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Yangon event and festival

Yangon, Myanmar offers visitors a rich array of events and festivals throughout the year that highlight its unique cultural identity and history. HotelTravel.com highlights the key events and festivals in Yangon from month to month, providing visitors with a huge choice of possible choice to play that once in a lifetime holiday around. Each one brings to life why Yangon is so representative of people from Myanmar. Click the events and festival links below for further information.  

Hta-Mané Festival: celebrates the harvest, and is named after a traditional delicacy that is eaten during this time. Hta-mané is made by cooking a type of glutinous rice with coconut and ground nuts, and then mixing in garlic, ginger and sesame oil.


Chinese New Year: celebrations in Myanmar, as elsewhere in the world where this holiday is observed, are held for at least three consecutive days. In Myanmar, the largest celebrations are held in Yangon, accompanied by lion and dragon dances and the sounds of cymbals and drums.


Shwedagon Pagoda Festival: Yangon’s most notable temple, the Shwedagon Pagoda, holds its annual festival around the full-moon day of Tagaung. Numerous vendors set up stalls at the bottom of the hill, in front of the entrance to the temple, to sell foods and other locally-made products. Shows featuring traditional theatre, music and dance are staged by well-known troupes from around Myanmar.
Shinbyu Ceremony: this important event is held as new novitiates enter the monk-hood. Buddhist families traditionally send their sons to become monks for a short period, in the belief that the act brings merit to the parents as well as the sons. Novices’ heads are shaved, and they are dressed in robes and carried in a procession through the streets of the city.


Myanmar New Year’s Day: Buddhists spend this day performing deeds that will earn them merit, such as offering food to monks, paying respect to their elders and releasing animals into the wild. Numerous ceremonies and events are held as well.
Thingyan Festival: coincides with the beginning of the Myanmar New Year. Locals throw buckets of water at anyone passing by on the street. Later in the day, a procession is held in which residents, dancing drummers and cows in costume parade through Yangon’s streets.


Watering the Sacred Bo Tree Festival: this event occurs on the Kasone full-moon day, and commemorates the birthday of Lord Buddha. Water is poured onto the sacred Bo tree. It was under this type of tree that the young Prince Siddharta attained enlightenment, thereafter becoming the Buddha.


Nayone Festival: in helping monks and nuns prepare for scripture examinations, Buddhists offer amenities and comforts to candidates. Robes and food are provided to everyone coming into the city from outlying towns to sit these examinations.


Dhama Sakya Day: this day marks the first sermon delivered by the Lord Buddha to his disciples. Religious activities include sermons delivered by prominent monks and verses recited in the Pali language in praise of the Buddha. Meals are prepared and offered to the monks by the Buddhist faithful.


Performing Arts Competitions: the contests include participants from age five years and above in various performance events. Singing, dancing and playing musical instruments are highlights, but contests related to composing music are also part of the competition. Event classes include both amateur and professional, and the contests continue for 15 days.


Thadingyut Lights Festival: this three-day Festival of Lights signals the end of the Buddhist lent period. Buddhists throughout the city display lights in their homes to pay homage to the Lord Buddha. In addition, entertainment and shows are featured in many neighbourhoods, along with stalls offering games and foods.
Kyauk-taw-gyi Festival: alms bowls filled with vegetarian foods are floated on various waterways early in the morning on the festival day. Farmers in particular carry out this rite as a means of thanks for fine weather and a good harvest.

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Kahtein Thingan Weaving Festival: this event is held at a number of pagodas in Yangon, including the Shwedagon, Botataung and Kyaikkasan pagodas, and involves weaving competitions that continue throughout the night. Robes are woven from yellow thread, and the finished garments are given as offerings at dawn to the Buddha images that are found on-site.


Karen New Year: this national holiday is of particular important to the Karen people, and its celebration is accompanied by ethnic dancing and sporting activities such as traditional boxing matches. The boxing can be seen in the suburb of Innsein, in northwest Yangon, home to the capital’s largest Karen community.
Traditional Regatta: this major national event is held on Kandawgyi Lake, located to the east of the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. Festivities last for a week. Both the opening and closing ceremonies are spectacles that feature royal barges, war boats, oarsmen in traditional costumes and floating platforms that are decorated and carry local stage and screen stars.
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