Holidays and Festivals
Myanmar is well known as 'The Land of Festivals' and you will find religious or cultural festivals throughout the year. Some festivals are celebrated all over Myanmar and some only in certain areas. A unique festival is the Nat Festival; Myanmar is the home of 37 different Nats, 'Spirits', who play a significant role in the daily life of every Burmese, as does the almighty Lord Buddha.
- Ananda Festival - 10 January - at Ananda Pagoda, Bagan; 23 days festival endings on Feb 4, bowls of alms filled with crops are offered to monks who wait in a long line. Pilgrimage and holiday outings on country bullock cars can be soon.
- Independence Day - 4 January - Myanmar gained Independence from Britain in 1948. Official flag-hoisting ceremony is held at Peoples' park followed by individual hoisting at each household.
- Mahamuni Ceremonies- 6-7 February - at Mahamuni Pagoda, Mandalay; glutinous rice delicacy contests are held late on 14th waxing day. On the morning of 15th waxing day, incense is burnt in large flames in a symbolis gesture of offering heat to the great image.
- Shan State Day - 7 February - at Taungyi, Keng Tung and Lashio, Shan State; 3 days ceremony, dances of Shan ethnic minorities are performed.
- Mahamuni Ceremonies - 6-7 February - at Mahamuni Pagoda, Mandalay; glutinous rice delicacy contests are held late on 14th waxing day. On the morning of 15th waxing day, incense is burnt in large flames in a symbolis gesture of offering heat to the great image.
- Shwedagon Pagoda Festival and Title decoration Ceremony- 8 March - at Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon and Kaba Aye Hillock; members of the Religious Order and layment are decorated with titles for their achievements. Various communities offer large-scale offerings of provisions to monks in the evening.
- Water Festival- 13-17 April - 4 days of celebrations in the entire country. Everybody is dancing and singing in the streets. Passers-by are sprayed with water. This festival is held before Myanmar New Year to cleanse away evil deeds of the past year with water. Youths go out for enjoyment while elders take retreat in monasteries and pagoda precincts to perform meritorious deeds.
- International Labour Day- 1 May - public holiday.
- Shwe Kyet Yet Event- 5 May - at Mandalay; Full-dress, large-scale procession followed by water pouring on the sacred Bodhi tree, significantly on the 14th waxing day of Kason, a day before normal watering day.
- Taung-byone Ceremony - 29 August - at Taungbyone, Mandalay; 6 days ceremony, held for worshiping of two taungbyone spiritual figures. Major gathering spot for spiritual mediums.
- 1st day - attending a nat bath
- 2nd day - having a royal bath
- 3rd day - ascending the thorne
- 4th day - presenting roast rabbit
- 5th day - cutting down htein tree.
Late October - Early November
- Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival/ Inle Festival - 18 October-4 November - at Ine, Shan State; 18 days festival, 4 images of Lord Buddha from the Phaungtaw-U Pagoda are placed on a decorated royal barge and taken around the lake, stopping over at villages and ending up in Nyaungshwe. They return home on third warning day. Leg-rowing boat races are held throughout the event.
- Kyail-Thi-Yo Season - 1 November - at Mount kyaikhto, Mon State; approx. 9 months long season. The boulder standing on the edge of the peak in the highest mountain range is said to be freely hanging over the cliff. Famous as pilgrimage and holiday outing spot.
- Light Float Festival - 2 November - Shwekyin, Bago; Dances by day and, on the night of the 1st waning day of Thidingyut, light floats dedicated to Shin Upagutta are put onto Shwekyin canal.
- National Day- 10 December - it is to commemorate the day in 1920 when students of Yangon College and Judson College boycotted the University Act made the British colonialists