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.
Ananda Pagoda is one of the most famous pagodas in Bagan. The Great Ananda Pagoda festival is said to have been going on continuously since the Bagan period. This pagoda festival is not only to worship the pagoda, Buddha, but also for shopping after the harvest time. There are different kinds of stalls and sell everything especially the products from the other regions of the country. Villagers bring their essential things and come by bullock cart and make themselves at home around the temple. Ananda pagoda festival takes place a few days before the full moon day of Pyatho, usually falls in January or early February depending on the Lunar Calendar.
The Kyaik Khauk Pagoda is located across the Bago River from Yangon. The Festival held each year around the full moon day of Tabodwe. Kyaik Khauk features like most major festival. Local villagers often travel to the festival by bullock cart, camping on the Pagoda platform.
Shan, Pa O, Palaung, TaungYoe, Intha, Danu groups residing around Pindaya come and camp under the huge banyan trees to take part in the festival. The Pindaya Cave houses hundreds of Buddha Images, old and some new. During the festival time, thousands of devotees come from villages around the area to the cave. It is a joyous scene, people coming in groups by car, some coming in a huge line of traditional bullock-carts. The tribals circle the ox-carts, and in the middle, people do their cooking and rest for the night during the festival.
Thingyan (The Water Festival) is the most interesting and greatest 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 pavilions. Pouring water signifies cleansing the body and mind of evils of the past year. During these auspicious days, Myanmar people perform a lot of meritorious deeds to usher in the New Year such as keeping Sabbath, going to pagodas and monasteries, offering food and alms to monks, paying respect to parents, teachers and elders, setting free fish and cattle and so on. Thingyan is a distinctive festival which is always awaited with great joy and excitement by Myanmar people every year.
This ritual commemorates the date 2500 years ago when the Buddha gained enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree. Pilgrims pour water on the Bodhi trees in pagoda compounds to keep them fresh in the summer heat of May.
The religious (Buddhist) examinations are usually held during the month of Na Yone (June) in Countrywide. 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 for and wide all over the country.
The Waso festival is annually held on the full moon of Waso throughout the country. The festival commemorates the time when the Buddha gave his first sermon, to five monks. 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. Monks are confined to the monastery by Buddhist code of conduct during the 3-month long Buddhist lent.
Taung Pyone is the site where two brothers serving a king of Bagan in the 11th century were executed. They became powerful spirits or Nats. This festival in their honor is attended by tens of thousands of mediums and worshippers. During the festival, toddy palm wine, whisky, rum, grilled rabbit and fried chicken are offered to the two spirit brothers. Orchestras come to play for the mediums who dance to make the spirits 'Joyful'.
PhaungDawOo Pagoda is one of the famous principal pagodas which houses five Boddha images. This pagoda is the main attraction of Inlay Lake and is situated in the middle of the lake. Thousands of people from communitiesaroung 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.
This festival commemorates the time when the Buddha returned to earth after preaching in the abode of celestials during the three months of Lent. He descended at night and devotees greeted Him with lamps and lanterns. People decorate their houses with candles and coloured lanterns to symbolize this event. The festival of Light marks the end of Lent.
The most spectacular event of the year is the Hot Air Balloon Festival held every November in Taunggyi commonly called the TaunggyiTazaungdaing Festival. 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 colourfully illuminated with hot air balloons. Hot air balloons in the shape of elephant, ox, horse, water buffalo, bird, pig, fish, owl, and parrot are sent up into the sky.
On the platform of the Kyaikhtiyo ‘Golden Rock’ Pagoda, devotees light nine thousand lamps to welcome the New Year and to give thanks to Buddha’s peaceful Doctrine. The magical Golden Rock Pagoda, a golden spire, sits on the top of a huge boulder covered with gold leaf and perched on the edge of a cliff.
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