Myanmar is home to over 135 ethnic groups and 135 different cultures to experience when you visit to Myanmar, the Golden Land. Myanmar has at least one festival in every month in the calendar. This is the list of most famous festivals in Myanmar.
Ananda Pagoda Festival | Place: Ancient Bagan | Time: From Full Moon Day of Pyatho | Duration: 15 Days |
Anada Pagoda is one of the most famous pagodas in Bagan, built by Bagan’s second great King Kyansittha in the 11 century. The festival is normally held on first week of January and it is also the surviving masterpiece since Ancient Bagan time. There is a popular sales fair around the pagoda with many stalls selling the traditional local foods, products and souvenir. Highlight of the festival include 1000 of Buddhist monks chanting Buddhist scripts and received donation in line from the devotees. There is also a beautiful Myanmar traditional performance which the visitors can enjoy for the whole night.
Manaw Festival | Place: Myitkyina, Kachin State | Time: First week of January | Duration: 1 Day |
Kachin Manaw festival is a celebration for Kachin traditional New Year. It is held in the honour of spirits to make sure the good weather, victory in battles and reunion of the tribes. Various Kachin tribes join the dance by wearing their best traditional costumes around Manaw Poles which are decorated in colourful Kachin themes. This is the best time to observe how Kachin people enjoyed their life. Visitors who interested to join this festival are strongly recommended to contact us to confirm the dates of the festival.
Naga Festival | Place: Layshi, Sagaing | Time: Usually from 14th – 16th January | Duration: 3 Days |
This is the celebration of the Naga New Year and is normally will be held on 14 January. It is the social gathering for the Naga people from various Naga villages. After harvesting their crops, they celebrate their New Year for good harvest and food for the next year by singing and dancing. Naga people who come to this festival dressed in their exotic traditional costume in different styles. Everyone is welcome to join this festival and in the evening the visitors can try the traditional food and local rice wine with the elderly people.
Independence Day | Place: Countrywide | Time: 4th January | Duration: 1 Day |
This is the nation-wide event which falls on 4th of January every year to celebrate the country’s independence acquired in 1948 from British Colony. Almost every shops, supermarkets, and offices are closed on this day. Many sports and competitions are held to celebrate at every corner of Myanmar.
Htamane Festival | Place: Countrywide | Time: Full moon day of Tabodwe | Duration: 1 Day |
Htamane festival is held throughout the whole country usually in the mid-week of February. People make glutinous rice with peanuts and sesame seeds and offer to the Buddha, monks and then to everyone. Guests can enjoy the competition of making Htamane in group teamwork. Winning teams are awarded and after the ritual, Htamane (glutinous rice) will be distributed to everyone.
Mahamuni Pagoda Festival | Place: Mandalay | Time: 14th - 15th of Tabodwe | Duration: 2 Days |
Mahamuni Pagoda, located in Mandalay Division, was built by the King Bodawpaya in 1784 and is also one of the significant pagodas in Myanmar. The festival normally celebrates on 14th waxing moon day and 15th full moon day of Tabodwe. There is an exciting “Htamane” contests (one of the famous snack made by the glutinous rice with peanuts, gingers, sesame, and coconuts) will be held around the area of Pagoda. There are also so many small stalls selling the local products and some of the famous Myanmar traditional snacks.
Shwedagon Pagoda Festival | Place: Yangon | Time: Full moon day of Tabaung | Duration: 7 Days |
Shwedagon Pagoda festival normally celebrates on the full moon day of Tabaung and Shwedagon Pagoda is also the landmark of Myanmar, which was built almost 2005 years ago. During the festival, there are contests of woven saffron by traditional looms to offer Buddha statues at four corners of the pagoda. Local products and some other traditional snacks are sold along the side ways of the Pagoda. It is the best time to observe how religious Myanmar people are and how they participate in the religious activities.
Pindaya Cave Festival | Place: Pindaya | Time: 11th day to Tabaung Full Moon | Duration: 5 Days |
Pindaya cave festival normally celebrates around full moon day of Tabaung and this beautiful cave comes alive with many ethnics in the area such as Shan, Pa O, Palaung, Taung Yoe, Danu and Innthar during the period. Traditional food stalls and local small shops can be found under the giant banyan trees at the base of the cave.
Kakku Pagoda Festival | Place: Kakku, Near Taunggyi | Time: 14th day of Tabaung | Duration: 3 Days |
The pagoda is located in a large area near Hopon with more than 3,000 temples and pagodas. On full moon day, local tribes attend the festival with their beautiful traditional dress to show reverence. It is also the time for local people to meet their friends, exchange news and trade. During the festival, visitors can enjoy traditional songs and dance performance of Pa O tribes with their pure lifestyle.
Thingyan Water Festival | Place: Countrywide | Time: 13th – 17th of April | Duration: 5 Days |
Water festival is the most blissful festival which is celebrated by the people around Myanmar regardless of sex, age and gender. This is usually celebrated several days, from 13 April to 16 April. It is believed that water festival washes away all the sins and brings a healthier life in the New Year. After playing water and having fun throughout the four days, people will go to the pagodas and monasteries on the 17, Myanmar lunar New Year. Some offers free foods and drinks and some make other donations to the orphanage or elderly people.
Sea Gipsy (Salone) Festival | Place: Myeik | Time: After Thingyan | Duration: 15 Days |
Salone people are the ethnic minority group of people living around the area of Myeik Archipelago of the southern Myanmar. They earned their living by fishing and diving. This is the celebration of the local people who prays for a good fishing season. They have unbeatable skills of fishing, diving and pearl firming.
Kason Watering Festival | Place: Countrywide | Time: Full Moon day of Kason | Duration: 1 Day |
Almost all the pagodas celebrate this festival throughout the country wide on the full moon day of the month of Kasone. Both men and women of all ages go to different local pagodas and pour water on the Bodhi tree to commemorate the birth of Buddha, the day the Buddha’s attained enlightenment and the day he died.
Shite Thaung Pagoda Festival | Place: Rakhine State | Time: From Full Moon day of Kason | Duration: 8 Days |
The name means the temple of 80,000 Buddha Images and is also known as the ‘Temple of Victory’. This is a famous pagoda in Rakhine State and during the festival, festivities as boat races, traditional wrestling (Kyin Pwel) and water splashing activities are held.
Pariyatti Examination | Place: Yangon & Mandalay | Time: During Nayone | Duration: 15 Days |
The Buddhist examinations are held during the month of Nayone (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. The examinees who passed the examination are eligible to the next level of Buddhism literature. The Pariyatti Exam is not only great chance for novices and monks but also preserve for Buddhism.
Chin Lone Festival | Place: Mandalay | Time: After Full Moon Day of Waso | Durations: 48 Days |
Chin Lone, also known as Cane Ball, is one of the traditional sports in Myanmar. The festival is held at Mahamuni Buddha Image in Mandalay annually since 1926. Thousands of people and teams travelled across from all over of the country to visit the pagoda and convene in honour of the game. During the festival, the teams perform with melodies of traditional orchestra of Myanmar.
Waso Full Moon Day |Place: Countrywide | Time: Full Moon Day of Waso | Duration: 15 Days |
The full moon day of Waso commemorate the time that Buddha gave his first Sermon to five disciples and is also the beginning of the Buddhist Lent that last for three months which is from July to October. During the time, people offer robes to the monastery for monks to use during Waso period. Marriages are prohibited during this period for most religious Buddhist.
Taung Pyone (or) Spirit Festival | Place: Mandalay Region | Time: 8th of Wagaung | Duration: 8 days |
Spirit, also known as Nat in Burmese, is traditional festival and it is held in Taung Pyone village, which is about nine miles from Mandalay. The festival is celebrated to honour the Taung Pyone Brother Lords by offering wine, baked rabbit and fried chicken. It is one of the popular festivals in the upper Myanmar who believes in those spirits and normally will be held in August.
Yadana Gu Nat Festival | Place: Amarapura, Mandalay | Time: 1st of Wagaung | Duration: 8 days |
This festival is to honor the spirit of the mother of Taung Pyone Brothers, Mae Wunna, also known as Popa medaw (The saviour spirit of Mt. Popa). During the festivals, ritual dances and songs accompanied by a traditional Burmese orchestra are performed by the spirit mediums.
Phaung Daw Oo Festival | Place: Inle, Shan State | Time: 1st of Thindingyut | Duration: 18 days |
Phaung Daw Oo festival is a religious festival which is held on September or early October in popular tourist destination, Inle lake. The four Buddha images out of five from Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda are conveyed from village to villages for people to pay homage. There is the unique leg-rowing boat race which is the most interesting event during the festival.
Manuha Pagoda Festival | Place: Bagan | Time: 1 Day before Full Moon day of Tawthalin | Duration: 2 days |
This is the festival which shows the lifestyle of the Bagan locals. During the festival, the parade of colourful paper figures such as the king, tigers and elephants which are carried by young men roam around the city. Traditional rice cakes, fruits and foods are served to all comers from near and far. On the full moon day, monks from many monasteries around the region gather and offer rice to the Pagoda in the morning. There will be also foods stalls and small shops which offer their profits to the Pagoda.
Thidingyut Lighting Festival | Place: Countrywide | Time: 1 Day prior Full Moon Day of Thindingyut | Duration: 3 Days |
This festival is to commemorate the event when Buddha’s return from the celestial abode where he had spent the lent teaching the celestials about his laws. Thidingyut festival is the end of the Buddhist Lent and held before and on the full moon day of Thidingyut, which will be in October. During the festive season, people decorate their streets and houses with colourful candles and lights. Young people will go around and pay homage to their parents, elders, superiors, and teachers. In many other places and pagodas around Myanmar, there will be bazaars and entertainment just to celebrate Thidingyut festival of lights.
Elephant Dance Festival | Place: Kyaukse | Time: Full Moon Day of Thindingyut | Duration: 2 Days |
The elephant dance festival normally held on the full moon day of Thadingyut in Kyauk Se, which is only 1 hour drive from Mandalay. This is the festival which the visitors will not experience in other part of the country. The visitors will see numerous elephants made from bamboo, coloured fabric and controlled by two people which are going to participate in the contest. The best dancer will be judged not only by the dancing technique but also by the design of the elephants.
Robes weaving Contest | Place: Major Pagodas in Yangon | Time: Evening before Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone | Duration: The whole night |
Robes weaving contest normally held one day ahead of the full moon day of Tazaungmone. This contest is only for women and most religious women participate in this contest. The participant must weave the robe all night from the sunset till dawn. The first finished robe “Ma tho thin gan” will be offered to the Buddha and only the major pagodas celebrate this contest.
Kahtein Thingan Offering | Place: Countrywide | Time: Full Moon Day of Tazungmone | Duration: 1 Day |
Kahtein Festival is held annually and during the season, people offer robes offering and donations to the monasteries by decorating on Kahtein tree(Padaytharpin). People parade with the Kahtein trees along with traditional dances and music in most part of Myanmar.
Hot-air balloon Festival | Place: Taunggyi | Time: 5 Days before Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone | Duration: 3 Days |
This is one of the most spectacular events of Myanmar also known as Tazaungdine Lighting Festival. The Hot air Balloons festival held in Taunggyi, Shan state in the month of November annually and thousands of locals and tourists visit Taunggyi to enjoy this balloon launching competition during festival. There is the competition of large hot air balloons which are various shapes such as dragons, ducks, elephants attached with small lanterns which are multicolour on the surface of the balloons and fireworks. There are also shops, food stalls, parties, shows and arcades in the festive area.
Fire-pole Festival | Place: Kalaw | Time: Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone | Durations: 2 Days |
Right after hot-air balloon festival in Taunggyi, Kalaw hosts the colourful festival named Mee Shaw Dine Festival (Fire-pole festival) which is 3 hours’ drive away. During the festival, each and every neighbourhood of Kalaw town team-up and parade, bringing their fire-pole to the field where festival is held. Thousands of fireworks are set on the fire-pole and the competition is based on the structural designs and colourful fireworks on the pole.
Golden Rock Pagoda Festival | Place: Kyaik Hto, Mon State | Time: 31st December | Duration: 1 Day |
Golden Rock pagoda, also known as Kyaikhteeyoe pagoda, festival held on the platform of the pagoda in Mon state. On the day of the New Year eve, religious Buddhists ritually lit 9000 candles around the pagoda. Both international and local travellers can join this event and it’s one of the popular tourist attractions in Myanmar.
Popa Guardian Spirit Festival | Place: Mt. Popa | Time: Full Moon Day of Nadaw | Duration 6 Days |
This festival is to honour the two spirit figures on either side of the Tharaba Gate at Bagan, who are brothers and sisters, also known as the protectors of ancient Bagan Kingdom. During the festival, people who believes in Nat (Spirit) gather and held the rituals shows along with dances and songs perform by the spirit mediums (Nat Wun Thel).