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Festivals in Myanmar PDF Print E-mail

Festivals in January


Nar-Ga New Year’s Festival, Chin State

Jan 12    : 1st Waxing day of Pyartho
Location : Lahe, Nar-Ga Land, Sagaing Division
Festival ending January 16 2013

Naga New Year festival is one of the most breathtaking and exciting events among many festivals in Myanmar. The Naga are one of Myanmar national races who live in Naga land, Sagaing Division, north-west of Myanmar towards the Indian boarder. Their annual New Year festival is celebrated in the mid of January and participated by about 30 Naga clans. They wear different costumes in colour and styling. Visitors can encounter the colourful dresses, animal horns, tiger fangs, bear claws and also silver and bronze accessories and other interesting unseen decorations that we dress up for their performance of Naga essence of history and its own world.

Festivals in March


Kekku Pagoda Festival, Pindaya

Mar 26    : Full Moon day of Tabaung
Location : Pindaya, Shan State, Myanmar
6 days Festival ending March 31 2013

Annually, Kakku Pagoda festival is also held on full moon day of Tabaung. A cluster of more than 3000 pagodas said to be from Bagan period, but in the Yun Shan style, are grouped on a small hillock overlooking the Hopon Valley. The devotees come from Pa-O villages to the pagoda for paying respect and enjoy the days under the very huge banyan trees surrounding the pagodas on the full-moon day of Tabaung (March). The Pa O people dress up their best costumes and getting to know each other while others come by their bullock carts to the festival. Most of the pagodas are in ruins but the main Pagoda has been renovated with donations from the Chief Monk of the Buddhist Monastery in Singapore and local donors. On the full moon day (Mar.07) Alms offering is carried out by the native (Pa-O) people dressed in their traditional black out fits. There is the festival market also.

Festivals in April


Water Festival

Apil 13: 2nd Waxing day of Tagu
Location: Throughout the country
5-day festival ending April 17 2014
1st day - eve day (13Apr)
2nd day - beginning day (14Apr)
3rd day - high celebration day (15Apr)
4th day - high celebration day (16Apr)
                                             5th day - receding day (17Apr)

The festival is held on the eve of Myanmar New Year to cleanse the evil deeds of the previous year with water. During festival days, the streets are crowded with children and young people enjoy splashing water on one another from open trucks and enjoy dance and music performances stages on road sides. Elders take shelter in monasteries and pagoda precincts. Most of the local restaurants, markets and museums are closed and due to heavy traffic flow, it is impossible to visit some tourist sites around Yangon and Mandalay.

Festivals in June

Shite-Thaung Pagoda Festival, Mrauk Oo

June 20 : 12th Waxing day of Nayone
Location : Mrauk-U, Rakhine State
4-day ceremony ending June 23 2013

This pagoda festival will be held on 3rd (Full moon day) as same as the others pagoda festival but they have one exiting thing is they have traditional boxing show.  

Festivals in July

Chin-Lone Festival, Mandalay

July 12 : 5rd Waxing day of Warso
Location : Mahamuni Pagoda Compound, Mandalay Devision
21-day ending August 01 2013

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

Festivals in Auguest

Taung Byone Nat Festival, Taung Byone village

Aug 14 : 8th Waxing day of War Gaung
Location : Taung Byone Village Near Mandalay
8-day ending August 21st 2013

This festival is known as the major gathering spot for spiritual mediums and the most impressive Nat Festival in Myanmar. According to the legend, Byat Wi and Byat Ta, two Indian brothers, got extra ordinary powers after they ate the body of a dead alchemist. Offerings and dances, the inflow of merchants, the constant arrival of pilgrims and the intensive uses of loudspeakers continue day and night.  

Festivals in October


Phaung Daw Oo Festival, Inle Lake

Oct 05 : 1st Waxing day of Thidingyut
Location : Inle Lake, Shan State
18-day festival ending October 22nd 2013

The procession of leg-rowed boats, which are ceremoniously tugging four Buddha statues situated on a royal barge clockwise around Inle Lake. Throughout the event leg-rowed boat races are being held and you will come across them during the excursion on the lake. Hundreds of other vessels travel in the entourage in a general festive atmosphere. Thousands of people from around the Shan State attend this most holy of all Shan celebrations. Time table of Phaung Daw Oo Festival.


Dummy Elephant Festival, Kyauk Se

Oct 18 : 14th Waxing day of Thidingyut
Location : Kyauk Se, Mandalay
2-day festival ending October 19 2013

This unique and exotic elephant dance held at Kyauk Se, 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.


The Thadingyut (Festival of Lights)

Oct 18 : 14th Waxing day of Thidingyut
Location : Throughout Myanmar
3-day festival ending October 20th 2013

To mark the end of the Buddhist Lent, and is also one of the most 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.

Indein Pagoda Festival, Inle Lake

Oct 26 : 7th Waning day of Thidingyut
Location : Inle Lake, Shan State
2-day festival ending October 27th 2013

Buddhist ceremony held at unique site of old shrine complex in Inle Lake.


Festivals in November

Balloon Festival, Taunggyi

Nov 11 : 9th Waxing day of Tazaungmone
Location : Taunggyi, Shan State
8-day festival ending November 18th 2013

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. Time table of Balloon Festival in Taunggyi.

Pho-Win-Taung Festival, Monywa

Nov 16 : 14th Waxing day of Tazaungmone
Location : Monywa
2-day festival ending November 17th 2013

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.


Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival, Golden Rock

Nov 17 : Fullmoon day of Tazaungmone
Location : Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, Kyaikhto, Mon State
1-day festival till midnight

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 9,999 candles are ceremoniously lit at mid night.

Kaung-Hmu-Daw Pagoda Festival, Sagaing

Nov 10 : 8th Waxing day of Tazaungmone
Location : Sagaing State, Mandalay
8-day festival ending November 17th 2013

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 them there. They like to camp under the shade of the trees.

Shwezigon Festival, Bagan

Nov 11 : 9th Waxing day of Tazaungmone
Location : Nyaung U
9-day festival ending November 19th 2013

Shwezigon Festival will be held starting from 22 November to 30 November. 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 (28 Nov.), there is a communal offering of food and various domestic articles to the monks from the nearby monasteries (ca. 600) lined up as in usual offerings.

Festivals in December


Akha New Year Festival, Kyaing Tong

Dec 15 : 13rd Waxing day of Nadaw
Location : Kyaing Tong Township, Eastern Shan state

Akha ethnic New Year festival’s date is fixed according to the Akha calendar.

9000 Lights and 9000 flowers Offering, Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda

Dec 20 : 3rd Waning day of Nadaw
Location : Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, Kyaikhto Township

This is a very unique pagoda perched precariously on the tip of a rock offering with 9000 Lights and 9000 Flowers.


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