Festival

January (Nadaw/Pyartho)

It is the 10th Myanmar month in the middle of the cool season (December-January).In ancient times it was the month for the equestrian festival held for virtually the whole month, as it involved competitions in horsemanship, bowmanship, lancing and sword fighting, shooting and martial arts.It was in effect an occasion to select heroes.It was found to have begun in 674 ME under the reign of Pinya Thihathu but researchers in Bodaw Paya's reign held that it began in the reign of King Nyaungyan in Inn-wa Period.

Regional Festival of the month Kachin Manaw
» Festival (Kachin)
» Ananda Pagoda Festival (Bagan)
» Naga New Year (Sagaing)

February (Pyartho/Dabodwei

Tabodwe is the 11th Myanmar month, very cool, in January and February. It is the time for seasonal festival of making Htamanei, a food preparation of glutinous rice, oil fried coconut flakes and other condiments. It is prepared in huge pans by young stalwarts in the community under the guidance of master chefs in communal activity. It was found to have started in the latter part of Nyaung-Yan (second Inn-wa Period). It is still in vogue at this time of the year today. Often there are competitions in making Htamanei within communities. Another less known festival in Tabodwe is called Mee-pone-pwe to mark the offering of fire for warmth in the extreme cold. It was known to have started in Bagan Period. It is on the wane now, except in some rural areas.

Regional Festival of the Month
» Htamane Festival (Countrywide)
» Mahamuni Pagoda Festival (Mandalay)
» Salone Festival (Tanintharyi Division)

March (Dabodwei/Tabaung)

It is the 12th Myanmar month, falling in February March. In ancient days it was a time for what was known as festivals of sand pagodas, in which people built sand pagodas on the sandbanks and hold festivities on the occasion. Now the prac­tice is on the wane, except in some cities and towns in upper part of the country, but the time is still held sacred for holding of Buddha Pujayanti ceremonies, that is, occasions for rededi-cation of the pagodas.

Regional Festival of the Month
»Shwe Dagon Pagoda (Yangon)
» Kakku Pagoda Festival (Inle)
» Shwe Umin Pagoda Festival (Shan State)

April (Tabaung/Tagu)

Tagu is the first month of the Myanmar calendar. It falls in March and April on the Gregorian calendar. Myanmar new year festival is Thingyan Festival. It is held in the month of Tagu every year. That has been the tradition since Tagaung Period and it became prominent in Bagan Period.Water is a symbol of coolness, clearness and cleansing of dirt and grime. The festival of Thingyan that is made most merry and enjoyable with pouring or throwing water on one another is taken as one that cleanses one and all of all dirt and grime of the old year and cools and clears the minds of the people for the new year.Merry-making at Thingyan festival is intermingled with noble and pure activities of doing meritorious religious deeds in accord with the teachings of Buddha Dhamma.

Regional Festival of the Month
» Mann Shwesettaw Festival
» Thingyan Water Festival (Countrywide)
» Thanakha Grinding Festival (Rakhine)
» Full Moon Day of Tagu (Countrywide)
» Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda Festival (Bago)
» Myanmar New Year Festival (Countrywide)

May(Tagu/Kason)

Kason is the second Myanmar month and comes in April-May. It is a sacred month for MyanmarBuddhists.The full-moon day of Kason was the day hermit Sumeda heard from Dipankara Buddha that he would one day be a Lord Buddha, the day embryo-Gautama Buddha was born, the day he saw Four Noble Truths; the day Maha Bodhi Tree grew for him and the day of his Pari-Nibbana.So this day is commemorated by Myanmar Buddhists as Buddha Day. The main activity on this festival day is pouring water at the 'bo' (Bodhi Nyaung) tree.From days of yore to this day, bo tree watering ceremo­nies are held at numerous pagodas in the country on this day.It is one of the traditional cultural festivals of Myanmar people.

Regional Festival of the Month
» Full Moon Day of Kason (or) Bo Tree Watering
Festival (Countrywide)

June (Kason/Nayon)

Nayon is the third month on Myanmar calendar, in the hot season, and falls in May-June.In the second Innwa Period, under the reign of King Thalun, in the year 1000 began the practice of holding exami­nations in religious scriptures in Nayon with aims at propaga­tion of Pariyatti Sasana.It was followed by the holding of novitiation and ordination ceremonies in the next month of Waso.Nowadays, Pahtamabyan examinations, Dhammacariya Examinations, Tipitaka Dhara Selection Examinations, Abhidhamma and Vissudhi Magga Examinations were held every year with presentation of prizes and certificates, for the flourishing of the Sasana.Moreover, in this month of Nayon, what is called Maha Samaya Day was observed in commemoration of Lord Buddha's preaching of Maha Samaya Sutta to celestial beings from ten thousand solar systems.

Regional Festival of the Month
» Pariyatti Sasana Examination

July (Nayon/Waso)

Waso is the fourth Myanmar month. It is part summer and part monsoon. It falls in June and July.The full-moon day of Waso is significant as the day the embryo-Buddha was conceived, the day He preached the first sermon of Dhamma Cakka, the day He performed the miracles. The day also marks the beginning of the Buddhist Lent of three months when members of the Sangha go into the rains retreat.It is a time of ordination and novitiation into the religi­ous order, with these events held since the days of ancient Myanmar monarchs for the flourishing of the Sasana.There is also a practice of young men and women going on outings of gathering flowers to be offered at Buddha images.A significant practice of Waso is the offering of monk's robes to members of the Sangha for use during the Lent and so these robes are called Waso robes. Likewise there are also big candles called Waso candles offered at this time of the year. Among lay people it is also a time to offer elders cakes, fruits and other offertories.

Regional Festival of the Month
» Full Moon Day of Waso

August (Waso/ Wakhaung)

It is the fifth Myanmar month. It is in July-August, the rainy season, when rivers are in spate. In the time of Buddha, when the Lord was staying at Weiuwun Monastery in Yazagyo, some disciples supplicated to him the matter of individual disciples having some difficulty to donate meals and alms for all the Sangha at the monastery at the same time, whereupon Buddha laid down a way of disciples drawing lots to determine which monk to offer meals and alms. Thus began the practice at this time of the year to hold lot-drawing offerings of meals and alms to the Sangha, although the exact time for such offerings is not definitely prescribed.In ancient times, this month was also time for the festival of propitiation to the two nats of Taungbyone. This nat festival has been in vogue since Bagan times to the present day.This is also the time for holding of boat races in olden days.

Regional Festival of the Month
» Taungpyone Festival

September (Wakhaung/Tawthalin)

Tawthalin is the sixth month on Myanmar calendar. (August-September). It is a hot month, hot enough to kill small prawns.The surfaces of water are like mats, free of waves. So it has been a tradition to hold regatta festivals since the times of ancient Myanmar kings.It was graced by the king himself aboard golden Pyigyimon Barge, adorned by figures of fifty kings on each side, as a symbol of a hundred kings owing allegiance to the monarch.It was not just pageantry but an occasion for demon­strating the naval prowess of the Tatmadaw of ancient Myanmar kings.The tradition was nearly dying out until the govern­ment revived it with traditional regatta festivals held on Kandawgyi Lake.

Regional Festival of the Month
» Phaungdawoo Pagoda Festival

October (Tawthalin/Tadingyut)

Thadingyut is the seventh Myanmar month (in Septem­ber-October) towards the end of the rainy season.Lord Gautama Buddha preached The Abhidhamma to Maidawmi Nat (reincarnate of His Mother) in Tavatimsa Abode of celestial beings for three Lenten months and returned to the abode of men on the full-moon day of Thadingyut. The King of Celestials cerated gold, silver, ruby stairways for him. Buddha took the middle ruby one radiating six hues of aura. The nats came along by the right gold stairways and the brahmas by the left silver stairways.On account of that, Myanmar Buddhists celebrate the full-moon day with multi-coloured illuminations. It is also called Tavatimsa Festival after the Tavatimsa Abode of the nats and the Myinmo Lights Festival after the Mount Myinmo there.For the Sangha it is the time for what is known as Pawayana, which means inviting, entreating, urging. In practice since the times of Buddha, it is to beg on another for forgiveness of any action that might have displeased any other among Sangha. There is also the practice among laity of paying obeisance to parents and elders.

Regional Festival of the Month
» Full Moon Day of Thadingyut
» Dancing Elephant Festival (Kyaukse)
» Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival (Mon State)

November (Tadingyut/Tazaunmone)

It is the eighth Myanmar month (in October November) time for Kathina, Matho Thingan offering, Pantthagu offering, lotus robe offering, lighting and Shin Malai festivals.Kathina monk's robes are offered at this particular time of the year. It is held mostly communally. Matho thingan meaning non-stale monk's's robes are ones made overnight and offered before dawn. Pantthagu offering means leaving offer­tories at any public place for anyone's taking. Lotus robes mean those with golden lotus designs offered to Buddha or at pagodas. Tazaungmon is for another lighting festival, taken to be astrologically most opportune. Shin Malai festival originated in Shin Malai's preaching of Wesandara Jataka on the full-moon day. It is marked by making floats in the shape of barges, putting on it a thousand fruits, a thousand flowers, a thousand lumps of rice and a thousand lights to go round before offering at pagodas. It is also called the barge festival or thousand-ful festival. It has been on the wane. There is also a practice of eating salads of mezali leaves with belief that it is medicinal particularly at this time of the year.

Regional Festival of the Month
» Matho Thingan (Yangon)
» Hot-air balloon Festival (Shan State)
» Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone

December (Tazaunmone/Nadaw)

It is the ninth Myanmar month at the onset of the cool season, with misty mornings in November December. In ancient days the seasonal festival was for propitiation to nats, till it waned.The 1300s saw the coming into vogue of a celebration in honour of the literati (Sarsodaw) at this time of the years.It might perhaps have some connection with the day dedicated to writer, poet and playwright U Ponnya after Konbaung Period.The first reconded celebration dedicated to the literati was found in 1944.In the present day, it is time for presentation of National Literary Awards by the State.