Myanmar Famous Festivals by Month

Manua Festival (Usually 1st or 2nd week of January, Kachin State)

Location

  • Myit Kyi Na (Kachin state’s Capitol)

Time of the year

  • 1st or 2nd week of January

Duration

  • 1 Day

Description

The Manau Festival represents a blend dignity and delight of Kachin kinsfolk. Note: Kachin state lies in northern Myanmar with snow-capped mountains including the South East Asia’s highest peaks, Hkakabo Razi, Ganalrazi and Dindawrazi. The men wear the warrior-like costuems with their swords held in front and the women in their colourful and varied national dress. The dances are originated as part of the ‘Nat’ or spirit worship of the past tradition. Any one, irrespective of race, religion or status, is welcome to participate in this traditional dance festival. It is a very pleasant enjoyable way to get to know at first hand the culture and traditions so dear to the heart of the Kachin peoples. With this dance can also be strengthened the foundations of friendship and national unity.

Highlights

  • Trekking & Hiking
  • Nature at its best
  • Traditional dances and costumes
  • Snowy mountains
  • Sight-seeing, Boats

Recommended nearby places to visit

  • PutaO City (for trekking)
  • The Maykha and Malikha River (for sight-seeing)
  • Hkakabo Razi (for hiking fanatics)

Videos

Naga New Year Festival (14-16 January, Sagaing Region, Kachin State)

Location

  • Either Lathe or Layshi, Sagaing Region

Time of the year

  • January 14 to 16

Duration

  • 3 Days

Description

Naga New Year Festival is one of the rarest ceremonies in Myanmar. There are more than 49 different clans with their own distinctive dresses and dialects. They usually gather annually to celebrate the New Year which falls on January 15.

It’s a unique New Year celebration of Naga people who reside in Upper Myanmar, Kachin state. The festival itself is only 1-2 days long but it’s the road to Lathe or Layshit that attracts many travellers. You will come across the famous Ledo Road which was built during World War II so that the Western Allies could supply the Chinese as an alternative to the Burma Road which had been cut by the Japanese in 1942.

Highlights

  • Scenery, nature at its best
  • World War II Reminiscences
  • Traditional dance and music

Videos

Htamane Festival (Around 13-14 February, throughout Myanmar)

Location

  • Throughout Myanmar ( Note: Pagodas and monasteries, including the Shwedagon Pagoda )

Time of the year

  • Full Moon Day of Tabodwe (Around 13-14 February 2015)

Duration

  • 1 Day

Description

Also known as Glutinous Rice Delicacy Contest, traditionally, it is held on the full moon day of Dabodwe, the 11th lunar month on the traditional Burmese calendar as the harvest festival when people rejoice in the combined communities preparation and distribution of glutinous rice delicacy or feast of Htamane. One should not miss this opportunity to sample the delicious Myanmar delicacy consisting of glutinous rice freckle of coconut, sesames seeds, peanuts, ginger, and oil, which is specially prepared for the feast.

Highlights

  • Food-sampling
  • Local Gathering
  • Art of Food-preparing
  • Traditional Music

Interesting facts

  • 'Sprinkling sesame seeds' is a Burmese idiom to describe some commendable work, but to disparage something done by someone, only after others have already done the dirty work.
Latest news : One of the major Htamane competitions will be held at Shwedagon Pagoda(Yangon) at 06 February, 4:00 PM.

Videos

Mahamuni Pagoda Festival (3rd week of February 2015, Mandalay)

Location

  • Mandalay

Time of the year

  • 3rd week of February 2015

Duration

  • 2 Day

Description

This festival usually lasts for 2 days and falls on the full moon day of Thabodwe. Glutinous rice (which is a delicacy) contests are also held on the pagoda's platform. A variety of incense sticks are burnt for the Myanmar Buddha image on the full moon day. During this festival, thousands of people from all over the country make the pilgrimage to the Mahamuni Pagoda.

Built in1784 to house the Mahamuni Buddha Image, this pagoda was originally brought from Rakhine state. It is heavily gilded with fine foils of gold, and is estimated to be over one ton in weight. Being the most revered Pagoda in Mandalay, the early morning ritual of washing the face of the Buddha's image draws a daily crowd of devotees. The evening entertainment includes a variety of dances, songs, short and long Burmese historical plays and stalls selling various traditional snacks.

Highlights

  • Religious Site
  • Traditional dances and plays
  • One of Myanmar’s Wonders

Videos

Shwe Sett taw Pagoda Festival (Footprints of Buddha)

Location

  • Magwe State

Time of the year

  • Mid-February to Mid-April

Description

Shwe Sattaw Pagoda Festival is one of the most significant Pagoda festivals in Upper Myanmar. People from the entire Myanmar pay pilgrimage to this holy place. One exhilarating experience you will get when visiting Mann Shwe Sattaw is bathing in the cool, clean and sparkling waters of Mann Creek from the torrid heat and at the same time, experience the pilgrimage to a sacred and holy place of Myanmar.

Highlights

  • Scenery & Sightseeing
  • Religious festival

Videos

Alaungdaw Kathapa Pagoda Festival (15 March 2015, Sagaing Region)

Location

  • Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park, Sagaing Region

Time of the year

  • 15 March 2015

Duration

  • 1 Day

Description

The festival is held on the full moon day of Dabaung. The holy shrine is located in a National Park in Yinmarbin Township, Sagaing Region. It is crowded with the local people from surrounding area and far distances during the festive season. The festival is held by lighting to the Pagoda and National Cave. The park is also one of the renowned ecotourism sites of Myanmar.

Highlights

  • Religious Site
  • Scenery and Sightseeing
  • Elephant Rides
  • Trekking

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (15 March 2015, Yangon)

Location

  • Yangon, Myanmar

Time of the year

  • 15 March 2015

Duration

  • 1 Day

Description

One of the highlights of the season in Yangon is the Shwedagon Pagoda festival. It is impossible to miss the pagoda festival. The sight of numerous monks who come in boats to receive food offerings is a striking view. The golden pagoda under the full moon is such an amazing experience you cannot be missed. It offers the perfect description of peace, serenity and clarity of mind. The monks, nuns and holy religious groups will be reading the Dhamma in harmony.

Highlights

  • One of Myanmar wonders
  • Peace and tranquility
  • Religious Site, Historic Site

Water Festival (13 - 16 April 2015, Throughout Myanmar)

Location

  • Throughout Myanmar

Time of the year

  • 13 - 16 April 2015

Duration

  • 4 or 5 Day (depend on the region)

Description

This celebration is called Songkran in Thailand, Chaul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia., Thingyan in Myanmar and Pimai in Laos. It is the most manifest traditional festival in Myanmar. Although the origin of Thingyan is far more religious, the modern festivals are normally wet and wild, mixing with popular rock and hip-hop music. Participating in Thingyan is the great way to escape from scorching temperature of April; the hottest month of the year. The metaphor of splashing water is washing away one's sins from previous year. One will never forget the true joy of Thingyan. Make sure your belongings are water-proof when you go out during this festive period.

Right after the Thingyan festival, Buddhists young and old alike welcome Myanmar Lunar New Year (17 April 2015) by performing meritorious deeds such as feeding and releasing animals, offering to monks, paying homage to elders and offering free food and beverages for everyone who visits the pagodas across the whole country.

Highlights

  • Once-in-a-lifetime experience
  • Festive food and dances
  • Music ranging from traditional to modern hip-hops
  • Splashing water

Banyan Tree Water Pouring festival (13 May 2015, Throughout Myanmar)

Location

  • Throughout Myanmar

Time of the year

  • Fullmoon Day of Kasone (13May 2015)

Duration

  • 1 Day

Description

The full moon day of Kasone marks the birth of Siddatha, the Buddha to-be, his attaining of Enlightenment at the foot of the Bodhi tree, and the passing of the Buddha into Nibbana. Such episodes in the Buddha's life live on to this day, after 25 centuries, in poems, songs, plays, painting, scriptures, and last but not least, in the hearts of the Buddhists. Emphasis is laid on paying of respects to the sacred tree, in remembrance of the Buddha's Enlightenment.

Pouring water the Sacred Bo Tree symbolizes the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing away of Buddha. It is an important Buddhist holiday and belles go in procession to the pagoda grounds throughout the country with pots of water and thousands of oil-lamps or candles to be lit.

Highlights

  • Peace and tranquility
  • Religious festival

Wicker Ball (Chin Lone or Sepatakalaw) Ceremony (The whole month of June, Mandalay)

Location

  • Mandalay

Time of the year

  • The whole month of June

Description

It is celebrated on 1-month festival ending in the first week of July in Mandalay. Traditional wicker ball players from all over the country participate in the month-long contest that has been going on for over 70 years. This is the best event to watch Myanmar Chin-lone game. You think Messi and Ronaldo’s footwork are skilled, take a look at below video.

Highlights

  • Acrobatic sport
  • Traditional music

Videos

Waso Full Moon Festival (July 11, Throughout the country)

Location

  • Throughout the country

Time of the year

  • July 11, 2015

Duration

  • 1 Day

Description

The Myanmar month of Waso is the beginning of the monsoon rains. It is also the start of the Buddhist Lent. Monks are prohibited to travel overnight from their monasteries. According to the monks' code of conduct, they are still obligated to make the rounds for their daily food whether it is raining or not. As it is, they need spare robes. Therefore there is a ceremony to offer robes to the monks for use during the wet season

Taung Pyone Spirit Festival (03-10 August 2015, near Mandalay)

Location

  • Taung Pyone Village, near Mandalay

Time of the year

  • 03 -10 August 2015

Duration

  • 8 Day/s

Description

Taung Pyone is the site where two brothers serving a king of Bagan in the 11th century were executed. They became powerful spirits or Nats. This festival in their honor is attended by tens of thousands of mediums and worshippers. During the festival, toddy palm wine, whisky, rum, grilled rabbit and fried chicken are offered to the two spirit brothers. Orchestras come to play for the mediums who dance to make the spirits 'Joyful'.

Highlights

  • Spiritual events
  • Traditional music and dances

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival (2nd to 4th week of September, Shan State)

Location

  • Inle Lake, Southern Shan State

Time of the year

  • 2nd to 4th week of September

Duration

  • 18 Day/s

Description

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is one of the famous principal pagodas which houses five Boddha images. This pagoda is the main attraction of Inlay Lake and is situated in the middle of the lake. Thousands of people from communities around the lake and villages in the surrounding mountains carry fruits and flowers on lacquer trays in their own boats and pay homage as the holy barge passes. Teams of the lake's famous one-legged-rowers compete in annual boat races.

Highlights

  • Scenery
  • Unique lifestyle (famous one-legged boat rowers)
  • Religious Sites

Dummy Elephant Festival (07-08 October, 2015, near Mandalay)

Location

  • Inle Lake, Southern Shan State

Time of the year

  • 07-08 October, 2015

Duration

  • 2 Day/s

Description

The unique and exotic elephant dance held at Kyaukse, a small town not far from Mandalay. It is 2-day festival ending October 30. From 14th Waxing day until the full moon day, numerous life-size dummy elephants sing and dance to the accompaniment of music. It is a dance that requires precise rhythm and timing in order for the elephant dancers to maintain uniformity inside the elephant figure.

Highlights

  • Traditional dance
  • Unique festival

Hot Air Balloon Festival (31 Oct - 06 Nov, 2015, Shan State)

Location

  • Taunngyi, southern Shan State

Time of the year

  • 31 Oct - 06 Nov, 2015

Duration

  • 1 week

Description

Tourists choose to visit Taunggyi, at this time of the year especially to watch this festival. Scores of giant paper animals being inflated and floated off into the sky throughout the whole day is one of the spectacular scene in Myanmar. The competitions run during the day and at night when the sky is colorfully illuminated with hot air balloons. 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

Highlights

  • Firework
  • Unique festival
  • Trekking nearby

Shwe Zi Gone Pagoda Festival (30 Oct - 21 Nov, 2015, Bagan)

Location

  • Nyaung u, near Bagan

Time of the year

  • 30 Oct - 21 Nov, 2015

Duration

  • 3 week/s

Description

One of the highlights of the season in Bagan (Nyaung U) is the Shwezigon Pagoda festival celebrated on the grounds around the hill where the great pagoda stands. It is impossible to miss the pagoda festival. The grounds are filled with the rows of bamboo and thatch huts which are market stalls or show rooms. There are also merry-go-round and ferries wheels.

Product from all over the country, from the arid plains of central Myanmar, northern hill tracts, lowlands and the delta areas of the south, are there-baskets, mats, trays and boxes made of cane or bamboo or palm leaves; cotton wool quilts, fillings for cushions and mattresses, cotton rugs, bags and hand-woven textiles in colorful patterns; paper Mache dolls, some of them grotesque yet attractive; glazed earthen-wares, pots-vases, ash trays; lacquer ware useful as well as beautiful.

Candles and fireworks are carried in procession. Alms bowls are offered to monks, as they do at Ananda festival on Full moon day. Typical pilgrimage and holiday outings on country bullock carts can be seen.

Highlights

  • One of Myanmar’s Wonders
  • Religious Sites, Historic Sites
  • Antiques and Handicrafts
  • Fireworks

Golden Rock Pagoda Festival (Nine Thousand Lamps) (Mon State)

Location

  • Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Garden Rock’ Pagoda, Mon State

Time of the year

  • TBD

Duration

  • 3 week/s

Description

Famous for the Golden Rock perched at its summited, it is one of the three most sacred religious sites in Myanmar, along with the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mahamuni Temple. It seems to defy gravity by delicately balancing on the edge of the 1100-metre high mountain. On the platform of the Kyaik-hti-yo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda, devotees light nine thousand lamps to welcome the New Year and to give thanks to Buddha’s peaceful Doctrine. The magical Golden Rock Pagoda, a golden spire, sits on the top of a huge boulder covered with gold leaf and perched on the edge of a cliff.

Highlights

  • Scenery, Trekking and Hiking
  • One of Myanmar’s Wonders
  • Fireworks (9,000 lamps)