disappointment of the past year and good wishes for the new year. The more splashed, the more happy people will be, because water symbolizes happiness.
Kason Festival in Myanmar
- Held on: the full moon day of February according to the Myanmar Calendar(Between April and May)
- Activities: Go to the pagoda to pray, water the bodhi tree
Bodhi tree is very sacred to Buddhists, it is a symbol of Buddha. Therefore, there are linden trees planted near each stupa. People are care for the bodhi trees and never cut them down. On the day of the Kason Festival, people gather under the banyan tree early in the morning. People circle the tree at 6 o'clock in the morning. At 6:30, the master of ceremonies announces that the bathing Buddha activities begin. First, people ask the gods to go down. Then the monks should chant scriptures and then water the tree. Then, the elders announce the bathing of the tree. In the hottest dry season, water the tree is hope for Buddhism to flourish.
Pagoda Festival in Myanmar
- Held on: a week before or after the full moon between February and March
- Activities: worship the Buddha in Shwedagon Pagoda
Myanmar is a Buddhist country. Bagan of Myanmar, known as the capital of stupas, is the best explanation for this. This festival is a week before or after the full moon between February and March. This is the most important and most spectacular Buddhist festival in Myanmar. It is also the time that the Burmese will definitely visit the Shwedagon Pagoda once in a lifetime. During this period, in addition to the monks who will worship the Buddha, ordinary people will come here to pay tribute to the flowers, and the temple will prepare free vegetarian meals and fruit for the passers-by. Some national celebrations will also be held at this time.
Lighting Festival in Myanmar
- Held on: the full moon day of July according to the Myanmar Calendar
- Activities: light lanterns, pray in temple, devote and express gratitude to the supervisors or elders
According to legend, during the rainy season, the Buddha went to the heavens to chant scriptures for 3 months and returned to the world on the full moon in July of the Burmese calendar. During this period, various entertainment activities will be held. The Lighting Festival in Myanmar is the equivalent of China's Mid-Autumn Festival held on the full moon in July. On this day, every household must light the lights of the house. There are dramas and dance performances everywhere. There are also giving activities on large scales. It is very lively. On the night of the Lighting Festival, all the lights on the pagoda will be lit. It is very spectacular. There is full of people on the big pagoda. Some of the locals are sitting under the pagoda, some are walking around the pagoda. There are many people holding a small oil lamp, or a candle in their hands. Some will also put a Kongming Lantern.
In Myanmar, the day of the Lighting Festival is also the Respect for the Elder Festival and become a day of gratitude to the elder. An event respecting elder will be held during this period. No matter what kind of occupation, the level of the official position, the age whether in the city or the country, people will solemnly and officially bow down, offer gifts and listen to teaching to their parents and elders on this day. Many people take advantage of this rare opportunity to express their gratitude to the supervisors and those who have helped themselves. The other party generally does not refuse your gratitude in this day. People will pray for each other in the direction of the Buddha. Of course, as the majority of the people who believe in Buddhism in Myanmar, the Lighting Festival is a day of generosity for the public. Many Buddhist believers will be more devoted to the temple to the monks.
Elephant Dance Festival in Myanmar
- Held on: October according to the Myanmar Calendar
- Activities: elephant dance show
Elephant dances in Myanmar are similar to Chinese dragons and lion dances. They are closely related to Burmese martial arts and have a very high artistic level. This elephant dance show is mainly in the middle and north of Myanmar. This seemingly clumsy elephant dances with a fast-paced and a mix of high-difficult shapes are very lovely and cute. Every October, the Elephant Dance Festival is held in central Myanmar. The most exciting one is the elephant dance which is elaborately made of bamboo frames and decorated with colorful decorations.