y a n m a r
|| Historical and Cultural
Heritage || Arts and Crafts
Highlights on Scenic Beauty
|| Special events
is one of the largest country in South East Asia, stretching over 2,000
km from North to South. It is twice the size of Vietnam, over a quarter
larger than Thailand, and Myanmar is bigger than England and France combined.
Ethnically diverse, Myanmar is a nation of many races - some 130 ethnic
groups make up its population of nearly 45 million. The majority of Myanmar's
people are Bamars (from which the British coined the name Burma), but
the Shan, Kachin, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine and others are also prominent throughout
the country. Myanmar's climate is tropical: during the cool season from
late November through February, temperatures are pleasantly mild ranging
from 21C to 28 C; the hot season from March to April can see the mercury
reach as high as 45 C; and during the months of the rainy season, from
May to October short rainstorms are frequent in the late afternoons.
Nationalities of Myanmar
Myanmar's ethnically diverse population is a result of three major migrations
from Tibet and Central Asia, the cradle of humanity. The people of Myanmar
are descendants of three main branches: The Mon-Khmer, the Tibeto-Burman,
and the Thai-Chinese.
The Kaya, Mon, Wa, La, Palaung, Pale, Yao, Riang, Padaung, Ylnbaw, Zayein,
and others originated from the Mon-Khmer group, while the Shan, Kayin
and Taungthu, etc., find their roots in the Thai-Chinese community.
The Bamar, Chin, Kachin, Lolo, Rahkine, Kadu, Hpon, Maru, Lashi, Rawang,
Azi, Nung, Daru, Yaw, Mro, Inthat, Naga, Gauri, Lisu, Lahu, among others,
evolved from the Tibeto-Burman group.
and Cultural Heritage
Kuthodaw Pagoda, in Mandalay, which houses the entire Buddhist scriptures
carved onto 729 marble slabs is "The world's largest book". Built by King
Mindon, it is indeed a rare and splendid sight.
Myanmar's unique historical and cultural heritage dates back over 5,000
years. Evidence confirming the existence of stone age people has been
found throughout the country.
Early Myanmars were said to be Mons, and the first politically important
inhabitants were the Pyu who date back to the early period of the Christian
It was Bagan, however, which was founded in the 11th century, that gave
rise to the dominant culture and civilization in Myanmar's history.
and Crafts of Myanmar
Myanmar is an enchanting country with a rich history in arts and crafts.
Mandalay, the ancient capital and the glory of Myanmar Kings, represents
the largest repository of Myanmar arts and crafts.
Visitors can observe carvers of ivory, wood and stone, in addition to
makers fo gold leaf, silk weavers, silversmiths and bronze-casters, as
they ply their respective trades according to the time-honored traditions
of their forefathers.
The pagodas, religious monuments, and major Buddhist sculptures seen all
over Myanmar are authentic examples of the rich tradition of Bagan arts
andcrafts and of prior eras of craftmanship so evident throughout Myanmar's
on Scenic Beauty
Myanmar is blessed with natural scenic beauty making for landscapes that
are incredibly picturesque. The country's great lakes, snowcapped mountains
and unspoiled beaches are undoubtedly some of the most stunning, idyllic,
and mystical places to be found anywhere on earth.
Myanmar's physical beauty is enhanced by the spectacular pagodas and temples
that can be found all over the country. These venues for contemplation
and prayer radiate the obvious spirituality of the people.
Events Around The Year
Myanmar is popularly known as The Land of Festivals because of the countless
religious and cultural festivals that take place all ycar round. Some
are nation-wide festivities while others are popular solely around the
city of Yangon or in the District Areas.
On January 4th, Independence Day of the Union of Myanmar is celebrated
across the country. Countless parades and fairs mark this important day
and everyone joins in the festivities. The Myanmar Traditional Equestrian
Festival or Myin-Khin-Thabin is a national festival which is held annually
in Yangon In ancient times, this festival provided the Myanmar Kings with
the opportunity to demonstrate their military might, but today its main
purpose is for the perpetuation of Myanmar patriotism. It is a fantastic
occasion and tourists are warmly welcomed to participate in the many celebrations.
Traditionally, this is the month of the Harvest Festival when people rejoice
in the feast of Htamane. No one should miss this opportunity to sample
a delicious Myanmar delicacy consisting of glutinour rice freckle with
coconut, sesamum seeds, peanuts, ginger, and oil, which is specially prepared
for the feast.
The Thingyan festival don't wear your Sunday best!¶ The anniversary of
the Union Day falls on February 12. Representatives and cultural troupes
of the seven States and seven Divisions of the Union of Myanmar dressed
in colourful, traditional costumes gather at venues across the country.
Traditional entertainment highlights the beauty of the different ethnic
groups found within the Union.
March is the most colorful month of the year as Pagoda Festivals arc in
full swing. The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival is held on the day of the full
moon of Tabaung and is one of the month s biggest events. During this
festival, visitors can get a feel for the spirituality of the people of
Myanmar by participating in events at temple fairs or by observing the
rituals of the holiday.
Thingyan or the Water Festival is held throughout the country for three
days in the month of April. It simultaneously marks the end of the old
year and beginning of the new. Young people gather together to sing and
dance, and to playfully throw water on each other. Throughout the Thingyan
Carnivals decorative floats and water throwing pandals are seen everywhere
in both towns and cities alike. If you are not afraid of getting wet,
this high spirited festival is one that you won't want to miss!
The Kason Festival of watering the Sacred Banyan Tree symbolises the birth,
enlightenment and death of Buddha. It is an important Buddhist holiday
and many processions are held at temple grounds throughout the country.
The onset of monsoon season makes June and July relatively quiet months
in Myanmar. There are, however, various smaller Buddhist festivals to
Taungpyone Nat or Spirit Festival is a popular five day festival held
in Taungpyone near Mandalay. According to tradition, Nats are spirits
that must be appeased or they will wreak havoc in people's lives. The
two Nat Brothers honoured during Taungpyone Nat belong to the 37 well-known
Myanmar Nats. The story of the two Nat Brothers originated during the
rule of King Anawrahta, when it was the duty of every person in the kingdom
to contribute a brick and a handful of sand for the construction of a
Pagoda. The brothers failed to contribute their share and orders came
from the King for them to be mildly punished. Unfortunately, the Nat Brothers
were accidentally killed.
The King was remorseful and built a big Nat (spirit) shrine by the side
of the Pagoda honoring the two brothers.
The homage-paying festival is now held annually to appease the spirits
as it is believed that the Nat Brothers can fulfill your wishes, protect
you from ill-fate and danger, and bring good luck, prosperity and progress.
The famous Phaung-Daw-Oo Pagoda Festival is held at Inle Lake once a year.
The procession of the Inle leg-rowers in full pageantry and ceremonial
splendour is a sight not to be missed by anyone visiting Myanmar.
The opening ceremony of Visit Myanmar Year 1 1996 will be kicked off on
a grand scale. The celebration will be a gloriously festive occasion.
The Thadingyut or Light Festival, which ends the Buddhist I Lent, is also
one of the most prominent festivals of the year. Another celebration of
light is the Tazaungdine festival held in November. Pagodas, houses, buildings,
parks, and monuments arc all illuminated and there are various kinds of
activities for everyone to enjoy. The other important festival outside
Yangon is the exotic Elephant Dance held in Kyaukse, a small town not
far from Mandalay.
A huge elephant figure is made from bamboo and paper Men take their places
inside the figure and dance around the town to the accompaniment of Dobat
and Drums. The elephant dancers circle three times at the foot of the
hill to pay homage to the Shwe Tha Lyaung Pagoda. It is a dance that requires
precise rhythm and timing in order for the elephant dancers to maintain
unity inside the elephant figure.
The traditional Boat Regatta Festival is held at Kandawgyi Lake to remind
the younger generations of the glory, sovereignty, patriotism and national
spirit of Myanmar.
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