Myanmar is popularly known as the Land of Festivals because of the countless religious and cultural festivals that take place all year round. Festivals can be divided into two types, nation-wide and regional. As Myanmar culture is closely intertwined with Buddhism, most of Myanmar’s festivals centre around religious events.
The most popular and nation-wide celebrated festival is the “Thingyan Water Festival” (in April) which lasts for 3 to 4 days. Almost everyone participates by throwing or dousing water on each other using bowls, buckets or pipes.
Other major festivals are the “Thadingyut & Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights”. These festivals fall in in October and in November and last for 3 days. During the festivals, Buddhists illuminate decorated lights in the evenings in reverence to the Buddha. The Hot Air Balloons & Fireworks Festival in Taunggyi, Shan State is held during the Tazaungdaing festival of lights.
Other well-known festivals are :
in January, Kachin Tribe’s Manao Festival (Myitkyina, Kachin State). This 4-day festival is celebrated for the Kachin Tribes’ New Year and to reassert the unity of their different clans. Thousands of Kachin tribes people wearing their best traditional costume will dance to their music in a communal procession. Everybody is welcome to join them. In the Manaw ground, high totems painted in traditional red, black and white patterns tower over the dancers.
In January, the Naga ethnic tribe’s New Year Festival takes place in Naga Land, on the western side of Chindwin River in Homalin, Namyoon, Leshi, Lehe, Nanyoon & Khamti Townships.
In October, the Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake, Shan State) takes place. This is a 18-day festival during which 4 Buddha images are ceremoniously circulated around the lake on the royal barge by leg-rowing boats. The royal barge stops at each village where people pay homage to the relics. This procession is full of pageantry, and a certain ceremonial splendour can be seen. The most interesting event of the festival is the Shan traditional boat racing teamed up with the famous leg-rowers dressed in national costumes.
|4 January||Independence Day|
|12 February||Union Day|
|2 March||Peasants’ Day|
|27 March||Armed Forces Day|
|March||Tabaung Full moon Day|
|April||10-Days Thingyan Water Festival & Myanmar New Year Holiday|
|1st May||May Day|
|May||Kason Full moon Day|
|July||Waso Full moon Day|
|19 July||Martyr’s Day|
|October||Tadingyut Full moon Day|
|November||Tazaungdaing Full moon Day|
|25 December||Christmas Day|