Posted By : Threeland Travel / Festivals & Events Information
There is a well-known fact as Myanmar people have a penchant for festivals, Myanmar has festivals all around the year, at least one in each month of the year. Myanmar is rich in culture and has developed its own distinctive culture. Buddhism has great influence on the daily lives of Myanmar people and the celebration of light festival of Myanmar, the Thadingyut, is the second most popular festival in Myanmar after Thingyan (Water Festival).
Thadingyut Fesitval at Shwedagon Pagoda
What and When is Thadingyut Festival?
The Thadingyut Festival also known as the Lighting Festival of Myanmar is held on the full moon day of the Myanmar Lunar month of Thadingyut. Thitin or thadin means Sila, a religious duty and kyut or gyut, to be freed or exonerated. Thadingyut is the seventh month of the Myanmar calendar and the end of the Buddhist Lent. Thadingyut festival lasts for three days: the day before the full moon day, the full moon day (when Buddha descends from heaven) and the day after the full moon day.
Thadingyut Festival is the celebration to welcome the Buddha’s descent from heaven after he preached the Abhidamma to his mother, Maya, who was reborn in heaven. When Lord Buddha descended from heaven, people who all over the country light candles to welcome back. As years passed by, it became a tradition and a festival.
The busiest place for Lighting Festival is Shwedagon Pagoda and downtown in Yangon. Mandalay also holds the Festival around Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda because it coincides with the Pagoda Festival.
What’s special at Thadingyut Festival?
Buddhists celebrate Thadin- gyut to welcome the Buddha and his disciples by enlightening and festooning the streets, houses and public buildings with colored electric bulbs or candles, which rep- resent those three stairways. At the pagodas, the royalty rubbed shoulders with the people in their offering of lights. Men of means would make “a thousand lights offering” not of paraffin candles, but of earthen cups filled with oil and ginned cotton wicks. Most of people use electric lights to illuminate.
During Thadingyut festival, there are various activities for everyone to enjoy. Every corner of the street, there are free shows, Zat Pwes (Myanmar musical plays), stage shows, etc. We also can see a lot of food- stalls, which sell a variety of Myanmar traditional foods and shops, toys, kitchen utensils and other useful stuff on almost every street. It is quite usual for people just walk around in those streets just for sightseeing and have fun while they are hanging out with friends. Buddhists usually go to pagodas such as the famous Shwedagon, city-centered Sule Pagoda, Botahtaung Pagoda. Some go to monasteries to pay respect to the monks and fast on the full moon day.
October, the end of Buddhist lent is also a month for weddings in Myanmar because during three months of Buddhist Lent, getting married is a taboo. Marriages have to be postponed until the end of the lent. Young lovers can now tie the knot and celebrate their wedding ceremonies grandly among their communities. We can see a lot of love birds preparing and daydreaming for their elegant wedding ceremony around Thadingyut.
Last but not least, it is a time for remembering those to whom we owe respect and gratitude. Thadingyut is not only for joy but also a season of remembering. It is also a time for remembering those to whom we owe respect and paying homage to Buddhist monks. Young people can be seen walking with candles and gifts in their hands such as some fruits, foods and other gifts to paying respect (kadaw) to teachers, parents and elders relatives and asking pardon for whatever misdeeds might have committed during the year. Sometimes it is an organized affair, but this does not prevent them from going to older people individually to pay respect. Additionally, the elder ones wish good luck for them and give them some pocket money in return.
Wishing all a peaceful and Happy Thadingyut!