Manaw Festival

Period: Early January, Location: Myitkyina, Kachin State

Kachin state is the northernmost state in Myanmar. The largest festival is known as Manaw. it is when Kachin people gather to celebrate the new year and is held in January. Traditional costumes are worn and thousands turn out for the festivities.It is a very colourful occasion.

The traditional Manaw totem poles are decorated in colourful Kachin motifs and are centered in the middle of the festival ground. The main feature of the festival is the dancing that takes place around the erected Manaw poles.

Naga Festival

Period: Middle of January, Location: Naga Land

Nagaland is situated in the remote northwestern hills of Myanmar. More than 85% of the population of Nagaland are directly dependent on agriculture. After harvesting their crops, the Naga celebrate with a festival to welcome the new season. This festival is a social-clan gathering amongst the Naga tribes. It is a very colourful and festive gathering which takes place during the second week of January.

The festival takes place in a different village each year. The dances depict the history of the Naga people

Shwesettaw Pagoda Festival

Period: 5th waxing to full moon of Tabodwe (February), Location: Shwesettaw Pagoda, Minbu, Magwe Division

This pagoda lies at the base of Yakhine Yoma ranges and Man Chaung (stream) and is famous for having a footprint of the Buddha. on the main festival day. The sandy bank is decorated with bamboo camps and shops which sell local products. local people arrive in their native dress and much feasting takes place.

Mahamuni Pagoda Festival

Period: 14th waxing to full moon of Tabodwe (February), Location: Mandalay

The pagoda festival is celebrated on 14th waxing moon day and 15th full moon day of Tabodwe in Mandalay. This takes place in February which is the coldest month in Myanmar and during the festival, devotees light bonfires and cook huge pans of htamane (a concoction of ginger, coconut, sesame and glutinous rice) which are then offered to the monks at the maha muni pagoda.

Kakku Pagoda Festival

Period: 14th waxing to full moon of Tabaung (March), Location: Kakku Pagoda, Shan State

Located in the Shan State, about 33 miles from Taunggyi, Kakku is a hidden treasure. There is a magnificent cluster of over 2000 stupas packed closely together in the middle of which is the main stupa. Most of the stupas are in excellent condition. the pagoda festival is held annually in march, on the the full moon day of tabaung. kakku has been the centre of the worship for the Pa-Oh people. During the festival, the Pa-Oh tribes come to pay homage to the pagoda in their national dress.

Pindaya Pagoda Festival

Period: 11th waxing to Full moon Day of Tabaung( March), Location: Pindaya Cave, Pindaya, Shan State

Pindaya shwe oo min cave pagoda festival is held in Tabaung, the last month of Myanmar calendar which falls during the month of march of the gregorian calendar. It starts seven days before the full moon day. During the festival , thousands of devotees come from villages around the area to worship in the cave. A large temporary village grows at the foot of the hill amongst the large banyan trees where locals gather to feast and meet their kin.

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival

Period: Full moon day of Tabaung (March), Location: Yangon

Shwedagon pagoda, arguably one of the wonders of the world, is a must-see for any visitor to Myanmar. The pagoda festival is held on the full moon day of Tabaung which falls in March. Most spectacular is when over 100000 candles are lit in the early evening. It is also when the pagoda grounds are filled with locals paying homage. It is a wonderful to observe and take in the surroundings..

Thingyan New Year Festival or Water Festival

Period: Mid of April according to Myanmar lunar calendar, Location: Nation wide

“Thingyan” means “transition” or “change over”. Thingyan or Water Festival is held in Tagu, the first month of the Myanmar Calendar which falls in April. The festival is held with great gaiety and is the largest most celebrated in Myanmar and festivities take place throughout the country. It is a festive occasion during which people throw water at one another believing that Thingyan water eradicates the bad deeds of the previous year and brings good luck for new year. During the festival, Myanmar people, young and old, indulge with street parties which occur everywhere. Thingyan falls during the last four days before the Myanmar New Year. This is usually in second week of April.

Nyaung Yay Thun Festival or Festival of Water Pouring on the Bo Tree

Period: Full moon Day of Kason (APRIL or MAY), Location: Nation wide

On the sacred Buddha Day - full moon day of Kason – one of the major Buddhist ceremonies takes place. It is celebrated with a water pouring ceremony by a Bodhi tree (ficus religiosa) otherwise known as the sacred Banyan tree, at the foot of which Gotoma Buddha attained enlightenment. The ceremony has been taking place for centuries and is seen as preventing the Bodhi tree dying from drought during the hot season.

Waso Festival or Dhamasetkya Day or The first day of Buddhist Lent

Period: Full moon day of Waso (JUNE or JULY), Location: Nation wide

Full moon day of Waso is one of the sacred days in the Buddhist calendar which is also the first day of Buddhist Lent. Buddhists all over the country celebrate Waso festival on full moon day of Waso by offering Waso robes and monastic offerings to monks to be used within the three months of Buddhist Lent.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

Period: 1st Waxing to 3rd Waning of Thadingyut – 18 Days Festival (September and/ or October), Location: Inle Lake, Shan State

The Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda festival lasts for eighteen days It features a colorful and magnificent procession of four out of five gilded Buddha images from Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. Those Buddha images were believed to be left there by King Alaung Si Thu of Bagan Dynasty. Annually, the grand scale procession starts from Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda with the carrying of four Buddha images on the decorated royal barge towed by leg-rowing boats and followed by hundreds of boats which move around fourteen villages on the lake. Well wishers and villagers offer donations and pay homage to the Buddha images. Leg-rowing boat races are one of the significant events to see during the festival as well as visiting the cultural shows and fun fairs.

Thadingyut Light Festival or The Festival of Lights

Period: 14th Waxing Day to 1st Waning Day of Thadingyut (October), Location: Nation wide

This festival is to mark the day that Buddhists welcome Buddha back from the realm of Celestial being after spending the three month long Lent with his 500 disciples. Buddha's return is remembered and commemorated throughout the country with coloruful illuminations and the lighting of candles. Full moon day of Thadingyut(October) marks the end of the Buddhist Lent. It is also a time when Buddhists also go around and pay homage to their elders who in return give blessings and pocket money.

Hot Air Balloon Festival (Taunggyi)

Period: 10th waxing to full moon day of Tazamone (November), Location: Taunggyi, Shan State

Taunggyi is the capital of Southern Shan State. It is here than an annual hot-air balloon festival is annually held .During the festival, there are many competitions for hot-air balloons which are released both during the day and night. Prizes are decided on attractiveness and height attained. During the day, animal figures are flown, and at night, there are fireworks and bamboo and gunpowder rockets launched. At night time, illuminated balloons are sent up into the skies. The balloons are beautifully decorated and make a spectacular sight for visitors.

Tazaungdine Festival and robe weaving ceremony

Period: Full moon day of Tazaungmone (November), Location: Nation wide

Myanmar people celebrate this festival one month after the light festival. One of the major events is the overnight robe weaving competition with the finished products being offered at dawn to Buddha images. Such robes are called “Matho-thingan” meaning non-stale or fresh robe as those are done overnight before dawn. People believe that the full moon night of Tazaungmone is an auspicious time when Mezali flower-buds obtain medicinal qualities. So Mezali salad is a must supper for everyone on that night. Another important event is Kathein Pwe, which is when offerings of robes, food stuffs and gifts are made to monks at the local monastery