Hailed as the Land of Festivals, Myanmar is standing up to its title by having festivals every month of the year, which are religious and cultural in nature. Many of these are celebrated nationwide while some are regional. When you visit the country any month, you will surely get to witness at least one fun-filled festival during your stay.
Here are some of the best festivals that you can attend and participate each month:
Ananda Pagoda Festival – Held during the full moon of Pyatho to 15th Waning of Pyatho in Bagan, this is considered to be one of the richest and most magnificent Asian festivals.
Kachin Manaw Festival – Held during the first week of Januray, Kachin Manaw is celebrated by meeting and dancing. The Manaw dance is performed during the festivity as part of the Nat worship.
Mann Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival – Celebrated in Shwe Settaw, Megwe Region beginning on the 5th Waxing of Tabodwe (around February). Two pagodas enshrining Buddha’s footprints are visited by locals and tourists.
Htamane (Glutinous Rice Festival) – A celebration that starts on the full moon day of Tabodwe, teams of men compete for donation of glutinous rice to the Great Lord Buddha in the early morn. Visitors watch cooking demonstrations and competitions using glutinous rice.
Panguni Utram – This festival is celebrated in Sri Angala Eswari Munieswar Swamy Temple, Pleikha Village, Kyauk Tan Township in Yangon. It lasts for 10 days and is celebrated during the full moon day of Tabaung or Tagu (March or April). Religious in nature, this occasion attracts a lot of participants with fire walking. After walking on hot coals, the devotees tread in goat’s milk before rubbing their feet with turmeric powder.
Water Festival and Myanmar New Year – Happens around 13-17th day of April throughout Myanmar. This is considered to be the most interesting and liveliest celebrations where people pour water over one another while singing and dancing in the adorned pavilions.
Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival – Held during the full moon of Waso, 8th waxing of Nayon (around June) in Pakokku, Myanmar. This festival lasts for 15 days with a big country fair where products from the region like homespun baskets, tobacco and dried chili are sold.
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival – Celebrated in Inle Lake during the 1st waxing to 3rd waning day of Thadingyut, Phaung Daw Oo Festival endures for 18 days. Thousands of visitors from around the lake bring flowers and fruits in their boats to pay homage in the pagoda. Annual boat races also happen with the communities’ famous one-legged boaters.
Festival of Light – This special occasion happens a day before the full moon day of Thadingyut, full moon day and a day after. The Festival of Light commemorates Buddha’s return to earth after preaching in celestial houses during the Lent season. Locals decorate their abodes with colored lanterns and candles to signify this event.
Dancing Elephants Festival – Myanmar is famous for its elephants, so it’s just fitting to hold a festival honoring these animals that have played significant roles in Burmese history. This is celebrated a day before the full moon day of Thadingyut and the full moon day.
With all these amazing festivals happening year-round in Myanmar, don’t forget to bring your camera with you to capture some of the most beautiful scenes. Also, bring comfortable yet modest clothes and enough water to get you through a day filled with exciting sights and sounds as well as exhilarating adventures.