Festivals can be found in Myanmar every nonth of the year. A few are celebrated nationwide – including Thingyan Water Festival, Myanmar New Year, Kason, Thadingyut Festival of Lights, Tazaungdine Festival of Lights, and Tabaung – but the vast majority are smaller pagoda festivals that are celebrated locally. Dates vary from year to year, because they are based on the lunar calendar rather than the solar calendar.
Water Festival (Thingyan)
Apr 13: 10th Waning day of Tagu, Throughout The Country
4-day festival ending April 16th
The festival is held on the eve of Myanmar New Year to cleanse the evil deeds of the previous year with water. Young people go out to enjoy themselves and elders take shelter in monasteries and pagoda precincts.
Kason Sacred Bo Tree Watering Ceremony (Nation Wide)
2nd May 2015: Full moon day of Kason, Nationwide
This festival is to commemorate the greatness of the Lord Buddha and his teachings. The activities of the festival include carrying the scented water pots, chanting Buddha’s Sutta in Pali and praising the Lord Buddha and pouring the water at the bottom of the Bo Tree.
Oct 27: 14th Waxing day of Thidingyut, Throughout The Country
3-day festival ending October 29th
To mark the day Lord Buddha came down from heaven after spending three months of the Buddhist lent there. Buddha’s return from heaven is welcomed throughout the country with colorful illumination offerings to the deities. People also enjoy displays and hoist balloons up to the sky.
Kachin Manao Festival
Around Jan 10
Manao Field, Myitkyina in Kachin State
Kachin Traditional Festival dedicated for praying for health and protection from harm.
14th Waxing day and 15thFullmoon day of Tabodwe, Mandalay
Glutinous rice delicacy contests are held late on 14th Waxing day. In the morning of 15th Waxing day, incense is burnt for Mahamuni Buddha image.
Kyaik Khauk Festival
Jan 27 – Feb 04
8th Waxing day of Tabodwe, Thanlyin in Yangon Division
9-days festival ending February 4th
Pindaya Cave Festival
Feb 28 – Mar 04
11th Waxing day of Tabaung, Pindaya, Shan State
5-day ceremony ending Mar 4th
Typical Taung-yo pagoda festival. Different ethnic minority races can be seen.
Feb 28 – Mar 04
11th Waxing day of Tabaung, Taunggyi, Shan State
5-days ceremony ending Mar 4th
Thousands of Shan style thin and slender pagodas are compactly built in geometrically pattern which turns the pagodas complex something extraordinary and unique. Thousand of local tribal people from the surrounding regions like Shan, Pa O, Palaung and Danu flock to this area to enjoy and take part in the annual pagoda festival.
Mar 27 – Apr 08
8th Waxing day of Tagu, Bago, Bago Division
13-day ceremony ending April 8th
The trial artists perform on stage with full force to show their competitive edge over their counterparts and to win future performance contracts.
Around Apr 11
8th Waning day of Tagu, Mount Popa, near Bagan
During Thingyan, pilgrims from all over the country travel to pay respect to Popa Nat shrines.
Thanakha Grinding Event
Around Apr 15
12th Waning day of Tagu, Sittwe, Rakhine State
Buddha images are cleansed with the aromatic thanakha water, prepared by local girls.
Animal Freeing Ceremony
Around Apr 19
2nd Waxing day of Kason, Kaba Aye Hillock in Yangon and elsewhere
A ceremony held by the Religious Department on Kaba Aye Hillock to give animals a sanctuary. All kinds of animals are set free. Similar ceremonies are held in other townships.
Around May 02
Fullmoon day of Kason, Mrauk U in Rakhine State
8-day ceremony ending May 2nd
Dummy boat races on land, real boat contests and water splashing in Mrauk U canal on the full moon day. Traditional wrestling at the foot of the pagoda; finals are held on the full moon day.
Taung Byone Ceremony
Around Aug 30
10th Waxing day of Wagaung, Taungbyone in Mandalay
6-days ceremony ending August 30th
Held to worship two Taungbyone spiritual figures. Major gathering spot for spirit mediums.
Manuha Pagoda Festival and Holyman Festival (Bodaw Gu Hutet Pwe)
Around Sep 28-29
Full moon day of Tawthalin (Manuha Pagoda Festival), Myinkaba Village, Bagan
1st Waning day of Tawthalin (Holyman Festival, called Bodaw Gu Hutet Paw), Popa, near Bagan
Usually Manuha Pagoda Festival is celebrated on 28th September and Holy man Festival is celebrated on 29th September. Many faithful from Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan visit both festivals during this period.
Kyauk Taw Gyi Festival
Around Oct 27-30
14th Waxing day of Thidingyut, Mandalay
4-day festival ending October 30th
The Kyauk Taw Gyi image was carved out of a single piece of alabaster in 1864, under the guidance of King Mindon. People come to make offerings. In the evening a traditional Pwe (Myanmar Theater) can be seen at the fairground in front of the pagoda.
Phaung Daw U Pagoda Festival
Around Oct 14 – 31
1st Waxing day of Thidingyut, Inle Lake, Shan State
18 day Festival ending October 27th
Four Buddha statues are ceremoniously transported clockwise around Inle lake on the royal barge, one leg-rowed boat races are held throughout the event.
Most interesting dates: 20th Oct, 28th Oct, 30th Oct and 31st Oct
Kyaiktiyo Season (Golden Rock)
Around Oct 28
Fullmoon day of Thidingyut, Kyaikhto in Mon State
Famous as pilgrimage and holiday outing spot for Myanmar people. The official visiting season begins on this day.
Balloon Flying Festival
Around Nov 21 – 26
10th Waxing day of Tazaungmon, Taunggyi, Shan State
6-day festival ending November 26th
During this typical ‘Pa-O’ festival, hot air balloons are released in the sky day and night.
Most interesting dates: Nov 25, 26
Kaung Hmu Daw Festival
Around Nov 21-26
Full moon day of Tazaungmon, Sagaing
6-day festival ending November 26th
This is mainly a festival for local people from the surrounding areas. A variety of merchandise is brought on the bullock carts to the festival.
Robe Weaving Contest
Around Nov 25
14th Waxing Day of Tazaungmon, Shwedagon Pagoda, Botataung, Kyaikkasan and elsewhere
On the 14th Waxing day of Tazaunmon, groups of young women take part in competitions held on the platforms of the pagodas. Robes have to be finished flawlessly overnight and offered at dawn to the images of Lord Buddha around the Pagodas.
Around Nov 26
Full moon day of Tazaungmon, Bagan
8-day festival ending December 3rd
Candles and fireworks are carried in procession before offering to the pagoda on the Full Moon Day (15th Waxing day). Alms bowls are offered to monks, as they do at Ananda festival on full moon day. In front of the pagoda there is a fairground with market stalls and restaurants.
Moe Byae Festival
Around Feb 01 – 03
Fullmoon day of Pyatho, Moe Byae, Shan State
3-days festival ending Feb 3rd
Traditional crossbow contest is the main highlight.
Ananda Temple Festival
Around Feb 03
Fullmoon day of Pyatho, Ananda Temple, Bagan
15-day festival ending Feb 17th
On full moon day of Pyatho, Alms-bowls filled with crops are offered to monks who all wait in a long line. Pilgrimage and holiday outings on country bullock carts can be seen. In front of the pagoda there is a fairground with market stalls and restaurants.
Most interesting dates: February 03
All dates are subject to changes without prior notice. Festivals are held throughout the country during the entire year. Contact Expeditions Myanmar for further information.