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Myanmar

Geography

Myanmar also known as Burma is the northwestern -most country of mainland southeast Asia, bordering china, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos. It lies along the Indian and Eurasian Plates, to the southeast of the Himalayas, to its west is the Bay of Bengal and to its south is the Andaman Sea. It is strategically near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes. Geographically, it is divided into five distinct regions and three seasons which are hot, dry season (April to July), rainy season (June to October) and cold dry season (October to March)

1 – Central flat land below 1000 m above sea level covers the middle region of the Myanmar marked by some low mountain ranges. It contains all the valleys of the four main rivers Ayeyarwady, Chin Dwin, Sittaung and Salween. Its mountain ranges are not higher than 1500 meters above sea level including remarkable the Mount Popa ‘the land of Spirits “andBagoYoma mountain major. Burmese people live in that central land. This central land has the tropical monsoon and it is cloudy, rainy, hot and humid in the summer time between April and October and clear sky, dry and cold in the winter from November to April.

2 -Shan plateauabove the 1000 m above the sea level is situated in the eastern Myanmar and marked as the middle high land. It is home of the several ethnic groups and majority are Shans. The famous leg rowers ‘s Inle lake and Ruby land “Mogkok city” are situated in the region. It has tropical monsoon with the diverse range of the temperature according to the elevation of the land. The weather is temperate the whole year round and some high peak above 1200 m receive 2 degrees of the temperature in the coldest month January.

3 Himalayas highlands in the north is the highest region in Myanmar. It is composed of the many steep, ragged mountains and they are a part of the series of parallel ranges that run from the foothills of the Himalaya though the border areas with Assam, Nagaland and Mizoram. Kachin People and other tribes live in that region and the peaks of the high Himalayas mountains are covered with the snow and rain forest. The best region of the ecotourism and the mountain hikers. The high peak is Mt Hkaborazi with the elevation of 58881 m and only a few hiking teams could step on its summit. The temperature is always under 30 degrees.

4 – ArakhanYoma and Chin Mountain ranges in the west run from the northern Himalayas hills to the southern Andaman Coastal area. These mountains ranges are higher than Shan plateau and lower than the northern Himalayas mountains. Mount Victoria of the Chin State (3070 m) is the Highest peak in that region and it is inhabited by the Chin and Naga people in the south and Arakhans (Rakhaing) in the north. It has strong tropical oceanic monsoon climate and receive more rain falls during the course of the monsoon time. The northern Part of Chin and Nagas land are at the attitude of the 2500 m and they have chilly weather in the winter.

5 –Southern Coastal region is the lowest land of Myanmar and bordered by the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. The Mergui Archipelago is situated in the coastal region. It has tropical monsoon climate and it is cloudy, rainy, hot and humid in the summer course.

History

The history of Myanmar (also known as Burma) covers the period from the time of the first human settlements 13,000 years ago to the presents day. The earliest inhabitants of the recorded history were a Tibeto-Burman-speaking people who established the Pyu -city -states ranged as far south as Pyay and adopted Theravada Buddhism.

Another group, the Barmar people entered the upper Ayeyarwaddy valley in the early 9 th centaury. They went on established the Bagan Kingdom (1044 -1287), the first -ever unification of the Ayeyarwaddy valley and its periphery. The Burmese language and Bamar culture slowly came to replace Pyu norms during this period. After the First Mongol invasion of Burma in 1287, several small kingdoms, of which the Kingdom of Ava, the Hanthawaddy Kingdom, the Kingdom of Mrauk U and the Shan States were principle powers, came to dominate the landscape, replete with ever -shifting alliances and constants wars.

In the second half of the 16 th centaury, the Taungoo Dynasty (1510 -1752) reunified the country and founded the largest empire in the history of the Southeast Asia for a brief period. Later Taungoo Kings instituted several key administrative and economic reforms that gave rise to a smaller, more peaceful and prosperous kingdom in the 17 th and early 18th centuries. In the second half of the 18 centuries, the Konbaung dynasty (1752 -1885) restored the kingdom and continued the Taunggoo reforms that increased central rule in peripheral regions and produced one of the most literate states in Asia. Then dynasty also went to war with all its neighbors. The Anglo Burmese wars (1824 -85) eventually led to British colonial rule.

British rule brought several enduring social, economic, cultural and administrative changes that completely transformed that once -agrarian society. Most importantly, British rule highlighted out-groups. Since independence in the 1948, the country has been in one of the longest running civil wars involving insurgent’s groups representing political and ethnical minority groups and successive central governments. The country was under military rule under various guises from 1962 to 2010 and in the process has become one of the least developed nations in the world.

In 1980, the 8888-uprising happened due to the sudden changes of the currency note causing the economic crisis and the military killed a mass of the civilians during that period. It was noted as the military abuse of the power and in that year Noble Peace prize laureate Daw Aung San Su Kyi stepped into Myanmar political world and played as the political opposition leader for Democracy. She was suppressed by the government and put into house prison for 20 years. In 2010, She was released from the house arrest due to some political changes and her opposition political party (National League for democracy, NLD) won the presidential election in 2015. After her party won, she was assigned as the first and incumbent state counselor, a position akin to the prime minister and is currently taking part in the country reformations. Myanmar is now on the democratic way towards systemic development with freedom.

People

Myanmar is an ethnically diverse nation with 135 distinct ethnic groups. Eight major national ethnic races are Myanmar (Burmese), Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Mon, Rakhiang. Karen and Shan. They are Major and Intha, Danu, Pao, Palaung, Wa, Naga, Lisu, Akar, naming some are minor living together dispersedly throughout   Myanmar. Geographycially, Myanmar is divided into seven states and seven regions. Burmese is the most dominant people and the main population of Myanmar representing 60 % of the population and they live in the seven regions. Each major ethnic group is belonged to a state and their own state is named after that dominant people. For example, Kachin state is mainly lived by Kachin and Shan live in Shan State respectively. Other minors live mostly in the States together with the other major ethnic tribes.The most interesting things to visit Myanmar is to discover these distinct ethnic group in different culture, dresses and different dialects. Thus, Myanmar is so colorful and each part of Myanmar is very particular and unique.

1-Myanmar (Burmese)

The Burmese (Myanmar) make up 60 % of the population and they are the major people who rule the country. Thought to have migrated from the Himalayas, Tibet family migrants, the Burmese ruled Myanmar country since the 11 the century. Burmese are Theravada Buddhist and very devout to religion. They live in the seven region of the central land and some region in the southern Myanmar together with the neighbor’s tribes Mon and Karen. Burmese dresses and culture was influenced by the Indian culture in the 11 to 13 centuries and in later time, it got influenced by the Chinses dress and culture.  The lower garment is alike the Indian Sarong and the top is similar to Chinese traditional blouse.

2-Chin

Chin People inhabits the mountains region which borders on the India to the west. They are mountain dwellers and live only in the higher land. thought to have migrated from the Himalayas like Myanmar. They represent about 5 % of the population and their culture and costumes are very distinct. Chin are so variable and divided into over 50 subgroups with over 100 Chin dialects. Among these sub group Chin, the Myo Chin living around the Mt Victoria region has Face tattooing traditions. Their land is clod and their home made thick blankets and geometric design are beautiful. Chin are originally animist and 80 % of the chin are Christian because of the Christian missionary in Chin state Buddhism did not reach to their land.

 

3-Kachin

Kachin who called themselves Jinpaw are another ethnicity who live in the Kachin State in the north boring the Himalayas mountains and the china ‘Yunnan region .They are also considered one of the Himalayan tribe and represents about 6 % of the population .Majority of Kachin (Jinpaw ) are the Christian because the Christian missionary during the British time .Kachin also have their own culture and are animist .Kachin are also subdivided into several groups and each Kachin has their own dialect and dresses .The Kachin Manaw  festival is the most fascinating fest to them and represents the old traditional practice of the animism ( Ceremony for the regional spirits ) It is held annually in January .

4-Kayah

Kayah is a subgroup of the Main Karen family. They are called red Karen. They live in the Kayah State situated in the southern Myanmar between the Karen State and Shan State. They represent about 2 % of the population and their dresses and culture are adopted from the Shan ‘s and Karen ‘s culture and costumes. They are also subdivided and the long neck Karen called giraffe women are one of them.

5-Kayin (Karen)

In Myanmar, Karen are called Kayin, are their dominant population in Myanmar after Burmese and Shan representing about 7 % of the population. They line in the kayin State which is situated in the southern Myanmar bordering   the Mon state and Thailand. Karen are also diverse people and subdivide into aver 12 subgroups with diver’s dialects. They are originating animist and now 40 % of Karen are animist -Buddhist and 70 % of Karen are Christian. They are happy going people and live in the flat beautiful mountain regions.

6- Shan

The Shan are the second major population in Myanmar living in the Shan state. The biggest State in the eastern Myanmar bordering China, Lao and Thailand. The Shan are one of the Siamese ethnic tribe and Myanmar called them Siam and later the Siam was called Sham in the wrong phonetic pronunciation.  They are also diverse and sub grouped into over 24 groups of Shans with diver’s dialects for each Shan. Shan language is derived from the same language of the Thailand language. Shan are majority Buddhist and are very powerful in pollical sector.

7- Mon

The Mon is one of the earliest inhabitants in Myanmar. They live in Mon state in the South bordering the Karen State and mouth Mataban. Thought they have migrated from the Cambodia and ruled in some parts of the Vietnam, Lao. Thailand and the southern Myanmar. Their culture and language are approach to the Kamer of Cambodia. Mon are first Buddhist in Myanmar and highly civilized people in Myanmar since the 1 st century. Mon culture and literature had influenced on the Burmese since the 11 centuries.

8 – Rakhaing (Arakanese)

The Rakhaing called Arakanese live in the Rakhaing State bordering the Adman sea and the Bangladesh in the west of Myanmar. They are last kingdom which was conquered by Burmese Kingdom in the late 17 centuries. The last kingdom of the Rakhaing is Mrauk U and the most famous Buddhist region and archeological site. They are also part of the Myanmar family and their culture and literature also quite particular.

Language

The Burmese Language (Burmese) is the official language of Myanmar. Although the Constitution of Myanmar officially recognize the English name of the Language as the Myanmar language, the most English speakers continue to refer to the Language as Burmese. Itis spoken as first language by primarily the Barmar (Burman) people and related ethnic groups, and as a second language byethnic minorities in Myanmar.

Burmese is a tonal tone, pitch -register and syllable -timed language, largely mono syllabic and analytic, with a subject – object -verb word order. It is a member of the Lolo -Burmese family. The Burmese alphabet is ultimately descended from a Brahmic script either Kadamba or Pallava. Burmese belong to the Southern Burnish branch of the Sino -Tibetan languages. Burmese is the most widely spoken of the non -Sinitic Sino -Tibetan Languages to develop a writing system, after Chinese characters, the Pyu script, the Tibetan alphabet and the Tangut script.

Spoken Burmese has politeness levels and honorifics that take the speaker’s status and age in relation to the audience into account. Moreover, Burmese pronouns relay varying degrees of the deference or respect, in many instances, polite speech addressing to teachers, officials or elders employs feudal -era third person pronouns. Furthermore, with regard to vocabulary choice, the spoken Burmese clearly distinguishes the Buddhist clergy (monks) from the laity (householders), especially when speaking to monks.
Historically, Pali, the liturgical language of the Theravada Buddhism had a profound influence on Burmese vocabulary. Burmese also adapted a great deal of the words from Mon who formed the majority in the lower Myanmar.
The Burmese alphabet consist of 33 circular letters and 12 vowels and it is written from left to right. Itrequires no spaces between words although modern writing usually contains spaces after each clause to enhance readability. The Burmese does not have adjectives in lieu of them, the verbs modify the nouns.
Here are Burmese letters.

Culture

Buddhism is the main seed to give birth to Myanmar culture. As a Buddhist country since the beginning of the civilization, Buddha’s teachings influenced social life’s rules and laws in Myanmar. This Burmese Buddhist culture is also influenced by some neighbor countries ‘culture such as China, India, and Thailand. In more recent time, British colonial rule and westernization have influenced aspects of Burmese culture including language and education.

Religion –Myanmar is a multi-religious country. There is no official state religion. Thus Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and animalism coexist together in harmony in Myanmar. Among them, Buddhism is the most dominant religion and represents 88% of the population. Buddhism has two main branches, Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism. Principle Buddhism of Myanmar is Theravada Buddhism meaning school of elders and is the oldest and purest form of original Buddhism. In Theravada Buddhism, everyone strives for personal liberation without requires taking help from others. Everyone must therefore use their own power to try to reach enlightenment. In Mahayana Buddhism, Bodhisattvas, enlightened mortals who have remained on earth show everyone the right path and help people to reach to enlightenment. In addition, these religion, there is an animism of worshipping to imaginary geography and human spirits locally called Nats in majority of ethnic communities and in the major Burmese society.

Buddhist Culture– Myanmar Buddhist citizen of no matter what ethnic background follow five commandants of Buddha which are avoiding from killing the living being, stealing the possession of the others, telling the lies, consuming the intoxicants and committing the adultery to behave well in the social life and avoid to be reborn in lower rank in the next life. As the Buddhism encourage to be generous, Burmese Buddhist never hessite to donate a few amounts or big amount of money to contribute to the poor or the religious monuments. There is no country in the world where daily life is as imbued with Buddhism as in Burma. Every Buddhist household has an altar or shrine to the Buddha, with at least one dedicated image of the Gautama Buddha. The Buddha image is commonly placed on a "throne”. Before a Buddha statue is used for veneration at home, it must be formally consecrated, in a ritual to imbue the Buddha image with a sacred quality that can protect the home and surroundings from misfortune and symbolically embody the powers of the Buddha. Food, drinks, candles flowers are offered to Buddha statue considering Buddha State as Buddha alive.

The must duty of all Burmese parents is to make sure their sons are admitted to the Buddhist order by performing a ceremony once they have reached the age of seven or older. A symbolic procession and ceremony of exchanging princely attire with that of an ascetic follows the example of Gautama Buddha They will have another opportunity to join the Sangha at the age of 20, taking the ordination, to become a fully ordained monk keeping the 227 precepts of the full monastic rules and can remain a monk for a month or for whole life if they like monkhood. Thus, you can see everywhere in Myanmar great numbers of the monks of all age and some are temporary monks and some are permanently ordained. During the school holidays in the summer, there are more temporary monks in the monasteries.

Customs – Burmese people say the word “Mingalabar “meaning ‘Auspiciousness ‘to the elders, respected person or unknown to greet and say the familiar questions such as “How are you? or “Where are you going “, “Have you finished lunch “to mutual friends to greet.

Clothing – Burmese people has very distinct traditional costumes consisting of  two sets ,one for man and one for women .The traditional costume of the men are called Pasoe ( a lower garment in the form of the tube and tied around the waist to wear )and Taibon ( the upper garment composed of the white long sleep blouse  and  Chinese styles blouse with pockets ) and the traditional costume of the women is called  Longyi (a lower garment in the form of the tube and tied around the waist to wear ) and Yinbon  ( the short waist feminine blouse with the buttons on one side ).These costumes are worm every day in everywhere . Daily dresses are mostly of the cotton and light fabric and for the ceremonies and great events, Burmese put on the dresses made in silk. Modern generation start to wear the Europe dresses in the big cities but not in most rural community.

Speech – Burmese language is very age -oriented. The use of honorific before names is the norm. Young males are addressed as Maung (little brother) or Ko (big brother) and older or senior men as U (Uncle). Likewise, young females are addressed as Nyima (little sister) or Ma (big sister) and older or senior women as Daw (Aunt) regardless of their marital status. Elders are spoken in a respectful manner.

Manners – Aged people are considered as the wise and experienced person Myanmar. They are paid obedience and respect. Buddha, Monk, Parents, teachers are permanently benefactors and they are highly venerated. At table, elders are served first in the pot as the token of respect before serving the meals and when we sit ,  youngers sit lower lever than the elders.They bow slightly when they pass in front of the elders as respect of their wisdom and old age. In the family, men are respected by the wife and she is not allowed to sit higher level than husband. Men can sit crossing the legs on the mat but normally the women do not to keep the feminine softness. Moreover, children are taught from young to venerate one’s elder, to respect one ‘peers and to be kind with the young and weak. There are some social taboos which are touching the one ‘s head because it is considered as the highest point of the body, pointing with legs to something and orienting legs towards the monks and the Buddha statue because the legs are considered as the lowest point of the body.

Wedding – Burmese folklore considers love to be destiny as the Hindu God Barman writes one’s destiny in love on a forehead of a child. Wedding ceremony is so important and they are held in simple way or in extravagant way to be officially recognized by the social network. Unlike India and Chinese ‘s culture, the arranged marriage nota custom of the Burmese. Buddhist monks are not present to conduct the wedding and solemnize the marriage, as they are forbidden to officiate a marriage, which is considered a worldly affair. Typically, the bride and groom arrange an almsgiving feast to monks the morning of the wedding to gain merit

A wedding requires months of preparation, including consultation with an astrologer in choosing the most auspicious time and setting of the event. Also, a master of ceremonies, typically a brahmin, is hired to preside over the ceremony. The bride and groom sit on cushions next to each other. At the beginning of the wedding, the Brahmin blows a conch shell to commence the ceremony and joins the palms of the couple, wraps them in white cloth, and dips the joined palms in a silver bowl. The Burmese word "to marry" is let htat which literally means "to join palms together"

Food

Our cuisine has been influenced by Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisines as well as domestic ethnic cuisines .A typical Burmese cuisine meal consist of several meat ,curries ,a soup ,steamed rice and fermented sauce of preserved fish along with vegetables for dipping condiments like spicy shrimp powers with Chilly , Indian style lemon or green mangoes pickled  or pickled vegetables are served alongside the dishes .Although  fish sauce and shrimp paste are commonly used ingredients in our cuisine. Our cuisine makes extensive use of Chickpeas, lentils and tamarinds which is used to add a sour flavor rather than lime juice or vinegar used in the countries. Some dishes that you should try in Myanmar.

Famous dishes

Mohinga –the national dish of the rice noodle in the fish sauced lentil soup with anion, garlic, ginger, lemon grass and sliced tender core of banana stem served with boiled eggs, and vegetable fritters

Nangyi Toke –thick rice noodle salad with chickpeaflour,chicken, fishtempura, anions fritters, crushed dried chilies

Oh-no-Kauk Swe – the wheat noodle served with the lentil soup composed of the coconut mile, anion, chicken, some chili powder, tiny cut coriander, lemon juice and vegetable tempura

Le Phet toke - Green tea leaf salad with peanut, sesames and small dried shrimps

Gin Toke –ginger salad with Chick pea flour and peanuts

Arts and Music

Arts – Burmese art was based on the Buddhist or Hindu Cosmology and myths. There are ten traditional arts called “Ten flowers “which are 1 – Black smith 2- Woodcarving ,3- Gold smith, 4- Stucco carving, 5 – masonry, 6- Stone carving, 7 -Turnery, 8- Painting ,9- lacquerware and 10 – Bronze casting. In addition to traditional arts are silk weaving, pottery, tapestry making, gemstone engraving and gold leaf making. Temple architecture is typically of brick and stucco and painted either in white lime or covered with layers of gold leaf while monasteries are built of wood with multi – tiered and spired roof.

Music – Burmese music is  wide and it has not only an orchestra composed of the drums ,trumpet , bamboo clapper and gongs to make various classical  songs  but also the solo musical internments such as harp and Xylophone .The classical Myanmar (Burmese ) songs are divided into indoors and outdoors ensembles .These songs are mostly about various legends  in Buddhist scriptures , the power of the monarchs ,the natural beauty of the land ,forest ,the seasons  , feminine beauty ,love ,passion and longing In modern days ,the modern music such as Pop , rock , and Rap  adopted and homegrown are taking the place gradually in the place of the classical and folklore music .

Festival

Kachin Manao Festival

Type – regional festival

Place – Myitkyina town

Date – In January

Kachin Manaw festival is the most important festival of Kachin People who live in the Kachin State in the northern Myanmar. Kachin Manaw festival celebrate the end of the harvest and the offering ceremony to the regional spirits of the Kachin. It is held in the January and in Myitkyina city, the capital of the Kachin state.Kachin Manao Festival (Kachin). This fest is the most important event for all Kachin tribe and they come together the communal festival place with the offerings and also represents the reunion of the whole Kachin tribe and family. In olden day, the Manaw festival denoted the victory of the battles over the land or the animals as well as the whishing ceremony to the spirits who are venerated since unknown period in Kachin Society with the best offering to have good harvest for the coming year.In the festival ground, there are several spirits poles and on the festival day, all Kachin tribes come together and dance together around them. This festival is very colorful and attract thousands of visitors around Myanmar and region. It is held for one week and very interesting and animated fests with dances of the all colorful tribes of Kachin. It is wonderful to discover in person to see the tribes, the dances and their authentic culture.

Ananda Pagoda Festival

Type -regional Festival

Place - Bagan

Date -In January

Ananda Pagoda representing unlimited wisdom of Buddha is the finest, largest and best preserved of all the Bagan temples. Its annual festival falls in January mostly and is held for at least one month. The busiest day of the festival is on the full-moon day of the lunar monthPyatho (10 th month). Villagers and pilgrims around Bagan roll in the sacred site of Ananda for the consecration. This is also the best time to see not only the ritual of Buddhists but the festival is also meant for social gathering reunification, propagation and perpetuation of Religion. During the festival, there is always bazaar with sea of vendors, shops that sell traditional Myanmar food-staff and enjoy the local atmosphere in locality. There are some entertainments for the nights with the Myanmar traditional theater troops and cinema and games for the kid. The festival time is the best time to discover the old and traditional culture of Burmese.

 

 

Naga New Year festival

Type -regional festival

Place - Homelin or similar Naga city

Date – In January

Naga are the one of the most interesting people of Myanmar living in the Sagaing region on the hill of the Chin. They are mountain people and famous for their hunting skills. They are not only found in Myanmar on the Chin hills but also found in India. Naga land is one of the uncacheable land in Myanmar lest developed area. Naga ‘tradition and culture are untouched and their new year festival is very fascinating and wonderful. It falls in the January month and is held annually at the end of the harvest time. The festival is very big and one-week longs.This festival unites all tribes of Naga and they made the tribal reunion to discuss about all their social and agricultural affaires to overcome difficulties for the coming year. During the festival time, they do offerings to their regional deities to have more abundant crops, domestic animals, and good weather. They scarify some animals in their offering. All relatives form different parts gather together to celebrate festival and it is an occasion to reunify the family. They do offerings and dance in their best costumes around the camp fire dirking traditional alcohol and last about five days. If you are interested in this Naga festival, it is better to organize your trip in advance because Naga land does not have enough hotels to lodge.

 

Mahamuni Buddha Pagoda Festival

Type – regional festival

Place – Mandalay

Date – In February

Mahamuni Buddha isthe holiest Buddha statue in Mandalay. It was cast in bronze in the time of Buddha (6 century BC) Its festival is held annually in February on the full moon day and lasts for 2 days. Like others pagodas festivals, there is celebration at the pagoda with recitation of prayers by the monks and homage of the Buddhists with offerings to Buddha Mahamuni and other activities. Glutinous rice dish making contests are also held on the pagoda's platform. A variety of incense sticks are burnt for Buddha image. During this festival; thousands of people from all over the country make the pilgrimage to it during festival time.

Salon (Moken people) Festival

Type – regional festival

Place – Meik

Date – In January

Salon (Moken) is the name of indigenous tribe living in the southern part of Myanmar. They are also called sea- gypsies with dark brown skin and curly hair and live nomadic sea life for seven months for the year and living off their ingenuity and sea resources. There is a number of their village. Salon festival is the New year celebrationand it is held at Majunglet Village on Bocho Island near the Lampi Island in Myeik. It is annual festival and there are traditional and spiritual dances, rowing competitions folk singing and traditional salon feast.

Htamane Festival

Type – National festival

Palce – everywhere

Date – In February

Htamane is the name of glutinous rice dish with sesame seeds, peanuts, gingers to offer to Buddha as a medicine when Buddha suffered the Knee pain. Thus, every house hold makes that dish to offer to monks and pagodas. Every quarter makes this dish communally and to have more fun with it, they do some competitions among the teams. It is more physical because when glutinous rice become pasty, it is hard to stir it regularly and intensively. Some muscles men work it. These competitions are held throughout Myanmar. There is no precise date for the festival and we celebrate it locally during two weeks before the full moon day of February.

 

Shwe Dagon Pagoda Festival

Type – regional

Place – Yangon

Date – March

Shwe Dagon Pagoda is the holiest, the richest and the most powerful pagoda in Myanmar and is situated in Yangon. The full moon day of March is its festival day. As the pagoda is so highly venerated, festival is big and there are a lot of celebration like thousands of monk’s recitations, meal donation, flowering offering, candling offering at night, the first sermon Buddha text recitation by many Buddhists teams to homage at the pagoda. Moreover. it held a bazaar and some fun for kids. It last about one month. It is the great event of the year and will be great occasion to see the real event.

Water Festival or Myanmar New year festival

Type – National festival

Place – everywhere

Date -In April

Water festival called Thingyan in Myanmar is the New Year festival and as the name goes, it is celebrated with water and literally call it “Thingyan “meaning “change “, Change of the year from old year to new one. It is held at the end of Myanmar lunar calendar which falls on the April month. During the Last week of each year, we wash everything with water to clean away all sins and dirtiness of the past andwelcome the New Year. The water festival represents the most popular, raucous and colorful celebration of the year. Festival time is public holidays , thus Buddhists go to monastery and pagodas to do some good deeds ,same time wash every  things ,everyone with water and it is also a time that we celebrate with dances and in big city ,there are water marquees  in front of the city hall to play  water and a number of dancers teams dances to entertain the people who go around the town to washed their sins with water from morning to night  .Festivals days are active with songs ,dances , happiness ,joy , merits ,good actions .

 

 Kason Bodi Tree Watering Festival

Type – national festival

Place -everywhere

Date – In May

The Bodhi tree has relations with lord Buddha so it becomes respectable for the Buddhists. Lord Buddha attained enlightenment underneath the Bodhi tree so the Buddhists revere the tree. On the Full moon day of Kason Buddhist devotees celebrate not only water pouring ceremony at the Bodhi tree but also perform meritorious deeds by keeping Sabbath, doing meditation, offering flowers,light, water and incense to the images of lord Buddha.

Pariyatti Sasana Examination

Type -national festival

Palce – everywhere

Date – In June

The religious (Buddhist) examinations are usually held during the month of Na Yone (June). Since the time of the Myanmar Kings, the religious examinations for the novices and monks were held in the court yard annually including written test and viva voice. Nowadays the religious examinations were held at the Monastic schools all over the country. Buddhists devotees encourage the Monks by doing some offering to the monks during the examination time. You can visit the Monasteries to assist the examination ceremony.

Waso festival

Type -national festival

Place – everywhere

Date – In July

Waso festival is Buddhist lent ceremony. Buddhist lent last three months. On the Full moon day of Waso meaning ‘the debut of lent ‘, all monks of Myanmar take the vow to enter the lent. In the evening, monk gather together do recitation for the vow to start the lent and some prayer s in their respective monastery. Devotees offer the flowers to the monks so that they can offer them to Buddha. On that day, Buddhist public holiday and take the Sabbath at the monastery too.

Taung Pyone Festival

Type -regional festival

Palce -Taung Pyone village near Amarapura city

Date – In August

Taungpyone festival is called “Nat Festival “meaning “Veneration ceremony to spirits “at the Village Taung Pyone near Amarapura. There were two princes called Shwe Phyin Gyi and Shwe Phyin Lay at the village and they became the spirits and they were worshipped since their death as the benefactors and protectors. They are highly venerated and they have many followers. The festival is held at their shrine ever year for three days. Thousands of followers come to pay homage to be blessed for prosperity, fame and luck for the next coming year. It is big occasion to see the Nat festivals of Myanmar.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

Type -regional festival

Place -Inle lake

Date – Between September to October

Phung Daw Oo Pagoda is the holiest pagoda in the Inle Lake. It was built by the king Alungsithu of the Bagan in 12 the centaury during his country exploration tour in Inle lake. King enshrined the scared five Buddhas and they are highly venerated in Inle lake. The festival is held annually for one month between September and October. During the festival time, those Buddhas visit the lake on the holy Barge Procession of Buddhas’ walk on barge in Inle Lake being followed by many boats of the local men rowing the long boats with leg is splendid. People waiting for the passage of the Buddhas in front of their houses with the flowers to pay homage. Festival time is big event for the whole population of the lake as well as thousand of the other regions come to Inle Lake to pay homage to the Buddhas. The most interesting thing relating to the festival is boat competition of the Leg rowers boat men.

 

Festival of Lights (Thadingyut)

Type -national festival

Place – everywhere

Date – In October

Festival of lightscommemorate Buddha ‘s great event .It is called Thadigyut in Burmese meaning end of Buddhist lent .It denotes the descent of Buddha from the Heaven after delivering his laws to the celestials being together with his mother angel god .Buddha was welcomed by the illuminations when he arrived on the earth .Thus every year on the full moon day of the ninth month ( if falls in  October ), Buddhistsilluminatetheir homes and streets to celebrate it .During the festivals time ,there are thousands of candles lights offerings at all pagoda ,monasteries .But also some celebrate with the fire crackers , the hot balloon lancing into the sky .This festival is very fascinating .

 

Elephant dance

Type -regional festival

Palce – Kyaukse town

Date – In October

Dancing Elephant Festival is also another famous festival in Myanmar. It is held in Kyaukse near Mandalay to celebrate its important pagoda festival. It is a marvelous performance of two men together to dance in rhythm. A huge elephant figure is made from bamboo and paper. Men take their places inside the figure and dance around the town to the accompaniment of Drums. People from far and near come to visit Kyaukse and watch the elephant. If you are interesting to take part in the Myanmarpuppet cloth elephant dance. you need to special trip plan to visit Kyaukse town on the festival day.

Matho Thingyan festival

Type -national festival

Palce – Everywhere (in big cities)

Date – In November

Matho Thingan festival is religious and weaving monks ‘robes ceremony. This festival is an auspicious time for offering of yellow robes to the monks. Buddha’s motherwho reincarnated as a god in heaven perceived from her heavenly abode that her son would soon be discarding the royal robes and wearing a monk’s garments. She wanted to provide the yellow robes of the monk and she had only a night’s time. But she had it woven in a single night and offered to the Prince (Siddhata) by a celestial messenger. In commemoration of this event, weaving competitions of yellow robes are held all over the country.

 

Hot-air balloon Festival

Type – regional festival

Place – Taunggyi town (Shan State)

Date – In November

Taunggyi Hot air balloon festival is one of the big festival in Myanmar and it is held the whole week before the full moon day of November. We celebrate two lighting festivals, one time in October and one time in November. The latter one is to offer candles to the Sulamani pagoda in the heaven. It is national festival but Taunggyi town celebrates it in a special way.They build the hot balloons to offer the lights to the sky Pagoda. On this festival days, they hold the competitions of the hots balloons of the town on the day and night. These hots balloons are really incredible and artistic. Day balloons are usually in the form of Pagodasand 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 fireworks to set off mid-air fireworks in the night sky when they are lanced into the sky. This hot air balloons competition is really worth to see. Thousands of the people are attracted to this festival and all hotels and guest houses are full during the festival week.

Kayin New Year Festival

Type – regional

Place – Hpa an

Date – in December

Kayin New Year is a public holiday in Myanmar. The Kayin New Year is celebrated nationwide by the Karen community in Myanmar. It falls in the December month where Karen celebrate it by the date of their lunar calendar. It is held on the first day of the moon month of Pyatho. Karen make the Karen national assembly and dance and make the feast to celebrate. Hpa- an is the best Place to see the Karen New year festival to enjoy the L\Karen culture. their color and joyful dances.

Weather

Myanmar has a tropical climate with a monsoon which goes from May to November and strikes more heavily in the west and south regions. High Myanmar basin benefits from a drier climate with irregular rainfalls. Temperature vary from 21 c in the winter to almost 40 C in the summer. The best time of the year to visit Myanmar is from October to March, the dry and sunny season. Below is the general temperature and rainfall rates Chart per month for the whole year round in Myanmar.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Temperature C 25 26 35 40 40 35 35 30 30 25 25 25
Rain fall mm 5 2 7 15 105 303 547 602 368 209 60 7
Best Time to travel

  • The best time to travel
  • The good time to travel
  • Low season

Travel Security

Personal security and Crime

Crime rate is too low in Myanmar and there are almost no crimes against tourists. As People are kind, helpful and so respectful to the Buddha ‘s advice, you can travel everywhere without fear even in Yangon and Mandalay, the highest crime rates cities in Myanmar, though there are some local pick pockets and murders but its rate is lower than other Asia countries. Women can travel solo without being afraid of being raped. Moreover, for the personal security of tourists, there are tourists police in high tourist towns such as Bagan and Inle to protect and help. Regard to other cities without tourist police, there is other police who protect the tourists.

Health, food and water

As a developing country, there are some main contagious diseases are present and not well controlled. However, if travelers should have taken the precaution treatment before travel to Myanmar. There is no risk to caught them.

Myanmar food is quite similar to other Asian foods and based on the curries. They are delicious and moderately flavored. There will not be problem with food during your stay in Myanmar. But you are recommended to avoid eating in local restaurants in term of hygiene to avoid food poison and stomach upset. There are plenty of hygiene restaurants for tourists and they made the dishes after order with clean water. If you follow this tip, there is no problem with food.

Mineral water is available in Myanmar. Thus, there is no risk with unpurified water problem. Drinking tap water is avoidable and have only bottle water.

Political Instabilities

Some areas of Myanmar are restricted due to the ethnic group insurgency and wars between two ethnic groups or an ethnic group and government military. However, it is always safe and peaceful in the top touristic regions and those problems have never affected the tourists. If you can avoid the restricted areas and do not participate in the riots and political demonstrations and protests, your trip is safe and sound.

Weather and natural disasters

Myanmar is a tropical country and the temperature is moderate between not too hot and too cold. The summer period between May and August is hotter that other seasons. but there is not high risk to be affected by the high temperature. You can visit Myanmar anytime avoiding this period. In term of disasters risks, we had had some disasters such as cyclones, earthquakes, floods. So far, those disasters did not affect Tourists sites and any tourist. Thus, Myanmar is safe from disaster risk either.

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