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Archive for the ‘Festival’ Category

I have arrived in Myanmar on a very auspicious date, the Burmese new year, or Thingyan, the most celebrated festival in the country. Thingyan, Myanmar Water Festival, takes place toward the end of the hot, dry season and ushers in the Myanmar New Year. This festival is also celebrated in neighboring Theravada Buddhist countries; Songkran in Thailand and Laos, Chaul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia. Taking place from April 13 to 16 each year, the Buddhist festival of Thingyan is celebrated over four to five days, culminating on the Lunar New Year Day.

Commonly referred to as the Water Festival, Maha Thingyan allows people to celebrate the Burmese New Year. Despite this, Maha Thingyan is observed in mid-April on the Gregorian calendar. While the Water Festival is a Buddhist event, the Burmese government has made it a legal public holiday. This ensures that many Burmese citizens have the opportunity to enjoy the Water Festival. Maha Thingyan is a time for happiness and friendly attitudes.

Thinngyan is the most unique and colourful with the merriest occasion in Myanmar. Standing on bamboo stages erected along the streets, people splash water on passersby. Powerful water pipes douse people driving by in jeeps and trucks. The people throwing water each other since the Myanmar believe that Thinngyan water has the power to cleanse the evil and sins of the old year. The water symbolizes the washing away of the previous year’s bad luck and sins. On New Year’s Day itself, all the water-throwing ends. This day is celebrated by releasing captive fish and birds as acts of merit, and special feasts are held for monks.

Thingyan Celebrations:
Thingyan Eve: The first Thingyan celebrations begin on the day before the Water Festival. Thingyan Eve, or A-Kyo Nei, is a time for observing Buddhist beliefs.

Fasting: Many Buddhists observe Thingyan Eve through fasting. People who decide to fast for Thingyan Eve usually eat a single basic meal prior to noon. This meal is often very bland.

Observing the Eight Precepts: During Thingyan Eve, Buddhists are expected to observe the Eight Precepts of Buddhism. These Eight Precepts are similar to the Five Precepts. While observing the Eight Precepts, Buddhists must do the following: Refrain from killing living creatures, Refrain from stealing, Refrain from sexual activity, Refrain from lying or using incorrect speech, Refrain from using alcohol or drugs, Refrain from seeking entertainment, Refrain from eating during fasting periods, Refrain from sleeping on high places

Offerings to Monks: Many people in Myanmar celebrate Thingyan Eve by visiting a Buddhist temple. When visiting these temples, it is considered proper to leave an offering of green coconuts and bananas. These kinds of offerings usually consist of a single green coconut surrounded by a circle of bananas.

Washing the Buddha: Burmese people will also wash Buddha statues with sacred water that has been scented with flower extract. When washing Buddha statues, people start at the top by drizzling water over the head.

Night Celebrations: After the religious formalities of Thingyan Eve have been observed, Burmese people begin to relax and enjoy themselves. There are many lively celebrations that occur during the night of Thingyan Eve.

Music, Song, and Dance: While the Eight Precepts prohibit Buddhists from enjoying entertainment of any kind during the daytime, people are allowed to party to their hearts’ content as soon as night arrives. In nearly every village, city, and town in Myanmar, large stages are erected for the purpose of enjoying entertainment. These stages are made of wood and elaborately decorated with papier-mache and paint. Woman will dance to classical and contemporary music while wearing flower skirts. In addition to these flower skirts, Burmese women often wear padauck blossoms in their hair. The padauck blossom is also commonly referred to as the Thingyan flower due to its rarity and use during Maha Thingyan.

Parade of Locals: After enjoying live music and dancing, people celebrating Maha Thingyan parade the streets of their town or city while enjoying alcohol and the company of their friends and family members. These parades often consist of vehicles and decorated floats. Gyat, a form of Burmese rap, is commonly performed during these parades. Gyat is fairly controversial because it is a popular way of expressing distaste for social and political issues through music.

Water Festival Celebrations
Thinngyan water festival time is the merriest time for Myanmar young and old. Almost the whole populations are in the most joyous mood; roam around the city in cars or on foot to throwing and splashing water each other. Children use water pistols to drench their friends, relatives, and anyone else in range – only monks and the elderly are safe.
The primary event of Maha Thingyan is the Water Festival. This huge event is meant to celebrate the descent of Thagyamin, a celestial Buddhist figure, to Earth. The beginning of the Water Festival, or A-Kya Nei, is marked with the firing of a water cannon into a public area. While the cannon is fired, people run out to collect the water with pots and buckets. The collected water is then poured over the ground. This is followed by a short prayer. Just like Thingyan Eve, these religious rituals are followed by festive activities. Water throwing with toy guns, balloons, and hoses takes place in many areas of Myanmar.

If you are planning to travel Myanmar, Thingyan is undoubtedly the best time of the year to visit. Besides the fun-filled activities and the festive atmosphere, you’ll be sure to meet lots of Burmese, who are always friendly saying “Mingalabar”

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Happy Lunar New Year from beautiful Vietnam.

There are plenty of annual big and small festivals celebrated after the Tet Holiday in our country. Visiting these festival in the spring time, you may have the chance to get closer to the local life, the myth and the fun, beauty-loving spirit of our nation.

You can visit Indochina travel Vietnam to get more useful information.

Today is the 6th day of the new year and also the day we come back to work after a week off for our crucial vacation. For this reason, I have compiled a list of 3 biggest festivals opening for today which may be a good choice to pop up while travel in North Vietnam after Tet.

Giong Festival

  • Origin:

Giong Festival is annually celebrated in spring time to commemorate Saint Giong, one of the four immortals of Vietnam. He was respected and worshiped for his contribution in defending the country against the An Chinese enemy and becomes a great hero in Vietnam’s mythology. The festival held in Soc Temple where he ascended to the heaven after the fight which was recognized by UNESCO as the intangible cultural heritage of mankind, along with the other one held in Phu Dong Temple where Saint Giong was born.

  • Time: From the 6th to the 8th day of the 1st lunar month
  • Venue: Phu Linh Commune, Soc Son District, Hanoi
  • Activities:

With the hope for abundant harvests and happier lives, this festival is celebrated for 3 days. From the night of the 6th, people start to do the bathing for the Saint’s statue called “khai quang” in the presence of villagers and pilgrims. On the second day which is the day when Giong sacrificed, the bamboo flowers offering ceremony is performed then the tourists may fight to catch one for the good luck.

Apart from prcocessions and incense offerings, the festive will organize many activities for goers to immerse themselves in the festival for instance: playing folk games, watching chicken fighting, playing chess and enjoy traditional singing (ca tru singing).

Giong-festival

Giong festival- source: internet

Giong-festival

Giong festival- source: internet

Giong-festival

Giong festival- source: internet

Huong (Perfume) Pagoda Festival

  • Origin:

The Perfume Pagoda Festival origined from the “Woods Opening Festival” of the Muong people at the old days. As the main living activities of the Muong People in the past were farming, foresting and fishing, the forest should be opened for the new year to begin a new harvest of hunting and planting. Time flied, the Kinh people gathered in this Huong Son area but still keep this traditional festival and build more pagoda to worship Quan Yin in natural caves of this breath-taking mountain.

  • Time: From the 6th day of the 1st lunar month until the end of 3rd lunar month.
  • Venue: Huong Son Commune, My Duc District, Ha Noi (formely Ha Tay Province), 69km south of Hanoi
  • Activities:

There is no doubt to state that this festival is the most famous site for Buddhist pilgrimage as throughout the history, many thousands of pilgrims travel to Huong Tich cave to pray for luckiness, happiness and prosperity in the new year.

To reach this sacred cave, pilgrims get on the boat which goes along the Yen Stream through stunning green rice paddies field studded with limestone mountain to the base of the mountain then climb up to hundreds of steps through many stunning caves and monasteries. On the opening day of the festival, tourists may enjoy the Dragon Dance at the Trinh Temple yard, go boating and Dragon Dance on the Yen Stream.

Image-result-for-huong-pagoda-festival

Image result for huong pagoda festival

Related-image-Huong-pagoda-festival

Related image Huong pagoda festival

Co Loa Festival

  • Origin:

The Co Loa Festival is held annually to commemorate and worship King An Duong Vuong who was the founder of Au Lac Kingdom (Au Viet & Lac Viet) and built the Co Loa Citadel in the 3rd century B.C. The 6th day of the 1st lunar month was the day when King An Duong Vuong inaugurated his throne. Despite being the witness of the sad story about losing the freedom to the enermy, the Co Loa Citadel is still the pride of Viet people for our  history of preventing invaders.

  • Time: From the 6th to the 16th of the 1st lunar month
  • Venue: Co Loa Commune, Dong Anh District, Hanoi, 17 km North West of Hanoi Center.
  • Activities:

From the afternoon of the 5th day, all of the eight communes including the Co Loa Commune and 7 others establishing the relations start the cermony of incense offering at the communal house.

On the official festive day – the 6th day, the procession in which the funeral oration, incense burner and stone tablet are taken from the elder’s house to Upper Temple is carried out.

In front of the Upper Temple, the yard is decorated with beautiful and colorful flags. Outside, two wooden horses in red and white color quietly stand. All of palanquins are orderly placed in two rows to wait for a solemn ceremony with incense offerings.

In addition to this rite, visitors also enjoy various traditional games and competitions include: wrestling, crossbow shooting, bamboo swings, rice cooking. Besides, you can also immerse yourself among the performances of “ca tru” singing, “quan ho” singing, and “cheo” singing.

Image-result-for-co-loa-festival

Image result for co loa festival- source: internet

Image-result-for-co-loa-festival

Image result for co loa festival- source: internet

Wish you a new year of Rooster full of joy and success!

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Valentine’s day is coming up! If you are travelling with your partner in Saigon and wondering where to have dinner to enjoy a romantic day together, below suggestions may help:

The Deck Saigon – 38 Nguyen U Di St, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City

Have long been well known as the paradise for dating couples, The Deck Saigon is a fine dining restauran which specializes in serving Western food. The restaurant has modern and luxury design and riverside tables are especially suit couples.  Is it expected of this place to bring you an interesting and romantic night.

The-Deck-Saigon

The Deck Saigon- source: internet

The best time to visit the restaurant is at late afternoon, approximately 5pm to 6pm when the sun sets that makes the scenery so poetic. Average price is USD 20 – 25 per person without beverage

The Log Restaurant – Rooftop, Gem Center, 08 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Phuong Da Kao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Located on the rooftop of GEM Center, The Log is covered by a green space, quiet with trees that makes it completely separated from the noisy and bustling Saigon. For nature lovers, this restaurant is a nice place to spend your Valentine’s Day.

Entering the restaurant, you will find out that The Log owns a simply interior design with wooden tables and yellow lights, yet bring you unforgettable impression on your very first date. This restaurant serves both a la carte and buffet so you can choose base on your preference and budget

The-Log-Restaurant

The Log Restaurant- source: internet

Reference price:

  • A la carte menu: 4 – 35 per dish
  • Buffet: USD 50 per person

MAMA Restaurant – 33 Nguyen Dinh Chieu St, Dist 1, Ho Chi Minh City

A Western villa with spacious campus and a exquisite combination inside, the restaurant brings you a romantic atmosphere and also a luxury feeling. Beautifully designed space, very elegant and I am surely you will be impressed by the green grassland there. MAMA Restaurant is a culinary space blending Thai style. Price is from 7 – 30 USD per dish

Au Manoir De Khai Restaurant – 251 Dien Bien Phu, Ward 7. District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

Located inside a French village with 19th century architecture on Dien Bien Phu Street, District 3, the restaurant has luxury and sophisticated decor with two tones – black and white

Au-Manoir-De-Khai-Restaurant

Au Manoir De Khai Restaurant- source: internet

With warm, romantic and quiet atmosphere, delicious dishes served and good services, this restaurant should be put on your list when choosing a place for Valentine’s Day.

If you interest, please access Indochina tours Vietnam to get more advice for Valentine’s day

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Christmas is knocking on the door, and in Indochina Voyages we’re eager to celebrate a wonderful Christmas ever!

Although Christmas is not an official holiday in Vietnam, in big cities like Hanoi and especially Ho Chi Minh city, it becomes a day for everybody to hanging, and giving presents and love. Indochina travel Vietnam

This year, to prepare for a surprising day and to tight the friendship between our colleagues, we did a sortie game. We gathered together and each person will take a piece of paper written a name of a person in our team. The giver would buy a present and put it under the Christmas tree with a small name sticker of the receiver, but the name of the giver is a secret and it only revealed on day Dec 23rd.

Handmade-decorations-by-ourselves

Handmade decorations by ourselves- source: Nam Lucas

One week before Christmas, the office decoration started. We built the plastic pine tree from last year, shaped it properly and put the ornaments on. We also received some Christmas cards from our partners and they’re so lovely to put on the tree!

Lovely-cards-from-partners

Lovely cards from partners- source: Nam Lucas

Boxes are wrapped nicely with colorful wrapping papers and ribbons. Whitewall is also put on a new look with Santa Clause and other funny handmade cutting. It took us an afternoon to finish but we had a lot of fun together!

On the day, a small party had been set up with flowers, cake and fresh fruit. We gathered together, enjoy the food in the joyful melody of Christmas songs. We were curious about the givers and presents!

The moment finally came. Each of us found the gift and opened it with excitement. There were useful, funny, beautiful gifts and we were all happy. Giving a present and receiving so much emotion, we got a memorable day with our team.

We-wish-you-have-a-Merry-Christmas!

We wish you have a Merry Christmas!- source: Nam Lucas

See our funny Christmas video here: https://www.facebook.com/indochina.voyages/?fref=ts

How did you enjoy your Christmas? We wish you all a merry Christmas, a blessed holiday season. Wish for an  upcoming year fulfilled with joy, love and happiness!

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Phaung Daw OO Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake, Shan State)

Phaung Daw U Pagoda is the most famous pagoda in Inle lake region. The pagoda houses five small gilded images of Buddha, which have been covered in gold leaf to the point that their original forms cannot be seen.  The Phaung Daw U Pagoda Festival is held annually for a total of 18 days. It is one of the most famous festivals in Myanmar. Both locals and foreign visitors come to visit this traditional festival in Inle Lake, Shan State. Annually, during the Myanmar Month of Thadingyut, usually between September and October, the 18-days festival is held. The festival is held with the dates according to the Lunar Calendar of Myanmar.

A large boat with a Golden Hintha (Hamsa) Bird creation is built. The Buddha Images tour around the Inle Lake from village to village taking the whole 18 days on the way. During the festival, only four of the Buddha Images are moved onto the royal barge. One image always remains at the temple. The decorated royal barge is towed by several boats moving by leg-rowers of Inle. The barge is towed from village to village along the shores of the lake in clockwise fashion, and the four images reside at the main monastery in each village for the night. The high point of the festival is on the day when the images arrive at the main town of Nyaung Shwe, where most pilgrims from the surrounding region come to pay their respects and veneration by boats. There are hundreds of floating boats from near and far. Indochina tours Vietnam

The order of the procession is subject to late changes as there is no fixed route for the festival. Your guide throughout your period in Inle Lake will take you to the best locations to enable you to join in the festivities.

Phaung Daw OO Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake, Shan State)

Phaung Daw OO Pagoda Festival (Inle Lake, Shan State)

The festival is held with the dates according to the Lunar Calendar of Myanmar. A large boat with a Golden Hintha (Hamsa) Bird creation is built

The festival is held with the dates according to the Lunar Calendar of Myanmar.

Elephant Dance Festival (Ky Auk Se)

In celebration of these magnificent beasts, locals dress up in life-size elephant costumes to perform lively dances and impressive acrobatics. The artistry, fun, and sheer talent involved in this festival is sure to impress any visitor.

What is the Elephant Dance Festival?

The festival is celebrated every year at the end of Buddhist Lent, which coincides with October’s full moon. The festival is celebrated with intricate elephant costumes, each generally manned by two people. The costumes can take months to make and are crafted from a bamboo frame covered in cloth, paper, and foil.  The elephant costumes are further decorated in glitter, gold foil, satin, ribbons, and glass gems to create a true work of art. Workshops respect the artist’s mastery and each artist keeps his construction methods top-secret.

What to expect at the Elephant Dance Festival?

The festival lasts all day and includes both a parade and a dance competition. The day starts with a parade around the marketplace, with the elephants circling the market three times so that everyone can get a good look at the beautiful artwork. The competition begins in the morning and is judged by prominent town officials and distinguished local persons.

The elephants are judged on various details including the precision and harmony of the dancing, the teamwork of the dancers, the construction of the elephant, and the music and singing involved. Dancing can involve impressive acrobatics – imagine two people acting out an elephant standing on its front legs with its hind legs in the air. Winners are announced in the evening and the next morning pilgrims climb a nearby 975-foot-hill to offer cakes and fruits to their spiritual protectors.

Elephant Dance Festival (Ky Auk Se)

Elephant Dance Festival (Ky Auk Se)

The festival is celebrated every year at the end of Buddhist Lent, which coincides with October’s full moon.

The festival is celebrated every year at the end of Buddhist Lent, which coincides with October’s full moon.

2b

2d

Hot Air Balloon Festival 

As usual, the festival is held on full moon day of Tazaungmone. It takes at least for 5 days and widely famous for its hot air balloons with fireworks and fire  crackers, competing day and night during the festival. Nevertheless, the main significance of this festival is light, as many suppose this festival has existed even before the introduction of Buddhism in Myanmar, to honor the God of Light and the awakening of Lord Vishnu. Sparkle fireworks, fire balloons are sent to the sky and multicolored lanterns are lighted. It is also said that the Gautama Buddha would return to Tawadeintha on this day to visit his mother’s reincarnated spirit so people illuminate the path for him by lighting candles and lanterns. Also on this occasion, many people come back home to pay homage to elders. Almsgiving and charity consisting of sautuditha feasts are also common during this festival, regarded as merit-making activities.

Visitors can see competition, how beautiful and smart hot air balloons, fireworks and fire crackers that how high shapes and forms of animals such as elephants, ducks, fishes, birds, hens so also four legs animals like pigs, buffalos which are to be handmade of a kind of fire resistant paper for successfully long lasting while competing. The competition is celebrated in crowded people while others play happily traditional musical instruments and dance around. People from all parts of country love to come and enjoy this festival as the festival is one of the most popular festivals in Myanmar. tours in Vietnam

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Hot Air Balloon Festival

It takes at least for 5 days and widely famous for its hot air balloons with fireworks and fire crackers, competing day and night during the festival

It takes at least for 5 days and widely famous for its hot air balloons with fireworks and fire crackers, competing day and night during the festival

Sky Lights

Sky Lights

Golden Rock Pagoda Festival

Mount Kyaiktiyo (Kyite Htee Yoe), famous for the huge golden rock perched at its summit, is one of the three most sacred religious sites in Myanmar, along with the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mahamuni Temple. Pilgrims come here from far and wide to worship and add gold leaf to the rock, which seems to defy gravity by delicately balancing on the edge of the 1100-metre high mountain.

Golden Rock pagoda festival is one of the most famous one and nation-wide both for local and foreign visitors. It is held on the evening of December 31 in Golden Rock, Mon State. On the platform of Golden Rock pagoda devotees light nine thousand lamps to welcome the New Year and to give thanks to Buddha peaceful philosophy. The magical Golden Rock pagoda, a golden spire, sits on the top huge boulder covered with gold leaf and perched on the edge of a cliff.

It is of considerable celebrity and attracts crowds of worshippers annually beginning from October to March which is the seasonal pilgrimage period for worshippers Especially on the full moon day of Tabaung, the platform of the pagoda is lighted with ninety thousand candles offered to the Buddha and thousands of worshippers gather around the pagoda offering fruits, foods incense to the Buddha. Sometimes reflected rays of color from the Buddha’s image were said to have been observed by the worshipers.

Golden Rock Pagoda Festival

Golden Rock Pagoda Festival

Golden Rock Pagoda

Golden Rock Pagoda

4c

kyaikthiyo-bird-eyes-view

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In the weekend, escape from busyness in daily life, just relax and take time to discover the walking street in Hanoi and feel the capital with the peaceful moment. On Friday evening, Saturday, Sunday, instead of picture of crowed road, Trang Tien, Ly Thai To, Hang Bac, Hang Trong, Hang Gai and Hang Dao street become the unique space where not only the local people but also foreign tourist relax and get new experiences.

The green and fresh space

Take time and walk around the old town located surround Hoan Kiem lake now, what I feel is the green and spacious atmosphere without smog from vehicles.

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Fresh and green space without vehicle.

The streets now have its own memories in the past, which seems to be separated from the noise outside.

You can see the small stores selling To He, the traditional toy for Vietnamese children which can be eaten, lanterns or some street venders with many special foods, which seems to be only in the past. An ancient Hanoi returns in the walking streets.

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To He returns in the walking streets

In the weekend, some pictures of the mother pushing pram go into the streets slowly, young people with smiles under brilliant sunshine sunset can bring you peaceful fellings. There are many middle – aged men playing the chess or doing exercise. Besides, some families are training their children how to travel by bicycle on the small one. The streets become peaceful with walking spaces, friendly people not being separated by layers of glass doors, helmets, cars exhaust. All of these highlights make you enjoy Hanoi city – city for peace as recognition of UNESCO.

Destination of childhood memories.

If you are 8X, 9X generation, I am sure you will get some special feelings like me when remembering of the traditional games which close to our childhood. It is great when sitting under the shade of the large banyan tree and playing these games with our friends. Traditional game is intrinsically Vietnamese, arousing a strong sense of nostalgia and familiarity in Vietnamese people around the world.

In the center of walking street, near Cam Tu monument, many people are gathering and playing some traditional games such as bamboo jacks, mandarin square capturing, tug of war, etc. I have not seen these funny games for a long time. I think it seems to disappear in a modern life.

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Mother teaches her sons how to play mandarin square capturing in the walking street.

I feel happy when seeing the beloved images which seem to be in the past, all of them are my beautiful childhood memories. There are many children often making friends with the technological equipments, playing video games after school time excited at the traditional games, which is indispensable for them in the past. Both the children and the older are fascinated with the return of the traditional games in the center of Hanoi city. It is not only games for children, but also brings Vietnamese unique culture. You can easily feel the happiness in their face when experiencing again the childhood games, which seem to be in their memories, which make them feel younger.

Besides, there are many foreign tourists getting new experience with the unique and simple games. This is opportunity for them to learn more about Vietnamese culture and close to friendly local people.

Just with some small things such as a rope, a few bamboo sticks or pebbles, these games can attract you strongly, making you forget time and space. Intelligent calculations, ingenuity, fun and especially high community are the special characteristics of these games. They both help children develop thinking skills, creativity, ingenuity and help them learn about friendship, love of family, home and country.

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Young people are excited at the game with stones.

As I know, bring traditional games back to Hanoi people is a project of a group of young people from MyHanoi Club, founded in 2006, they want to help young people closer to the folk games which seem to be forgotten. Their efforts inspire me and other people in reservation our traditional games when I see some families bringing ropes teaching their children how to play with them.

If you are the first 9X generation like me, do you remember some games such as bamboo jacks with small bamboo sticks and rhymes, cat & mouse game, mandarin square capturing with small stones and squares, tug of war? If you are in Hanoi in the weekend and have free time, come and experience these games again with me. See you in the walking streets!

For further interest, please follow our relevant topics at: Indochina holidays

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Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree (Bo Tree)

All the pagodas throughout the country celebrate on Full Moon Day of Kason. This ritual commemorates the date 2500 years ago when the Buddha gained enlightenment while mediation under a Bodhi tree. Pilgrims pour water on this tree in pagoda compounds to keep them fresh in the summer heat of May.

As the month of kason is at the middle of the hot reason, the earth is dry and people pour water at the Maha-Bodhi tree to make sure it does not die of drought during the hot summer. This has become an integral part of Myanmar culture and on every full-moon day of kason, the Buddhist people would march in a grand procession to the Bodhi tree or to the pagodas to pour scented water.

For further interest, Please follow our relevant topics at: Indochina travel

Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree (Bo Tree)

There are so many banyan tress in various regions of Myanmar. The majestic trees give cool shade and grandeur as well as dignity. grace and charm. Water pouring ceremony to the Bodhi tree in the month of Kason had been performed successively since the time of Myanmar monarchs to the present day. The performance of the ceremony is supportive not only to the religion and tradition but also to keeping trees green and lush.

  • Date:   During May
  • Location: Countrywide
Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree (Bo Tree)

Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree (Bo Tree)

Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival

The weather in June may not support for outdoor activities through the country, even festivals. Only the biggest one – Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival takes place in Pakkoku, Central Myanmar. Pakokku is an old traditional town on the western bank of the Ayeyarwadt river. This pagoda festival is the most important for all towns west of the Ayeyarwady and produce from the region.

Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda

Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda

This festival is an occasion for farming communities in the Pakokku to come together and celebrate the end of the harvest season. Pakokku is the old town on the western bank of Ayeyawady River. This is the most important festival of the land. The festival is also occurred with a local market selling local specialties such as fried chili, tobacco, fiber bags. This is also areas growing the best quality of Tanakha, the plant to make traditional skin-protected cosmetic of Burmese people. Red robed Buddhist monks will collect alms from local people and attendees in the festival. All farmers and merchants will donate portion of their profits to the temple.

  • Date: from 8th Nayon month
  • Duration: 15 days
  • Location: Pakokku, central Myanmar

Waso Festival

The Waso festival is annually held on the full moon of Waso throughout the country. The festival commemorates the time when the Budha gave his first sermon, to five months. Pilgrims throughout the country gather wild flowers to offer at pagodas, and offer new robes to monks. The Buddhist Lent period is from the full moon of Waso until the full moon of Thadingyut.

During the Waso festival, Buddhist monks are not allowed to go outside overnight or longer and they have to stay at their monasteries. Often, monks begin their Lenten days on the full moon day of the fourth month of the Myanmar calendar and ends on the full moon day of Thadingyut, the seventh month of the Myanmar calendar. It lasts for three month in total.

The Waso festival is annually held on the full moon of Waso throughout the country

The Waso festival is annually held on the full moon of Waso throughout the country

The Waso festival is annually held on the full moon of Waso throughout the country

It is said in history that a group of monks set out on a journey to pay their respects to the Buddha in the agricultural season. Because many people complained that the monks walked across cultivated fields and destroyed the crops, the Lord passed a law to be followed by monks: no monk shall make a journey lasting a night or longer during the three monks of the monsoon rains. That rains retreat is the Buddhist Lent.

Following the law, monks spend more time and energy to the propagation of the Buddha’s teachings and the practice, that is, meditation, of the doctrine during that period. Laymen and laywomen try to gian merit through offering robes, alms and other essentials to the Sangha, it was a special donation to the monks during the Lent of absolute devotion to meditation. This annual occasion is called “Waso-pwe”, occasion of offering essentials to the Sangha, or “Waso-thingan-katlupwe”, occasion of offering robes to the Sangha.

From this time on, Buddhist experience three months by not drinking alcohol, making donation ceremonies, reciting the Buddhist chant, keeping precepts and practicing meditation. Morever,marriage and changing of accommodation during the period are not encouraged.

  • Date:   July (15th day of 04th Burmese month)
  • Location: Countrywide
Myanmar Waso Festival (or) Lenten Season

Myanmar Waso Festival (or) Lenten Season

Taung Pyone Nat ( Spirit ) Festival

There are number of annual Nat festivals celebrated in Myanmar, the Nats of the region accordingly. Taungpyone festival is the most attractive and important in a village near Mandalay. Annual festival is held in September or August according to the Myanmar Lunar calendar. The believers honour the two Taung Pyone brothers, Min Gyi and Min  Galay. In Buddhist lore, spirits or nats exit in many forms such as celestials or guardians of the faith, cities or villages, or even for each individual. The pantheon of 37 spirits worshipped by semi-animists are also called Nat but of a different kind. Most of 37 spirits met violent deaths as humans and by strong emotions of bitterness or anger could not pass through to their next life but remain in limbo. But rituals worship them in believing that they will be blessed and they could bring more wealth and good fortune to their daily life.

Taung Pyone Nat ( Spirit ) Festival

Taung Pyone Nat ( Spirit ) Festival

This village is known among Myanmar people thanks to the Taung Pyone Festival, which is the most famous festival of Nats (spirits) in the country. This is the festival where people are allowed to make fun of each other but not allowed to get angry or take the joke as serious for all visitors are expected to smile with joy and fun. All the Nat mediums or clairvoyance and those who believe and worship Nat’s gather in the village. The usually quiet village of Taung Payone becomes very crowded for the time of the festival with all the visitors coming to join the celebrations by car, train or on foot.

The village itself is a pleasant place to be. The beautiful landscape opens the view on mountains covered with palm trees. You can enjoy your stay in a traditional village hut fully made from a palm stem and leaves. Obviously the huts don’t have usual facilities – both showers and toilets are outside. So you will definitely have an interesting outdoor shower experience. Don’t forget to bring some extra longyi which will be necessary for the bathing. During the festival you can find many shops selling traditional crafts – handmade necklaces, bracelets, different children’s toys, snacks, local products.

Series of 37 Nat statues on the stands are offered food and flowers, but not pork products, cash and alcohol. The mediums entertain the crowds with Nat dance with the traditional Nat music and performance during night and day. The whole area is occupied with circus and cultural dances, music and magic shows, fortune tellers and tattoo shops. Thousands of people are visiting the Nats Pavilions to consult a medium for their future prospects and fortunes.

  • Date:   During August
  • Location: Taungyone, Mandalay Division
This is the festival where people are allowed to make fun of each other but not allowed to get angry or take the joke as serious for all visitors are expected to smile with joy and fun.

This is the festival where people are allowed to make fun of each other but not allowed to get angry or take the joke as serious for all visitors are expected to smile with joy and fun.

Manuha Pagoda Festival

Manuha Pagoda Festival is held annually one day before the Full Moon Day of Tawtalin. Depending on the Lunar Calendar. the festival is held in end of September or start of October. Manuha Pagoda Festival is celebrated for three consecutive days.

During two days festival, pretty village girls dressed in their best parade with trays of fruit and cakes to offer at the pagoda. During the afternoon, young men parade larger than life papier mache figures they have made of heroes, celestials and animals. At night, they put on dances and plays. The next morning at dawn, they offer foods at the shrine and also to the monks.

The parade of colourful paper mache figures roam around the city during the festival. The locals create colorful and beautiful decorations of images such as the Manuha King himself. tigers. cows. elephants. horses. and even some stars of today. The number of representation varies up to hundred. The parade goes on until the end of the day.

Locals and foreign visitors enjoy the sight of the colorful papier-mâché figures and also the lifestyle of the Bagan locals. There are other entertainments such as Zat Pwe and Anyeint at the night time. Villagers near and far never miss this opportunity of participating the Manuha Festival.

  • Date:   During September
  • Location: Bagan
The pretty village girls dressed in their best parade with trays of fruit and cakes to offer at the pagoda.

The pretty village girls dressed in their best parade with trays of fruit and cakes to offer at the pagoda.

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