Myanmar Festivals and Events

The Myanmar calendar subscribes to both the solar and lunar months, thus requiring an intercalary 30-day 13th month every second or third year. Therefore, the full moon days may change from one month to another in the usual calendar. The Myanmar months and the respective festivals are as follows.


Independence Day
When: 4th January
Place: All over the country
To commemorate the Independence in 1948

Kachin Manaw Festival
When: 10th January
Place: Myitkyina, Kachin State
The Manaw festival is the celebration of the New Year, victory in battles, reunion of the Kachin tribes etc.

Kayin (Karen) New Year
When: 1st day of the month of Pyatho (last week of December or first week of January)
Place: Across Kayin State, in Yangon and at townships where Kayin are the majority.

Naga New Year
When: 14th – 16th January
Place: In the Naga Hills, on the border with India and Myanmar. The festival rotates between three major townships in the Naga Hills.
The festival is meant to celebrate the successful completion of the harvest, with participants sharing their experiences from the previous year and planning for the next one. Participants wish for good health, wealth, happiness, good climate and good crops for the coming year.

Ananda Pagoda festival
When: First week of January (Dates to be confirmed)
Place: Ananda Pagoda, Bagan
A typical Buddhist pagoda festival which takes place one week preceding the full moon of Pyatho to full moon day (January). The villagers from around Bagan come to the festival with bullock carts, horse carts and camp there as long as the festival goes on. Many visitors are attracted to this yearly event.


Shan State Day
When: 7th February
Place: Across Shan State, in Yangon and among Shan ethnics who stay on Thailand’s northwestern border.
The holiday commemorates the unification of several Shan principalities into a single Shan State on February 7, 1947.

Union Day
When: 12th February
Place: All over the country
To commemorate the signing of the Pinlon Agreement between the various ethnic groups of Myanmar to demand Independence in 1947

Kyaikkauk Pagoda Festival
When: Full Moon day of Tabodwe (February)
Place: Thanlyin (Syriam)

Chin National Day
When: 20th February
Place: Mindat (Southern Chin State) and Haka (Northern Chin State)
To commemorate the National Day, to preserve and maintain Chin culture, language, literature and identity among the family of nations.

Lahu New Year Festival
When: Normally coincides with the Chinese New Year
Place: Kyaing Tong, Eastern Shan State
Typical Lahu ethnic New Year Festival


Kakku Pagoda Festival
When: Full Moon Day of Tabaung (March)
Place: Kakku Pagoda near Taunggyi, Southern Shan State
The best time to visit this place is to get there before dawn of the full moon day of Tabaung where the Pa-O people in all their finery come with gaily decorated trays bearing morning food offerings.

Shwe U Min Pagoda Festival
When: Full Moon day of Tabaung (March)
Place: Pindaya Township, Southern Shan State
Pindaya Shwe Oo Min cave Pagoda festival is held on and around full moon day of Tabaung, starting seven days before the full moon day. During the festival time, thousands of devotees come from villages around Pindaya.

Shwedagon Pagoda Tabaung Festival
When: Full Moon day of Tabaung (March)
Place: Yangon
This is a significant Festival of Shwedagon Pagoda because it was on the Full Moon Day of Tabaung that King Okkalapa and the two brothers enshrined the sacred hair relics of Buddha in the Shwedagon. On the days of festival, the stairways and platform of Shwedagon are thronged by endless streams of devotees from dawn till midnight.


Thingyan Festival & Myanmar New Year
When: 13th – 17th April
Place: All over the country
A Myanmar New Year Festival where water is thrown on everyone. It is believed that water symbolizes the washing away of the previous year's bad luck and sins. On New Year's Day, 17th of April, people celebrate by freeing captive fish, birds and cows as acts of merit, by cleaning the floors of the pagodas and monasteries, and paying obeisance to parents, aged peoples and teachers.

Gon Shan New Year
When: Coincides with Myanmar New Year
Place: Kyaing Tong, Eastern Shan State
Unique festival of Gon Shan ethnics. On the Second day of the eve of the New Year the auspicious drum is taken from its place. Then a representative of the Zar people who by traditions is allowed to wear the clothes of Sankarm (Sakra) will follow on a horse behind the drum. The people lining the procession route will sprinkle scented water on the procession for good luck.


Kason Full moon Day
When: Full moon day of Kason (May)
Place: All over the country at all prominent pagodas and monasteries.
As the month of Kason is at the middle of the hot reason, the earth is dry and people pour water at the Maha-Bodhi (Bo tree) where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, to make sure it does not die of drought during the hot summer. This has become an integral part of Myanmar culture and on every full-moon day of Kason, the Buddhist people would march in a grand procession to the Maha-Bodhi tree to pour scented water.


Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival
When: 8th waxing day of Nayon to 10th waning day of Nayon (June)
Place: Pakokku Township (near Bagan)
A typical Buddhist festival in upper Myanmar with traditional plays, nat pwes and puppet shows. Local specialties such as thanakha logs, jaggery, a-nyar longyis (sarong), cotton fabric and wool blankets are sold in the festival.

Waso Chin Lone Festival
When: Around 2nd week of June through 1st week of July
Place: Mandalay (near Mahamuni Pagoda)
Chin Lone (Cane Ball) tournament held in Mandalay. Cane ball players from all over the country participate to this festival. One can enjoy several ways of playing Chin Lone and competition by either team or individuals together with traditional orchestra (Saing Waing) that provides musical accompaniment to the games and entertaining the audience.


Waso Full moon Day
When: Full moon day of Waso (July)
Place: At all Buddhist monasteries and pagodas
Start of the Buddhist Lent. The festival commemorates the time when the Buddha gave his first sermon to the five monks. Donation ceremonies of new robes and other temporal requirements to the monks all over the country at major pagodas, monasteries and even at homes.


Taungbyone Nat Festival
When: Full moon Day of Wagaung (start from end July until mid August)
Place: Taungbyone village near Mandalay
This is the most famous and impressive Nat or Spirits Festival in Myanmar. Hundreds of mediums and thousands of pilgrims come once a year to Taung Byone.


Yadana Gu Nat festival
When: 1st to 8th Waning of Wagaung (start in the last week of August and end up in the first week of September)
Place: Amarapura, Mandalay
Known as “Mother of Taungbyone” festival. Most enjoyable because of the rowing boat trip to the site. The festival is held annually in honor of Popa Medaw, Mewanna (mother of the two spirit brothers) who when coming back from Taungbyone Festival, on her way back to Mt. Popa, halted at the Yadanagu as her transit- camp.

Manuha Pagoda Festival
When: Full moon day of Tawthalin (September)
Place: Bagan
During the festival, the Myinkaba Villagers march in parade with representation of the Jataka tales of the lives of Buddha. Most of the young villagers would take part in the roles of the king, queens and other characters. The festival is for two days.


Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
When: Full moon Day of Thadingyut (October)
Place: Inle Lake, Southern Shan State
The festival is the biggest and most important occasion in the Shan State. Four Buddha Images are taken around the lake on a gilded barge pulled by hundreds of the unique “leg-rowers” in long canoes in front. Throughout the festival rowing competitions are held, which makes for a wonderfully visual spectacle.

Elephant Dance Festival
When: Full moon day of Thadingyut (October)
Place: Kyaukse township near Mandalay
It is a dance that requires precise rhythm and timing in order for the elephant dancers to maintain unity inside the elephant figure. People from far and near come to visit Kyaukse and watch the elephant dance.


Hot Air Balloon Festival
When: One week before and until the Full moon Day of Tazaungmone (November)
Place: Taunggyi (Southern Shan State)
The hot-air balloons are made up of hand-made paper beautifully designed with colorful fireworks and firecrackers. It is an ancient tradition. Traditionally this balloon raising ceremony is to pay homage to Sulamuni Pagoda in heaven by sending up lighted hot air balloons.

Tazaungdine Lights Festival & Weaving Competition
When: Full moon day of Tazaugmone (November)
Place: All over the country
All houses are lighted up to pay homage to Lord Buddha who comes down to the abode of humans after sending Buddhist Lent in Heaven. Holy robes are woven during the night of full moon day eve to offer to the Buddha images before dawn and many weaving competitions are held at major pagodas.


Christmas Day
When: 25th December
Place: Celebrated by Christians all over the country

Akha New Year Festival
When: The date is fixed according to the Akha calendar.
Place: Kyaing Tong Township, Eastern Shan State

9000 Lights and 9000 flowers Offering
When: Normally celebrated on the 31st of December, but may vary
Place: Golden Rock (Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda), Kyaikhto Township