Out with the old and in with the new! On the eve of Myanmar’s new year, the country cleanses the bad deeds of the prior year through splashing themselves and their friends with water. Elders spend the waterfight relaxing in the monasteries and pagoda precincts. The five-day festival takes place throughout the entire country.
The nomadic sea gypsies of the Myeik Archipelago, also known as the Salon people, live on boats for half the year and retreat to land during the rainy season. This festival celebrates their lifestyle as all the communities come together to pray for their continued good fortune and to drink, dance and socialize together.
This is one of the most important festivals for the Tamil Hindus of Myanmar who travel from all over the country to celebrate in the temple of Sri Angala Eswari Munieswar Swamy. The full moon day marks the marriages of a number of gods and participants walk over hot coals and rub their feet with turmeric powder and goats’ milk.
Seeking enlightenment and escaping hell, the novitiation ceremony celebrates young men becoming novices in Buddhism. A religious celebration, this fascinating cultural tradition involves a parade where the new novices walk about dressed as princes. Invaluable among Buddhist families, this is a rite of passage for young Burmese men. There is no exact age when young boys can become a novice, and no exact time of year when this must take place, however most novitation ceremonies occur between March and May, as this is when schools close for the summer vacation.
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