Best time to go to Myanmar

Tazaungdaing Light Festival 2020

The Tazaungdaing Lights Festival has its own unique and distinctive beauty and plays a huge role in the spiritual life of the Myanmar people

Tazaungdaing Light Festival in Myanmar 2020 - Best Time
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© Supreet Kaur

The Tazaungdaing Lights Festival takes place in mid-November and marks the end of rainy season in Myanmar. It’s believed that it derives from the Kattika festival, which honours the guardian planets in Hindu astrology. During the festival, houses and public buildings are decorated with colourful lights.

Light procession in Taunggyi 2020
Light procession in Taunggyi
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It is also a time of games, marching, fireworks, lanterns, and hot-air balloons. Most of the balloons are made from bamboo and mulberry paper and contain lit candles. One can see their launch both at night and day. For instance, the day balloons are in the form of pagodas and animals whereas the night balloons are huge, ball-shaped, or smaller multicolored paper lanterns. Balloons are seen as offerings to heaven (to Sulamani Cetiya in the Buddhist cosmology). The Burmese believe that they drive away evil spirits.

Taunngyi Fire Balloon Festival 2020
Taunngyi Fire Balloon Festival
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It's also common to give offerings or charity, pay respects to the elderly and visit pagodas. During this festival robe weaving competitions for yellow monk robes known as matho thingan are held throughout the country: for two consecutive nights the contestants produce these garments.

Lights, prayers and meditation in Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon 2020
Lights, prayers and meditation in Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon
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The best place to witness it is the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Very often during celebrations of the final day of the Tazaungdaing Light Festival, you can see local people marching the streets and holding traditional lit lotus flower effigies or parade the streets playing instruments and dancing.