Myanmar Festival Calendar 2018

Below you will find a list of the biggest local and nationwide festivals in Myanmar in 2018; note that this is not a full list of all festivals, as there are too many around the country to include all of them here. For more background, go to festivals, music and entertainment.

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Bo Bo Gyi Nat Festival

Date:
17 September 2018 to 29 September 2018
Location:
Description:

Bo Bo Gyi was a highly respected alchemist who is now revered as a nat, or a Burmese spirit. On the eve of the ceremony, pilgrims throw small packets of tea leaves at one another; if you are hit by a tea packet, you must visit again the following year to pay respects.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

Date:
10 October 2018 to 27 October 2018
Location:
Description:

The biggest yearly gathering in Shan State, the Phaung Daw Oo festival takes place over two weeks, during which a golden barge holding four Buddha images is pulled by hundreds of leg-rowers around Inle Lake, visiting every village on the water. There are martial arts and rowing competitions, and plenty of music and dancing.

Kyauktawgyi Pagoda Festival

Date:
17 October 2018 to 24 October 2018
Location:
Description:

Mandalay is the biggest Buddhist religious centre in Myanmar and this week-long festival at the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda is one of the most important and popular local festivals of the religious calendar.

Thadingyut Festival of Lights

Date:
23 October 2018 to 26 October 2018
Location:

Nationwide

Description:

This festival is held at the end of Buddhist Lent to commemorate the Buddha returning to earth; as this happened at night, people around the country decorate their houses with coloured lanterns.

Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival

Date:
23 October 2018 to 25 October 2018
Location:

Kyaukse, near Mandalay

Description:

Paying homage to the Shwe Tha Lyaung Pagoda in Kyaukse, men dance in large and colourful elephant figures made from paper and bamboo. 

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda Festival

Date:
24 October 2018
Location:
Description:

Held at Mount Kyaiktiyo, one of Myanmar’s holiest sites, during the Thadingyut Festival of Lights, this festival involves an evening of pilgrims lighting 9,000 candles and flower offerings to the Buddha. The following morning, there is a food offering.

Indein Pagoda Festival

Date:
31 October 2018
Location:
Description:

One of the most popular pagoda festivals in the Inle Lake area, this takes place at the village of Indein to the south west of the lake.

Kaunghmudaw Pagoda Festival

Date:
15 November 2018 to 24 November 2018
Location:
Description:

This five day festival is centered on one of the most venerated sites central Myanmar, the Kaunghmudaw Pagoda. Monks perform rituals, there are Yokhte (marionette) performances and farmers gather from the surrounding area to sell their produce.

Taunggyi Fire Balloon Festival

Date:
17 November 2018 to 22 November 2018
Location:
Description:

This huge festival takes place in the capital of Shan State and celebrates the Full Moon of Tazaungmon with a dazzling array balloons and fireworks – to find out more, read our ‘Fire in the sky’ blog and take a look at our YouTube video from the evening festivities.

Shwezigon Pagoda Festival

Date:
19 November 2018 to 30 November 2018
Location:
Description:

This festival is one of Bagan’s biggest yearly events and its centrepiece is the alms-giving ceremony to many hundreds of monks who gather at the Shwezigon Pagoda from the monasteries in the surrounding area. It also features theatre shows and traditional dancing.

Pyin Oo Lwin balloon festival

Date:
20 November 2018 to 22 November 2018
Location:
Description:

Similar to the Taunggyi Balloon Festival but smaller in scale, this event remains great fun and isn’t as hectic and crowded as its big brother. It also offers balloon competitions through the day and evening.

Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights

Date:
21 November 2018
Location:
Description:

This festival predates the introduction of Buddhism to Myanmar, marking the end of the monsoon and the end of the Kathina season, when monks are offered alms and new robes.

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