Festivals in Myanmar

Ananda Festival, Bagan
Thingyan Festival
Balloon Festival, Taungyyi
Kason Sacred Bo Tree Watering Ceremony, Bagan

As well as the public holidays there are plenty of festivals that take place in Myanmar throughout the year and below we have listed some of the most important. If you would like to incorporate one of these festivals into your itinerary please just let us know at the time of enquiry.

Ananda Temple Festival
4th - 19th January 2015: Full moon day of Pyatho. 
Location: Ananda Temple, Bagan. 
Alms bowls filled with crops are offered to monks who wait in long lines. Pilgrims and festival goers use bullock carts to travel to the festivities. In front of the pagoda there is a fairground with market stalls and restaurants.

Moe Byae Festival
31st January - 3rd February 2015: Full moon day of Tabodwe.
Location: Moe-Byae, Shan State.
4 day festival ending 3rd February.
The biggest pagoda festival in Shan State. 
Moe Byae is a small town on the border of Shan and Kayah states. Thousands of shops are built around the huge festival ground, with the beautiful pagoda in the centre, selling every thing from illegal motorbikes to needles and from candies to the whole grilled pig, various kinds of rice whiskey. The festival is visited by thousands of people - mainly mountain tribes like Pao, Kayah, Shan and even a few Padaung from nearby mountain villages - who buy, sell or barter their products over the course of the festival and also enjoy in the shows and dance performances.

Mahamuni Ceremonies
2nd - 3rd February 2015: 14th waxing day & 15th full moon day of Tabodwe.
Location: Mandalay. 
Glutinous rice delicacy contests are held late on 14th waxing day. In the morning of 15th full moon day, incense is burnt for the image.

Pindaya Cave Festival
1st - 4th March 2015: 11th waxing day of Tabaung 
Location: Pindaya, Shan State 
Typical Taung-yo pagoda festival. Different ethnic minority races can be seen. The 3rd March is the busiest day at the festival.

Kakku Festival
4th March 2015. 
Location: Taunggyi, Shan State. 
Kakku is home to thousands of Shan style thin and slender pagodas which are compactly built in a geometric pattern which give the pagoda complex its unique look. During the festival local tribal people from the surrounding region like Shan, Pa O, Palaung, Lishaw and Dano flock to Kakku to take part in this annual event. 

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival
4th March 2015: : Full moon day of Tabaung.
Location: Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.
A festival for the people from each city in Myanmar. Offerings of water, light and flowers are made to the hundreds of Buddha images in the pagoda grounds. 

Thingyan (Water) Festival
13th - 17th April 2015. 
Location: Through the country. 
5 day festival ending 17th April. 
The festival is held on the eve of Myanmar New Year to cleanse the bad deeds of the previous year with water. Young people go out to enjoy themselves (splashing water) and elders take shelter in monasteries and pagoda precincts. Major water splashing events take place in Yangon and Mandalay.

Popa Ceremony
13th April 2015. 
Location: Mount Popa. 
During Thingyan, pilgrims from all over the country pay their respects at Popa’s Nat shrines.

Kason Sacred Bo Tree Watering Ceremony
2nd May 2015: Full moon day of Kason. 
Location: Nationwide. 
A ceremony held to commemorate the greatness of the Lord Buddha and his teachings. The activities of the festival include carrying scented water pots, chanting Pali scripts and pouring water at the bottom of the Bo Tree.

Taungbyone Ceremony (Nat Festival)
25th - 29th August 2015: starts 14th waxing day of Wargaung. 
Location: Taungbyone, Mandalay. 
Held to worship two Taungbyone spiritual figures. A major gathering spot for spiritual mediums and Nat worshippers.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
14th - 31st October 2015: starts 1st waning day of Thidingyut.
Location: Inle Lake, Shan State.
Four Buddha statues, on the royal barge, are ceremonially transported clockwise around the lake by leg-rowers. Races are also held thoughout the event. 

Manuha Pagoda Festival & Holy Man Festival
28th September 2015: full moon day of Tawthalin (Manuha Pagoda Festival).
Location: Myinkaba Village, Bagan.
30th September 2015: waning day of Tawthalin (Holy Man Festival or Bodaw Gu Hutet Pwe).
Location: Mount Popa, near Bagan.
Usually the Manuha Pagoda Festival is celebrated between 27th and 28th September and the Holy Man Festival on the 30th, allowing pilgrims from Yangon, Mandalay to visit both festivals during this period.

Thidingyut Festival (Festival of Lights)
27th - 29th October 2015: 14th waxing day of Thidingyut
Location: Throughout the country.
3 day festival ending 29th October.
To mark the day Lord Buddha came down from heaven after spending three months of the Buddhist lent there. Buddha's return is welcomed throughout the country with colourful illuminations. People also set off fireworks and release balloons into the sky.

Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock) Season
28th October 2015: Full moon day of Thidingyut. 
Location: Kyaikhto, Mon State. 
A 9 month long season. 
The boulder, standing on the edge of a peak in the highest mountain range, is said to be freely hanging over the cliff. Famous as a spot for pilgrimage and holiday outings.

Balloon Flying Festival
21st - 27th November 2015: 10th waxing day of Tazaunmon. 
Location: Taunggyi, Shan State. 
During this typical ‘Pa-O’ festival, hot air balloons are released day and night. Competitions take place over their beauty and the altitude they gain.

Robe Weaving Contest
25th November 2015: 14th waxing day of Tazaunmon 
Location: Shwedagon, Botataung, Kyaikkasan and elsewhere 
On the 14th waxing day of Tazaunmon, groups of young women take part in competitions held on the platforms of pagodas. The robe they make has to be finished flawlessly overnight and offered at dawn to the images of Lord Buddha around the Pagoda.

Shwezigon Festival
26th November - 11th December 2015: The festival takes place over this period but the most important day is 26th November (full moon day of Tazaungmon).
Location: Bagan.
Candles and fireworks are carried in procession before offering to the pagoda on the full moon day. Alms bowls are offered to monks as they do at Anada festival. Similarly bullock carts can be seen and in front of the pagoda there is a fairground with market stalls and restaurants.

Akha New Year Festival
28th December 2015.
Location: Keng Tung, Shan State. 
The Akha, one of the ethnic peoples living along the Salween River Vallery, are famous for their colorful women who wear silver coin studded head geards. They gather once a year at Keng Tung, the old city of estern Shan State near Thai border to celebrate the New Year. On New Year's Eve day Akha tribe of all age gather at the big football ground and perform singing and dancing. On the following New Year's Day all the participants take part in an auspicious breakfast and lunch to mark and wish for a prosperous New Year.

Please note that all dates are subject to change without prior notice.

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