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Events & Festivals

In the Inle Region, there’s always a celebration every month – be it a festival or an important event. Because the region is so rich in culture and diverse in ethnic groups, it’s not uncommon to see the locals uniting for a grand festive celebration. If you would like to experience one of these festivals, make sure you have checked Myanmar local calendar as the dates will change in accordance to the Full Moon Day and the Dark Moon Day.

Full Moon Day and Dark Moon Day:
These two days are very important for the people in Myanmar, so much so that the locals look forward to doing good deeds during these days and going to a Pagoda or Monastery to worship and make offerings to the Buddha. Therefore, it is important to remember that the markets and shops will be closed during the Full Moon Day and the Dark Moon Day.

5-day Market:
The 5-day Market is a regular event where the locals from the hills ascend to the towns and villages to buy, sell and trade their products.  The market is held on a rotating basis, so each town or village will host the market on a different day. You will be able to find a wide range of products on sale in the market, including fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and meat, household products, local snacks, traditional clothes and jewellery, lacquerware and unique handcrafted products.  The market can be reached by boat or land, depending on the location. It is better to visit the market at dawn, as that is when it bustles with life and people. A myriad of ethnic groups gather at the market, so this is a great opportunity for you to meet and interact with the local people and learn about their culture and life. Keen to pay the renowned 5-day Market a visit? Don’t forget to check the schedule and locations with a local before you visit!  

Schedule:

  • Nyaung Shwe, Nampam, Pindaya, Samkar, Ywangan
  • Taunggyi, Ywama, Aung Ban
  • Shwe Nyaung, Khaung Daing, Indein, Kalaw, Pekon
  • Heho, Taungto, Thentaung, Loikaw
  • Maing Thauk, Phaung Daw Oo, Pwae Hia

*The 5-day Market is held one day earlier during the Full Moon Day and the Dark Moon Day

Local Seasonal Festivals

January:

Annual Dhamma Festival
Once every year, the Kan Gyi Monastery in Nyaung Shwe will share the principles of Buddhism to the people. They celebrate this special day by doing good to everyone.

When : 4 days before the Full Moon Day
Duration : 1 day
Where : Nyaung Shwe

Rice Offering Festival
The Rice Offering Festival is a popular festival that is held regularly in Khaung Daing Village to offer cooked rice to the monks during the morning of the Full Moon Day.

When : On the Full Moon Day
Duration : 1 day
Where : Khaung Daing

February:

Rice Offering Festival at Khaung Daing Hot Spring Pagoda
On the Full Moon Day, locals will come throng the Khaung Daing Pagoda to offer uncooked rice to the monks.

When : On the Full Moon Day
Duration : 1 day
Where : Khuang Daing Hot Spring Pagoda

Htamane Festival
Htamane is a traditional local snack that is made mainly from sticky rice, coconut, and peanut. This is the only month when the locals make this snack and offer it to the monasteries and the surrounding neighbourhoods. Competitions are also held, where groups of 5-6 participants compete to make the best Htamane. This festival celebrates the unity and teamwork values which the locals are renowned for.

When : The whole month
Duration : 1 day
Where : Nationwide

March:

Pindaya Pagoda Festival
This festival starts three days before the Full Moon Day. During this festival, people living around Shan State will visit the Pindaya Cave to worship and make offerings to Buddha.

When : 3 days before the Full Moon Day
Duration : 5 days
Where : Pindaya Cave

Kekku Pagoda Festival
Similar to Pindaya Cave, the Kekku Pagoda is also a hotspot for locals during this month. Here, the people will worship and give their offerings to Buddha.

When : On the Full Moon Day
Duration : 1 day
Where : Kekku Pagoda

April:

Water Festival
To celebrate the Myanmar New Year, the locals dedicate their offerings to Buddha in the morning. Then, they will march down the road and splash water at one another. This is the merriest time of the year in Myanmar, simply because both the locals and the tourists will engage in plenty of water-splashing fun. 

When : Subject to the Myanmar calendar
Duration : 4 days
Where : Nationwide

Annual Dhamma Festival
Once every year, the Kan Gyi Monastery in Nyaung Shwe will share the principles of Buddhism to the people. They celebrate this special day by doing good to everyone

When : 1 day after the Dark Moon Day
Duration : 1 day
Where : Nyaung Shwe

May:

Yadanar Mann Aung Kason
The Yadanar Mann Aung Kason is a pre-celebration of the Kason Bayan Tree Watering, which happens four days before the Full Moon Day. This is when the ladies from the town carry offerings and donations along the streets while the men perform traditional music.

When : 4 days before the Full Moon Day
Duration : 4 days
Where : Nyaung Shwe

Kason Bayan Tree Watering
This festival celebrates Buddha’s birthday and it is held all over Myanmar. During the celebrations, the locals pour water onto the Bayan Tree because they believe that Buddha was born under the Bayan Tree.

When : On the Full Moon Day
Duration : 1 day
Where : Nyaung Shwe

June:

Examination Period for the Monks
During this period, the monks and novices undergo their oral and written exams by reciting Buddhist scriptures. This is also the time when sellers from the whole Myanmar will come to the Nyaung Shwe Bazaar to sell their goods.

When : Subject to the Myanmar calendar
Duration : 9 days
Where : Nyaung Shwe

July:

Buddha Lent Time
According to local belief, there was a time when Buddha went to heaven for 3 months to share his knowledge on achieving Nirvana. Therefore, the locals commemorate that important event by going to the monasteries and pagodas to pray and make their offerings to Buddha. During these 3 months, some locals abstain from eating meat and hosting wedding ceremonies.

When : July – September
Duration : 3 months
Where : Nationwide

August:

Buddha Lent Time
According to local belief, there was a time when Buddha went to heaven for 3 months to share his knowledge on achieving Nirvana. Therefore, the locals commemorate that important event by going to the monasteries and pagodas to pray and make their offerings to Buddha. During these 3 months, some locals abstain from eating meat and hosting wedding ceremonies.

When : July – September
Duration : 3 months
Where : Nationwide

Lottery Donation for Monks
During this festival, each household will invite selected monks and novices to have a meal in their home. The reason behind the peculiar name is because the selection of monks is random.

When : Subject to the Myanmar calendar
Duration : 8 days
Where : Nyaung Shwe

September and October:

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
This is a major festival for the Innthar people because they need to transport the four Buddha images from the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda to the villages with a special barge. During this time, everyone from the villages will gather to celebrate and worship the Buddha images. The locals offer rice and cakes to the images in the morning, and candles, water, and flowers in the evening.

When : End of September and early October
Duration : 18 days
Where : Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda

Boat Racing
As part of the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival, the locals will participate in an inter-village boat-racing tournament. The boats can accommodate up to 100 people, and each participant is required to paddle the boats using only their legs.

When : End of September and early October
Duration : 18 days
Where : Inle Region

October:

Fire Balloon Festival

The Fire Balloon Festival is one of the most famous festivals in Shan State. During the celebration, the locals will build their own fire balloons and then compete with the other quarters. At the Sular Muni Pagoda, there will also be a competition for weaving Buddha’s Robe. As this festival falls on the start of winter, the locals offer robes and pray to Buddha by sending the fire balloons to the sky.

When : Depends on Myanmar calendar
Duration : 1 day
Where : Taunggyi

November:

Rice Offering Ceremony
This is when the locals will offer cooked rice to the monks at the stupa complex. This event is held annually at Taung Tol.

When : 1 day after the Full Moon Day
Duration : 1 day
Where : Taung Tol

December:

Pounded Black Sticky Rice

This festival is celebrated at the eastern part of Nyaung Shwe. Most local households will make pounded black sticky rice. The locals will then offer the sticky rice to the monasteries as well as the neighbourhood.

When : On the Full Moon Day
Duration : 1 day
Where : Nyaung Shwe