Most of the famous festivals in Myanmar are cultural and religious in Nature, reflecting the country’s deep spirituality as well as important social events. Many festivals are related to pagoda festivals that people from the surrounding towns and villagers come.
There are also other festivals by may ethnic groups inhabiting the country connected with either the new year or harvest according to their own calendars. Apart from these festivals, some are connected with the other religions and Nats or the spirits.
Ananda Pagoda Festival
Date : 15 Days after Full Moon Day
Location : Bagan
Duration : 15 Days
This is one of the most famous pagoda festivals in Bagan. The Great Ananda Pagoda Festival is said to have been going on continuously since the Bagan period. Long ago, people from many villages around Bagan came to festival in and made camps for the whole duration of festival. Definitely, visitors can enjoy the traditional lifestyle of the locals during these time.
Kachin Manaw Festival (Kachin New Year Festival)
Date : Usually around first week of January
Location : Myitkyina, Kachin State
Duration : 1 Day
The Kachins, one of the major races of Myanmar, take great part in this festival and many Kachins from abroad come back to meet and dance at this special event. The Manaw dance is performed at Manaw Festival which originated as part of the Nat or spirit worship of the past.
Naga New Year Festival
Date : January 14-16
Location : Lahe or Layshi, Sagaing Division
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 gather annually to celebrate the New Year which falls on January 15. Package tours are available to visit the Naga New Year Festival.
Thingyan Water Festival
Date : Usually 13th april to 17 april (Myanmar New Year )
Thingyan (The Water Festival) is the most exciting and interesting occasion for merry-making with the largest number of people taking part in it throughout the country. During the Thingyan festival, people pour water over one another to the melodious tunes of singing and dancing at the decorated party pavilions. Pouring water signifies cleansing the body and mind of evils of the past year.
Dates : late April after the water festival)
Location : Myeik Archipelago
Duration : 1 Day
The only inhabitants in Myeik or Mergui Archipelago of Myanmar are Sea Gypsies namely Salon (Moken). They live on boats during dry season and remain on land during rainy season. They still practice the same fishing and boat building techniques used for generation. Even they are living in the sea for most of the time, they have their traditions, customs, cultures and their localized traditional festival. During the festival, all villagers gather at the villages, offer foods and pray for their better on business, good luck for good health and more prosperous for coming season. They are also enjoy their meals, drink and dance traditionally during their festival.
Paung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
Paung Daw Oo Pagoda is usually held 18 days in September or October. Paung Daw Oo Pagoda is one of the famous principal pagodas which houses five Buddha images. This pagoda is the main attraction to locals in Inle Lake and 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.
Hot Air Balloon Festival
The most spectacular event of the year is the hot Air Balloon Festival held 3 days during every November in Taunggyi. Thousands of local pilgrims and international tourists choose to visit Taunggyi, especially to watch scores of giant paper animals being inflated and floated off into the sky. The competitions run during the day and at night when the sky is colorfully illuminated with hot air balloons. Balloons in the shape of elephant, ox, horse, water buffalo, bird, pig, fish, owl and parrot are sent up into the sky.