Festival in Myanmar

Buddhist festivals fall all year round in Myanmar and usually coincide with the full moon. There are also many festivals that are specific to particular villages or temples. The best source of accurate information concerning these festivals is the Myanmar Embassy.

Temple fairs or pagoda festivals, lasting a week or longer, are the equivalent of western fun fairs, with entertainers, magicians, puppeteers, musicians, clairvoyants, healers and patent medicine purveyors moving from one fair to the next bringing excitement, colour and a much-earned break to the lives of local people.


Manaw Festival
Location : Myitkyina, Kachin State
Duration : 1 day
Traditional Kachin Manaw Festival to celebrate the New year. All the Kachin clans will congregate at Myitkyina to celebrate this event.

Naga New Year
Location : Layshi Township, Sagaing Division
Duration : 2 days
One of the most colourful ceremonies of the country. Different tribes of Naga gather by the hundreds in their colourful costumes to perform ritual dances.

Anada Pagoda Festival
Location : Ananda Pagoda, Bagan
Duration : One week preceding the full moon day of Pyatho
One of the most popular festivals in the country. Bowls of alms filled with crips are offered to monks who all wait in a ling line. Pilgrimage and holiday outings on country bullockcarts can be seen.



Mahamuni Ceremonies
Location : Mahamuni precinct, Mandalay
Duration : 2 days waxing days of Tabodwe
Glutinous rice delicacy contests are held late on 14th Waxing day ( Feb ). On the morning of 15th Waxing day (  – Feb ), increase is burnt in large flames in a symbolic gesture of offering heat to the great image.

Bonfire Ceremony
Location : Pyay
Duration : 1 day (Full moon day of Tabodwe)
White stems of nyan-yoe plants, which emit no smoke when lit, are burnt at four cardinal points on the platform of the pagoda in the early morning of 15th waxing day. Worshippers then proceed to Pho-U mountain-top resort, where Lord Buddha was said to have visited and made preordination of events.

Kyaik Khauk Pagoda Festival
Location : Thanlyin ( formerly Syriam )
Duration : 8th Waxing day of Tabodwe
A Typical Buddhist Religious festival like a country fair.



Maw-din Festival
Location : Pagoda Point, Pathein
Duration : 15 days (1st waxing day of Tabaung)
Pilgrimage and recreation go together at this seashore location. Long and secluded beach stretch between Pagoda Point and Cabe Negrais is haven both for beach lovers and beachburms alike.

Kakku Pagoda Festival
Location : Kakku Pagoda precinct, Taunggyi Township
Duration : 8 days (9th waxing day of Tabaung)
Pa Oh people from all the surrounding villages come in their best costumes to pay homage to the pagoda. Some comes in bullock carts and make camps under the huge banyan trees.

Pindaya Pagoda Festival
Location : Pindaya Township, Southern Shan State
Duration : 6 days(10th waxing day of Tabaung)
Traditionally a pagoda festival in honour of the Buddha statues inside the Pindaya Cave.

Nan-pan Ceremony
Location : Inle Lake, Shan State
Duration : 5 days (12th waxing day of Tabaung)
The sight of numerous monks who come in boats and receive food offerings is striking.

Tabaung Festival
Location : Throughout the country
Duration : 1 days ceremony (Full moon day of Tabaung)
Ceremonies at pagodas throughout the country

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival
Location : Yangon
Duration : Approximately one week preceding the fullmoon day (Fullmoon day of Tabaung)
It is a traditional Buddhist pagoda festival and one of the most important pagoda festival in the country.



Thingyan Festival ( Water Festival )
Location : All over the country
Duration : 4 days
Traditional Myanmar New Year Celebrations people pour water over each other in a symbolic gesture of cleansing oneself of sins from the old year. Youths go out for enjoyment while elders take retreat in monasteries and pagoda precincts to perform meritorious deeds. The most festive places are Mandalay & Yangon. It is also a time of merit making, and older people go to temples for prayer and alms giving.

Myanmar New Year Day
Location : All over the country
Duration : 1 day
Celebrated all over the country to commemorate the Myanmar New Year. This is a deeply religious occasion observed mostly at pagodas and monasteries. Buddhists young and old alike, spend the day performing meritorious deeds such as releasing animals, offering to monks, paying homage to elders, etc …

Shwemawdaw Festival
Location : Bago
Duration :13 days ceremony (8th waxing day Tagu)

Theatrical artists perform on stage with full force to show their competitive edge over their counterparts and to win future performance contracts.

Elders’ Day Ceremony
Location : Kabar Aye Hillock and elsewhere
Duration : 1 day (13th waxing day of Tagu)
An elderly man and an elderly woman from every township in Yangon city areas are invited to Kaba Aye Pagoda Hillock to be presented with various articles and are shampooed and nail-cut as a symbolic gesture of paying respect.



Popa Ceremony
Location : Popa
Duration : 1 day (3rh waxing day of Kason)
During Thingyan, pilgrims from the country over pay respect to Popa nat shrines.

Shwe-Kyet-Yet Event
Location : Mandalay
Duration : 1 day (14th waxing day of Kason)
Full-dress, large-scale procession followed by water-pouring on the sacred Bo-tree, significantly, on the 14th waxing day of Kason, a day before normal watering day.

Kason Fullmoon Day
Location : All over the country
Duration : 1 day (Fullmoon day of Kason)
The Kason Festival Representing the day the Buddha was born, the day He attained Enlightenment, and the day of His passing, this festival falls on the day of the full moon of Kason in the Myanmar calendar, in early May. Visits are made to pagodas to water the sacred Bo Trees – under which species the Buddha is said to have attained Enlightenment. Buddha is said to have attained Enlightement under the Bo Tree and Buddhist flock to pour water on this sacred tree to gain merit. Seen at most prominent pagoda and monastery precincts all over the country on the Fullmoon Day of Kason ( May ).

Shite-thaung Festival
Location : Mrauk U, Rakhine State
Duration : 8 days (Full moon day of Kason)
Dummy boat races on land, real boat races and water splashing in Mrauk-U canal on full-moon day. Traditional wrestling’s at the foot of the Pagoda: finals held on full-moon day.



Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival
Location : Pakokku, Magway Division
Duration : 8th Waxing Day of the month of Nayon to 10th Waning Day of the month of Nayon

The Thiho Shin Buddha Image is one of the most revered in Upper Myanmar. A typical Myanmar Buddhist Festival.



Waso full moon festival
Location : All over the country in July.
Duration : Full moon day of Waso
Buddha is said to have attained Enligntenment and preached his First Sermon, the Dhammasekya, to the five disciples on the Fullmoon day of Waso (August). It is also the first day of the Buddhist Lent during which the monks are prohibited to travel and sleep outside the monks are prohibited to travel and sleep outside of their monasteries. Religious ceremonies are held at monasteries to offer holy robes to the monks.



Shwe Kyun Pin Nat Pwe
Location : Mingun, Mandalay
Duration : 3 days (1st waxing day of Wagaung)
Myanmar’s last barter market where natives trade by exchange of commodities. Marine vessels, big and small, gather to pay respect whilst plying around on the Ayeyarwaddy. Spirit dances included.
1st day – attending a nat audience
2nd day – having a royal bath
3rd day – cutting down htein tree

Taungbyone Nat Festival
Location : At Taungbyone village near Mandalay
Duration : 6 days (10th waxing day of Wagaung)
The most famous of the Nat ( super natural beings that reward believers ) festivals in Myanmar. This event is visited by all those who worship Nat, especially the traders and merchants who want help for more profits! 6days ceremony ending Sep 1. Held for worshipping two Taungbyone spiritual figures. Major gathering spot for spiritual mediums. Spirit dances are rempant.
1st day – attending a nat audience
2nd day – having a royal bath
3rd day – ascending the throne
4th day – presenting roast rabbit
6th day – cutting down htein tree



Yadana Gu Nat festival
Location : Ratanagu Pagoda, Amarapura Township, Mandalay
Duration : 5 days (10th waning day of Wagaung )

This is a festival to honour the mother of the two Nat brothers of Taungbyone. Known as mother of Taungbyone festival. Most enjoyable because of the rowing boat trip to the site. The festival is held annually in honor of Popa. Medaw, Mewanna who came back from Taunbyon Festival, on her way back to Mt. Popa, she halted at the Yadanagu as her transit-camp.
1st day – attending a nat audience
2nd day – having a royal bath
3rd day – ascending the throne
4th day – daughter of Mahagiri reels on the ground in grief
5th day – closing by cutting down htein tree



Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
Location : Inle Lake, Nyaung Shwe Township, Southern Shan State
Duration : 18 Days (1st waxing day of Thidingyut)
Very coloruful festival when the 4 Buddhas Statues ( out of 5 ) from Phaung Daw oo Pagoda are taken around the lake on a gilded Karaweik royal barge. Leg-rowing boat races are held throughout the event.

Elephant Dance Festival ( Dummy Elephant Festival )
Location : Kyaukse, Mandalay Division
Duration : 2 days (14th waxing day of Thidingyut)
Elephant Dance Festival Though enacted in several towns and villages, the town with the best festival is Kyauk-se, 40km south of Mandalay. Two full size paper elephants, one black, one white, each with two men inside, dance through the town with much pageantry and ceremony.
Papier mache elephants carried around the town towards the pagoda on the Kyaukse Hill. A dance competition features these elephants. Numerous life-size dummy elephants sing and dance to the accompaniment of music.
Kyauk-taw-gyi Festival
Location : Mandalay
Duration : 4 day festival (14th waxing day of Thidingyut)
The image was cast out of a single piece of alabaster in 1864 under the guidance of King Mindon.

The Thadingyut or Festival of Lights
Location : Througout Myanmar
Duration : 3 days(14th waxing day of Tindingyut)
To mark the end of the Buddhist Lent, and is also one of the most prominent festivals of the year. Pagodas, houses, public buildings, parks, and monuments are all illuminated and there are various kinds of activities for everyone to enjoy. Thadingyut is not only for joyous but also thanksgiving and paying homage to Buddhist monks, teachers, parents and elders, and asking pardon for whatever misdeeds might have committed during the year.

Kyaikhtiyo Season
Location : Kyaikhto, Mon State
Duration : Approx – 9 months long season Full-moon day of Tindingyut
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 pilgrimage and holiday outing spot.



Shwezigon Festival
Location : Bagan
Duration : 2-3 days (8th waxing day of Tazaungmon)
Candle lights and fireworks are carried in procession before offering to the pagoda

Hot Air Balloons Festival
Location : Taunggyi ( Shan State )
Duration : 6 days (10th waxing day of Tazaungmon)
Traditionally it is to pay homage to the Sulamuni Pagoda in the abode of the Celestial Beings by sending up lighted Hotair Balloons. Now this traditional is combined with a competition to send up the most elaborate and beautiful balloons of every shape and size. Hot-air balloons are released day and night, competing over their beauty and the altitude they again. Day-time flying is meant for competition of animal figures and night-time is for beautiful fireworks.

Lights Festival and Robe-weaving Contest
Location : Shwedagon, Botataung, Kyaikkasan and elsewhere
Duration : 1 day(14th waxing day of Tazaungmon)
On the 14th waxing day of Tazaungmon, groups of young women take part in competitions held on the platforms of the pagodas. The robe is to be vinished flawlessly overnight and offered at dawn to the imaes around the pagodas.

Kahtein Robe Offering Ceremony
Location               : Taunggyi
Duration              : 1 day (Full-moon day of Tazaungmon )
Holy robes are offered to the monks at the monasteries. This offering of robes enable the monks to acquire new robes in place of the old ones that were soiled during the monsoon season. The best time to see is from 8 – 11 Am.

Parade of Lights
Location : Taunggyi
Duration : 1 day (Fullmoon night of Tazaungmon)
The people of Taunggyi and its envir

ons march through the town with decorated floats and lighted candles to the Sulamuni Pagoda at the edge of the town.

Tazaung-daing Festival of Lights
Location : Taunggyi & throughout the country
Duration : Fullmoon night of Tazaungmon
Tazaungdaing Festival Held on the full moon day of Tazaungmon according to the Myanmar Calendar, this festival finds houses and public buildings decorated and brightly lit. Robes and other requisites are offered to monks with the special offering of Mathothigan – a robe that is woven in one single day – held on the eve of the full moon. Dedicated teams of weavers compete with one another to complete the robes, which are then reverently offered to images of Buddha. Having fine weather and clear sky, and having the first crip harvested, Myanmar celebrate the night with various kinds of illuminations.

Candle Light Event
location : Ko-dad-gyi Pagoda in Yangon
Duration : Fullmoon night of Tazaungmon

On full-moon day, 9999 candles are ceremoniously lit. At midnight, visitors are served with mixed salad of maezali buds, believed to possess powerful, magical and medicinal properties if eaten at this time.

Kaung Hmu Daw pagoda Festival
Location : Sagaing
Duration : 6 Days (The Fullmoon day of Tazaungmon)
The best sopt to watch Myanmar puppet as at Sutaungbyi pagoda festival in Monywa. Pilgrimage and holiday outings on country oxcarts can be seen.



The Spectacled Image Festival
Location : Shwedaung, Pyay
Duration : 8th waxing day of Nadaw
This is the only image that puts on glasses offered by a cartain donor in colonial time.

Christmas Day
Location : Throughout the country
Date : 25th December
Christianity is the largest religion in Myanmar after Buddhism.