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"WHEN THE
MOON IS
FULL, IT'S
FESTIVAL TIME"

Inside Guides(1982)


The word " festival " is one high-lightened spectacular joy for the Land. The nature of it may vary from season to season with the different tribes, while you can explore they have the diverse intention. Most of them are intertwined with the Buddhism, meanwhile some celebrations are unique that can only been seen in some remote areas with over 150 hill tribes. Take a look of the list of festivals that are held all year round under each month and following with some recommendations for the most popular ones.

If you find anything interesting to you, please don't hesitate to ask us anytime!

January

1. New Year's Day
Time: 1 January 2017 & 2018
Location: Nationwide
Here in Myanmar, today is the day that we welcome the New Year. Although we celebrate the various festivals every month based on the Burmese Calendar, the Gregorian calendar is the official calendar that been using by nation wide. On the first day of January it is common for Burmese to gather with friends and family with a slight different celebration due to the tradition and culture. The celebration day could be held both on New Year's Eve and the New Year's Day that include fireworks, parades, concerts and other forms of entertainment.


2. Independence Day
Time: 4 January 2017 & 2018
Location: Nationwide
Independence Day is observed on 4th of January 1948 that Burma declared the freedom from under the British Commonwealth and rule that became a sovereign independent Nation. On this day, you will be able to join the locals celebrating with parades, and fireworks.


3. Ananda Pagoda Festival
Time: 7-12 January 2017
Time: 27 Dec 2017 - 1 Jan 2018
Location: Bagan
Ananda Pagoda is one of the great and masterpiece of Mon architecture influenced temples that the King Kyanzittha opted to build a replica of snow-covered cave from Himalaya Mountains inspired architect on the hot and dry Bagan landscape. January is the most important time of year when everyone celebrates and gathers to enjoy dance, comedy and open-air theatre performances. This is a joyous, colorful spectacle that you shouldn't miss. The corridors and vestibules of the temple as well as a lively market where vendors sell traditional Myanmar food and other local products will be a worth to stop by.


4. Kachin Manaw Festival
Time: 5-11 January 2017
Time: around first week of January (approximately around 9-11 January 2018)
Location: Myitkyina and Putao of Kachin State
The Kachin, Jinghpaw people, have celebrated the Manaw festival as the start of a new year. They celebrate the festival in aim of victories in battle and the reunification of the tribes. The Festival is unique as the people attend in their finest traditional costumes. The most liveliness of the festival is that they perform spiritual dances around beautifully decorated columns based on their believe in witchcraft and sorcery.


5. Naga New Year Festival
Time: 12-15 January 2017
Time: 12-18 January 2018
Location: Sagaing (Lahe)
The Naga tribes are another group of people who prefer high mountain terrain for their homes. We would suggest not missing this festival if you are in land around this period. You will enjoy the festival along with the breathtaking view of upper Chindwin River area of Sagaing Region. Their way of celebration is quite different that they perform not only around the bonfire with their ancient dances but traditional sports and competitions are also held.


6. Mahamuni Pagoda Festival
Time: 28 January 2017 - 11 February 2017
Time: 17-31 January 2018
Location: Mandalay
This annual festival is a 14-days celebration that ends on the full moon day of Thabodwe, the eleven month of the Myanmar calendar. Much revered temple during the festival is a sight that should not be missed. Traditional dances and theatre performances are held. The highlight is a competition of making glutinous (sticky) rice. On the day of the full moon, incense sticks are lit to honor the Buddha, flowers and water offer to the Buddha.


February

1. Nyan Taw Pagoda Festival (Shwe Myin Tin Pagoda)
Time: 3-11 February 2017
Time: 23-31 January 2018
Location: Pyin Oo Lwin
This is one of the most popular festival in Pyin Oo Lwin (formerly known as Maymyo) and many of the Shan and other ethnic groups descend from the hills to join the activities. Traditional dances, theatre and comedic shows are performed in the open air and a market where vendors sell a variety of local products. Mostly crowed at nighttime and held the whole night.


2. Golden Hilltop Festival (Kyaik Khauk Pagoda Festival)
Time: 6-12 February 2017
Time: 26 January - 1 February 2018
Location: Syriam (near Yangon)
This festival is one of the liveliest harvest festivals around Yangon. Featuring traditional Burmese folk dancing, plays and singing. With a vibrant, fun fair atmosphere, this festival gathers a multitude of stalls offering local produce, ceramics, furniture, bamboo mats and other products. A parade of ox-carts can be seen as the people from nearby villagers arrive to join the festivities.


3. Union Day
Time: 12 February 2017 & 2018
Location: Nationwide
It's an annual public holiday for Myanmar.It marks the occasion of the signing of the Panglong Agreement which promoted equality between the people of Burma and others ethnic hills tribes.The agreement was a key event in the history of Myanmar as it directly led to the creation of Burma as an independence state. In the capital, a Union Day concert is often held to showcase ethnic dancing and other festive activities.


March

1. Peasants' Day
Time: 2 March 2017
Location: Nationwide
Also known as Farmers' Day, Peasants' day is an annual public holiday in Myanmar. The holiday is a day to mark and honor the contribution of agriculture and farming to Myanmar. On this day, Myanmar shows their appreciation for peasant workers who contribute significantly to the country's economy through agriculture such as rice, beans, corn, sugarcane, timber, fish and spices among other products.


2. Shwe Saryan Pagoda Festival
Time: 4-13 March 2017
Time: 21 Feb - 2 March 2018
Location: Mandalay (Shwe Saryan Village)
This festival is celebrated in a village, approximately 45 minutes from Mandalay. The annual event is part social gathering, part religious ceremony, and part country fiar. Vendors sell traditional Myanmar toys, baskets and straw mats among other products. The vendors will donate a portion of their profits. Small boats can be hired along the Douhtawaddy River to view the nearby pagodas.


3. Indawgyi Pagoda Festival
Time: 5-13 March 2017
Time: 22 February 2018 - 2 March 2018
Location: Hopin (near Myitkyina)
Indawgyi holds cultural significance as the site of Shwe Myisu pagoda. This biggest pagoda festival in Kachin state, held for one week. This festival celebrates the full moon of Tabaung. It is especially popular among the Shan people who live in the surrounding hills. A defining feature of this event is the two sandbanks that appear in front of the festival entrance. One of the sandbanks is used for people to enter the festival, while the other sandbank is reserved as a passageway for spirits and celestials.


4. Pindaya Cave Festival
Time: 6-12 March 2017
Time: 23 February 2018 - 1 March 2018
Location: Pindaya
The Shwe Oo Min pagoda festival is the annual harvest festival for the town of Pindaya. When the farmers in the local area reap their fall harvest they bring it to the Shwe Oo Min Pagoda festival to sell the excess and donate a portion of their bounty to the temple to sustain the monks who provide religious services throughout the year. Hundreds of small stands sell delicious local food and Shan handicrafts. Diverse ethnic groups from across the Shan state visit the festival in their traditional costumes.


April

1. Thingyan (Myanmar New Year)
Time: 12-21 April 2017
Location: Nationwide
Thingyan is Myanmar's annual New Year celebration marking the end of the dry season, and the onset of the rainy season. Thingyan translates roughly as "transit", marking the approach of the Burmese New Year and is usually celebrated over four to five days. During this period, it is common for people to celebrate by throwing water on one another to symbolically "wash away" the sins of the previous year. On the final day of the festival perform merit-making rituals. Captive birds, fish and other animals are released as acts believed to draw good fortune and special feasts are prepared.


2. Shwemawdaw Pagoda Festival
Time: 18-30 April 2017
Time: 7 - 19 April 2018
Location: Bago
The pagoda's annual festival is a 10 days affair that takes place during the Burmese month of tagu. A variety of entertainment is held during this festival, including traditional dance, music and stage shows. Typical Myanmar goods and household items are sold at the market stalls around the pagoda.


May

1. Shite-Thaung Pagoda Festival
Time: 7-11 May 2017
Time: 26- 29 April 2018
Location: Mrauk U
This is the time of typical pagoda festival that locals start stalling some business around the pagoda that makes the festival more to be alive. The festival is filled with live performances; traditional dance, music and stage show along with the boxing matches. One of the most famous facts about this festival is not only because of the traditional boxing but the boat races splashing around Mrauk U canal on full moon day.


2. Full Moon of Kason (Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Trees)
Time: 11 May 2017
Time: 29 April 2018
Location: Nationwide
Full Moon day of Kason in other words, Buddha Day, commemorates the enlightenment of Buddha while meditation at the foot of the banyan tree 2500 years ago. For Buddhists or pilgrims in the nation usually visit temples and monasteries on this day to perform acts of charity or pour water on the Bodhi trees (banyan trees) in pagoda compounds to keep them fresh in the summer heat of May.


June

1. Chinlone Festival
Time: 29 June - 9 July 2017
Time: 18 - 28 June 2018
Location: Mandalay
This festival is one of the most fascinating festivals of the nation. Playing football is unique and crucial for most of the people. Likewise, Chinlone is a traditional sport of Myanmar, which is played using a small ball, made of bamboo or rattan. This only mainly held in Mandalay, on the site of the Mahamuni Pagoda that players from all parts of the country come around to take part of the event. The games are accompanied by native music while the teams demonstrate tremendous acrobatics skills of keeping the ball in the air for as long as possible without using their hands.


July

1. Full Moon of Waso
Time: 9 July 2017
Location: Nationwide
The start of the Buddhist Lent, a three-month period when monks retreat into their monasteries to study the Buddhist teachings is when the monsoon rain begins. The meaning of this day is the anniversary of Buddha's first sermon on the Four Noble Truths. As monks are prohibited to travel overnight from their monasteries according to the code of conducts. You will see the Buddhists start to offer the robes, food and candles to the monks for the inventories of the wet season.


2. Taung Byone Spirit Festival
Time: 31 July - 7 August 2017
Time: 19 - 26 August 2018
Location: near Mandalay
This popular celebration takes place during the rainy season to appease local spirits. The homage celebration is based on the belief that the spirits can make wishes come true; bring wealth and success to their worshippers, protecting them against illness and danger.


September

1. Hpaung Daw U Pagoda Festival
Time: 21 September - 8 October 2017
Time: 10 - 27 October 2018
Location: Inle Lake
When you arrive to the country by this time, this is one of the most popular festivals held at Inle Lake that you shouldn't miss of. The main highlight of this festival is the boat race where leg-rowers dress in traditional costumes and demonstrate their skills around the lake. Another main purpose is ceremoniously decorated barge containing the images of Buddha makes its way around the lake, stopping at each village and thousands of locals carry fruits and flowers on lacquer trays in their own boats and pay homage when the holy barge passes around them.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival2017.pdf


October

1. Indein Pagoda Festival
Time: 1 - 5 October 2017
Time: 20 - 24 October 2018
Location: Inle Lake
The festival is mainly held at the shrine complex of Indein, a small village located along Inle Lake, which is an only recently rediscovered area of ruin with countless pagodas built as Bagan and Shan Styles.


2. Full Moon of Thadingyut
Time: 5 October 2017
Time: 23 - 26 October 2018
Location: Nationwide
Marking the end of the Buddhist Lent, the festival is held on this full moon of day of October. You will see that the city is fully decorated and brilliantly illuminated with colorful lights and paper lanterns along the kids playing with fireworks around by the evening in aim of paying homage to Buddha. During this time, most young people pay homage to not only Buddha but to the elders with respects and honor.


3. Balloon Festival
Time: 28 October - 3 November 2017
Time: 16 - 22 November 2018
Location: Taunggyi
The famous hot air balloon festival is celebrated once a year on the second festival of lights after Buddhist Lent. The origin is usually held at the Sulamani Temple by releasing decorative balloons aiming for paying homage towards the heavens by Pa-O ethnic people. The liveliness about the festival is that you can take part and enjoy watching beautifully decorated and colorful lanterns made out of bamboo frames and papers. Moreover, one more interesting fact about this festival is that there are competitions between different groups based on the art of building and the highest ascending balloon.


4. Shwezigon Pagoda Festival
Time: 31 October - 3 November 2017
Time: 19 - 22 November 2018
Location: Bagan
The pagoda area is surrounded and celebrated traditional dances and open-air theatre lasting several hours. If you get around this festival by chance, try to see the celebration on the full moon day when a communal offering of food to the 600 monks who travel here from surrounding monasteries is held.


November

1. Thanbodde Pagoda Festival
Time: 2 - 3 November 2017
Time: 21 - 22 November 2018
Location: Monywa
Likewise the other pagoda festivals, a lively festival atmosphere is created with music and live performances as well as a small market around the pagoda. If you would like to take a look and buy the traditional main handicrafts and local products, such as thanaka, sandalwood and woven textiles are sold at the various stands that surround the pagoda.


2. Pho Win Taung Festival
Time: 2 - 4 November 2017
Time: 21 - 23 November 2018
Location: Monywa
If you missed Thanbodde pagoda festival, there is another similar festival where a small market is set up on the pagoda grounds where visitors can buy local products such as thanaka, sandalwood and woven textiles. Similarly, the festival also features traditional dancing, music and stage shows, etc.


3. Full Moon of Tazaungmone
Time: 3 November 2017
Time: 22 November 2018
Location: Nationwide
Marking the end of the rainy season, many celebrations take place on this day. The country's best weavers take part in a robe weaving competition and the new robes are offered to monks. At the Koehtatkyi Pagoda in Yangon, 9,999 candles are lit to mark this auspicious occasion.


4. Robe Weaving contest
Time: 3 November 2017
Time: 22 November 2018
Location: Nationwide
On the evening before the full moon, the contests take place by young unmarried girls try to compete from dusk till dawn for the title of most skilled weaving team. You will find it is a feast and the most spirited for the crowd. In the early morning hours, by the time they finish, the products are ceremoniously presented to the monks or the Buddha at daybreak.


December

1. Mount Popa Spirit Festival
Time: 3 December 2017
Time: 22 December 2018
Location: Mount Popa
The festival is said to be one of the most crucial for pilgrims who worship the spirits, as the Mount Popa is the most important land for the spirits. The origin of the festivals are quite intimating as animals were sacrificed and said being forbidden by the Bagan age.


2. Kayin New Year
Time: 21 December 2017
Location: Nationwide
The new year of the Karen people celebrated mainly in the city of Hpa-An. The day is so colorful as they celebrate by wearing their traditional costumes and dancing to traditional music. You will find the joyousness and happy native people that makes a worth visit.