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Festivals in Myanmar (Burma)

There is a saying that Myanmar celebrates a festival every month. Fortunately for tourists there are even more, spread across the whole country throughout the year. This affords visitors a wonderful opportunity to gain firsthand insight into the living culture of Myanmar. The exact dates of the festivals are calculated according to the Myanmar lunar calendar, so only approximate months are given as they can change from year to year.

Pagoda festivals are like country fairs, while nat (spirit) ceremonies are accompanied by plenty of music, dancing and eating.

Independence Day

Date: 4-Jan 4-Jan
Location: Entire Myanmar
Celebrations arranged by the government in Naypyidaw and across Entire Myanmar. Ceremonies are very early at 0420 am and can usually not be attended by the public. All government offices and markets are closed.

Kaya State Day

Date: 8-Jan 8-Jan
Location: Kaya State

Kachin Manaw Festival

Date: 9-Jan 10-Jan
Location: Kachin State
Kachin State day is on 10 Jan. They festival will be held one day ahead of State day. But they celebrate once in 4th year or 10th year. Please check with us whether celebrate or not.

Nar-ga New Year

Date: 12-Jan 16-Jan
Location: Chin State
The New Year is celebrated form January 14 to 15. On 14th, an opening ceremony is held in the morning and in the evening there is traditional dance with bonfires. On New Year day they have a competition of traditional sports, and gathering of subtribes of Narga, once fierce warriors in their bright and exotic dresses, celebrate with rice wine roasted meat and tribal dances performed with loud beating of drums.

Ananda Pagoda Festival

Date: 3-Jan 18-Jan
Location: Bagan
Ananda Pagoda festival will be held starting from 15 – 30 Jan 08 . There are evening entertainments such as Zats: a variety of dance, song, short and long plays, Anyeints: a performance of a few hours in which number of jokers caricature current situations and or person strung together by a traditional dancer, popular movies shown in open air. It is also a popular sales fair where all kinds of goods, some of them are locally produced, are sold. The most interesting aspect of this festival is the caravan of bullock-carts in the pagoda compound, camp under the shady trees. It is very crowded around the fullmoon day,20- 22 January 2008.

Feast of Shan Harvest Day

Date: 20-Jan 20-Jan
Location: Shan State

Shan State Day

Date: 7-Feb 7-Feb
Location: Shan State

Union Day

Date: 12-Feb 12-Feb
Location: Entire Myanmar
Celebrations arranged by the government in Naypyidaw and across Entire Myanmar. Mostly early morning. All offices and markets are closed

Kyaik-Khauk Pagoda Festival

Date: 2-Feb 9-Feb
Location: Syriam
Kyaik-Khauk Pagoda Festival will be held starting from 14-21 February. Most of the pagoda festival has evening entertainments such as Zats, Anyeints, some stage show and movies shown in the open air the whole night for every day. Villagers nearby come to the festival by ox-carts, which can be seen just before and on fullmoon day (21 February).

Nyan Taw Pagoda Festival (Shwe Myin Tin Pagoda)

Date: 2-Feb 9-Feb
Location: Maymyo (Pyin Oo Lwin)
Similar to most of the pagoda festivals with most of the ingredients as in the Mahamuni Pagoda Festival. It is a famous pagoda festival in Maymyo. In addition, we can observe several Shan and other ethnic groups who come from the hills to sell their products.

Mahamuni Ceremony

Date: 2-Feb 17-Feb
Location: Mandalay
01st –09th waxing day, ceremony in which a number of monks chant Buddhist scriptures non-stop. 08 the waxing day till fullmoon day: the real festival days with evening entertainment such as Zats (a variety of dance, song and short & long plays), Anyeints ( a performance of a few hours in which a number of “jokers” ( usually four) caricature current situations and /or persons strung together by a traditional dancer) and popular movies shown in open air. In the day time, there are many stalls selling various kinds of Myanmar snacks displayed in continuous rows of long tables.
On the 08th waxing day (n), there is a communal offering of food (dry rations) and various domestic articles to monks from the nearby monasteries (ca.100) lined up as in usual offerings.

Peasants’ Day

Date: 2-Mar 2-Mar
Location: Entire Myanmar
Held in honour of the country’s largest productive workforce.

Maw-Tin Pagoda Festival

Date: 24-Feb 10-Mar
Location: Ngapudaw, near Pathein

Shwe Saryan Pagoda Festival

Date: 24-Feb 10-Mar
Location: Patheingyi, Mandalay
Shwe Saryan Village, 45 minutes drive from Mandalay on the way to Maymyo (near Hton Bo), You can also take a small boat on the Douhtawaddy River and visit the pagodas nearby, Myanmar traditional toys, boxes, baskets, mats made of dried toddy palm leaves are the best selling village products in this festival.

Pakhan Ko Gyi Kyaw Festival

Date: 26-Feb 10-Mar
Location: Shwe Gu Ni Village (between Pakkoku and Myingyan)
Regional Nat festival like Taung Byone and Yadanar Gu.

Indawgyi Festival

Date: 3-Mar 10-Mar
Location: Hopin, near Myintkyina
Ca. 100 miles far from Myintkyina. Approx. Five hours drive up to Indawgyi. This festival is held yearly for ten days. One intriguing fact is that two sandbanks are washed up by the waves before the festival begins so that people can walk from the bank to the pagoda. People believe that one is for human use and the other is a passage for the gods. These two sandbanks disappear into the lake shortly after the festival.

Zalun Pyidawpyan Image Festival

Date: 4-Mar 10-Mar
Location: Zalun, near Pathein

Baw-gyo Festival

Date: 5-Mar 10-Mar
Location: near Hsipaw
Once a year, only during the festival days, the locked up “four Buddha images” are brought out for display, worship and gilding with gold leaf. We can see tea-growing Palaung tribes from the hills and jewellers from Kyauk Me who try and sell their products there. Many kinds of gambling are allowed during the festival days only. Shan State

Kakku Pagoda Festival

Date: 8-Mar 10-Mar
Location: Kakku
On the fullmoon day (02 March)-Alms offering is carried out by the native (Pa-O) people dressed in their traditional black out fits. There is the festival market also. near Taunggyi

Pindaya Cave Festival

Date: 7-Mar 11-Mar
Location: Pindaya
(On full moon day 21 Mar) in Pindaya with offerings made by the native tribes such as Danu, Pa-O, Taung Yoe and Palaung. Festivities include performances with roaming artisans and the festival market.

Nay Win Taung Pagoda Festival

Date: 10-Mar 10-Mar
Location: Maymyo
Same as Nyan Taw Pagoda Festival. Traditional Shan festival. It takes place in the northern part of Maymyo, about an hour’s drive from the downtown area.

Tabaung Fullmoon Day

Date: 10-Mar 10-Mar
Location: Entire Myanmar
Ceremonies are held at pagodas all over the country

Armed Forces Day

Date:27-Mar 27-Mar
Location: Entire Myanmar

Thingyan – Water Festival

Date: 13-Apr 16-Apr
Location: Entire Myanmar
Myanmar people celebrate the famous waterfestival called “Thingyan”. One cannot avoid of getting very wet because every one throws water at everybody. People drive through the city in open cars and there are stages along the street where people throw water. During this time, everything is closed: restaurants, shops, markets, Museum, etc.

Shwemawdaw Pagoda Festival

Date: 2-Apr 14-Apr
Location: Bago
Same with the other pagoda festival. There are evening entertainment such as Zats, Anyeints, stage show and also a popular sales fair where all kinds of goods, most of them are clothes, toys & kitchen supplies. ( not expensive one)

Sand Stupa Festival

Date: 15-Apr 15-Apr
Location: Min Thar Su Quarter
In three different Mandalay quarters stupas are built with sand within 01 night. Sand stupas are built up with five segments gradually converging to the top. Each layer of white sand is supported by bamboo-mats and -posts. The celebration dates are not the same and depend on the different quarters where the festival is held. Mandalay

Myanmar New Year

Date: 17-Apr 17-Apr
Location: Entire Myanmar
This is the start of the new year and the end of the Thingyan – water festival. Entire Myanmar is very quiet and everything is closed.

Popa Ceremony

Date: 17-Apr 17-Apr
Location: Mt. Popa
Nat dances on Mt. Popa. Very crowded and difficult to get up the mountain.

May Day

Date: 1-May 1-May
Location: Entire Myanmar

Sand Stupa Festival

Date: 6-May 6-May
Location: Yahai Quarter, Mandalay
Same with the other pagoda festival. There are evening entertainment such as Zats, Anyeints, stage show and also a popular sales fair where all kinds of goods, most of them are clothes, toys & kitchen supplies. ( not expensive one)

Sand Stupa Festival

Date: 7-May 8-May
Location: Pa Le Ngwe Yaung, Mandalay
Same with the other pagoda festival. There are evening entertainment such as Zats, Anyeints, stage show and also a popular sales fair where all kinds of goods, most of them are clothes, toys & kitchen supplies. ( not expensive one)

Shwe Kyet Yet Event

Date: 7-May 8-May
Location: Shwe Kyet Yet, Amarapura
Crowded with people pouring water to the sacred Bo tree.

Kason Fullmoon Day

Date: 8-May 8-May
Location: Entire Myanmar
Pouring water to the sacred Bo tree. No other special entertainment. Just only a small ceremony all over the country. Especially lots of crowds at Shwekyetyet Pagoda.

Date:
Location:
8-May 8-May Shite-thaung Pagoda Festival Mrauk U
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.

Thihoshin Pagoda Festival

Date: 31-May 15-Jun
Location: Pakkoku
This pagoda festival will be held from 11- 26 June. There is festival market and also evening entertainments such as Zats, Anyeints and Movies.

Chin Lone Festival ( Mahamuni Waso festival)

Date: 15-Jun 7-Jul
Location: Mandalay
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 to see several ways of playing Chin Lone and racing by either team or individual together with local / folk music played while entertaining the audience.

Waso Fullmoon Day

Date: 6-Jul 6-Jul
Location: Entire Myanmar
Start of Buddhist Lent. Donation ceremonies of new robes and other temporal requirements to the monks all over the country at major pagodas, monasteries and even at homes.

Martyr’s Day

Date: 19-Jul 19-Jul
Location: Entire Myanmar
The day of the assassination of General Aung San and other ministers. Early morning (private) memorial services at the monument near Shwedagon Pagoda.

Shwe Kyun Pin Festival

Date: 23-Jul 29-Jul
Location: Mingun
Regional Nat festival. Can observe several kinds to ceramic wares from Singaing and Kyaukmyaung are laid out at the bank of river for sale during the festival. Mandalay

Taung Byone Festival

Date: 29-Jul 5-Aug
Location: Matara, near Mandalay
Traditional Nat Festival. The most famous in Upper Myanmar. 01 hour drive from Mandalay. It lasts five days and every day has special programs. Festival where especially youngsters are merry and enjoy drinking and where people of all ages can join in the Nat dance. Ceremonies are mostly at night and it is very hard to get into the village

Fish Feeding Ceremony

Date: 5-Aug 5-Aug
Location: Pwinphyu, near Magwe

Yadanar Gu Festival

Date: 13-Aug 19-Aug
Location: Amarapura
Traditional Nat festival on the Mandalay-Sagaing road. Approx. Half an hour drives from Mandalay. We can take a small sampan along the lake up to the Nat Shrine hall.

Shwe Kyet Yet Boat racing festival

Date: 11-Sep 11-Sep
Location: Shwe Kyet Yet Jetty

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

Date: 19-Sep 6-Oct
Location: Inle Lake
The biggest occasion of the Lake Inle. The images of the Buddha from Phaung Daw Oo are placed on a decorated royal barge and taken around the lake, stopping at villages for people to pay homage. The festivals is full of pageantry and colourful, and there are fun fairs, music, dances and boat races. Since this festival lasts very long, please check with us for exact dates and events

Kyaukdawgyi Pagoda Festival

Date: 26-Sep 3-Oct
Location: Mandalay
It’s situated at the foot of Mandalay hill, within a short walking distance from Mandalay Hill Hotel. It is considered popular sales fair where all kinds of goods (some of them locally produced) are sold. Next to that is the usual organization of events similar to other Pagoda Festivals.

Myathalon Festival

Date: 26-Sep 25-Nov
Location: Magwe

Shinbinsagyo Pagoda Ceremony

Date: 2-Oct 3-Oct
Location: Salay

Elephant Dance Festival

Date: 2-Oct 2-Oct
Location: Kyaukse
Yearly cultural highlight of Kyaukse, 26 miles to the south of Mandalay. The whole town competes, not only for the best “elephant dance”-performance, but at the same time for the nicest-decorated “elephant”. For the dance itself: two men get inside at life-size hollowed-out papier-mâché elephant figure and imitate the movements of a real elephant. Usually, there is a ‘lead’-man who coordinates the movements of the dancers, assisted by a small number of musicians.
The festival is celebrated on the day before full moon day of Thadingyut . As the day progresses, it is getting more and more crowded because people nearby villages and as far away as Mandalay come to Kyaukse and join in the festivities.

Tadingyut Festival

Date: 2-Oct 4-Oct
Location: Entire Myanmar
End of Buddhist lent. And also the festival of lights. Pagodas, houses and streets are brilliantly illuminated. It is not only a time of joy but also thanksgiving and paying homage to teachers, parents and elders.

Tadingyut Fullmoon Day

Date: 3-Oct 3-Oct
Location: Entire Myanmar

Shwezigon Festival

Date: 25-Oct 9-Nov
Location: Bagan
Shwezigon Festival will be held starting from 5- November to 20 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 ( 12th 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.

Thanbodde Pagoda Ceremony

Date: 27-Oct 1-Nov
Location: Monywa
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.

Phowintaung Festival

Date: 27-Oct 1-Nov
Location: Monywa
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.

Kaunghmudaw Pagoda Festival

Date: 27-Oct 1-Nov
Location: Sagaing
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.

Fire Balloon Festival (Taunggyi )

Date: 26-Oct 1-Nov
Location: Taunggyi
Taunggyi Fire balloons festival will be held from 6 -12 November and can watch the various competitions of hot- air balloons. At day-time, see the competitions of decorated hot-air balloons in different shapes and forms of animals such as elephants, horse, cattle, pig mythical Hintha bird and hen etc. Also see the fireworks and firecrackers of hot air-balloon at night time.

Fire Balloon Festival

Date: 31-Oct 1-Nov
Location: Maymyo
This festival has taken place on the day before full moon and full moon day since two years ago. It is similar to festival in Taunggyi, but not bigger than in Taunggyi.

Robe Weaving Contest

Date: 31-Oct 31-Oct
Location: Big Cities
he robe weaving ceremony is held on the eve of the day before fullmoon day in one night. This is a competition for the weaving skills between teams of women to complete special saffron-coloured robes, called “Ma Tho Thin Gan” from the evening onwards at dawn. It is still done in the traditional way and lots of people enjoy watching the demonstrations. At dawn, the robes are offered to the great image of Lord Buddha and followed by the prize giving ceremony for the winners.

Shin Mar Le Pagoda Festival

Date: 31-Oct 1-Nov
Location: Mandalay
Celebrated at the time of the Tazaung Dine Festival. People throe with lotus flowers to the top of the stupa, located at the North entrance of the Mahamuni Pagoda, as homage to the Lord Buddha.

Tazaungdaing Fullmoon Festival

Date: 1-Nov 1-Nov
Location: Entire Myanmar
Many locals of different status offer yellow robes & other items such as slippers, umbrellas, alms bowls and other domestic articles to the monks. This offering ceremony is commonly called “Kathein” and every local hope – at least once in his/her life – to participate in this event. Especially Sagaing attracts quite some crowds, as it is known as the Buddhist place of retreat per excellence in the country with a concentration of monasteries, nunneries and pagodas in that area. Many people (even from Mandalay) go and spend the whole night (preceding full moon day) in Sagaing.

Alotaw Pyi Festival

Date: 21-Nov 8-Dec
Location: Bagan

National Day

Date: 4-Dec 4-Dec
Location: Entire Myanmar

Shwemyetmhan (Golden Sceptical) Pagoda Festival

Date: 24-Nov 1-Dec
Location: Shwetaung
This pagoda festival is as same as the others pagoda festival. But one interesting thing is during the British time, Mrs. Hurtno wife of the commissioner was relieved from her eye disease after she offered a pair of glasses to the Buddha. Local people who lives around this area they believe that whoever have a problem with eyes they make novena to this pagoda.

Taung Byone Natto (Sit Htwet) Nat Festival

Date: 1-Dec 1-Dec
Location: Taung Byone Village

Minmahagiri Nat Ceremony

Date: 1-Dec 1-Dec
Location: Popa

Christmas Day

Date: 25-Dec 25-Dec
Location: Entire Myanmar

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PkTan is fascinated with this beautiful, complicated country. He love advising travellers to Myanmar and have developed this site to share all his knowledge of Myanmar with everyone.

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