Myanmar Culture

Although court culture has been extinguished, popular street-level culture is vibrant and thriving. Drama is the mainstay of this culture, and just about any celebration is a good excuse for a pwe (show). Performances may recount Buddhist legends, or be more light-hearted entertainments involving slapstick comedy, dance, ensemble singing or giant puppets. Myanmar music is an integral part of a pwe; it originates from Thai and emphasises rhythm and melody.

Instruments are predominantly percussive and include drums, boat-shaped harps, gongs and bamboo flutes. Over 85% of the Myanmar population is Theravada Buddhist. In the Rakhine region, towards Bangladesh, there are many Muslims. Christian missionaries have had some success among hill tribes but many remain staunch animists.The toys of Myanmar are not only for the children but also famous in the world, known as the Marionettes (or) Puppets of Myanmar. Its a combination of Myanmar Art and Culture, together to show the inner expressions of the Myanmar people. Myanmar also have festivals all around the year, at least one in each month of the year. The most famous festival of Myanmar is the Thingyan Water Festival, which is held from 13 April to 16 April every year.


  • Kachin Manaw Festival
  • Kachin is one of the states which has a delightful festival known as Manaw. Kachin, the hill people or the Scots of Myanmar, celebrate Manaw festival. 
  • Ananda Pagoda Festival
  • Symbolizing the limitless wisdom of Buddha, there is a month long sanctified festival for the temple Ananda, the most beautiful one out of 2000 holy monuments in Bagan, Myanmar.
  • Naga New Year Festival
  • Numerous Naga tribes spread throughout the north-western hills of Myanmar. Most of the Naga are from the Chin State. But the festival place falls in the Sagaing Division, next to the Chin State.
  • Htamane (Sticky Rice) Festival
  • Htamane festival is held between February and March, throughout the whole country. It is made of sticky rice and sesame seeds. One large pan requires 4 small baskets of sticky rice...
  • Maha Myat Muni Pagoda Festival
  • This festival falls on the full moon day of Thabodwe. This festival usually lasts for 2 days. Glutinous rice (which is a delicacy) contests are also held on the pagoda's platform.
  • Salone Festival
  • Salone festival is usually held during the month of February. The festival is at Majungalet Village on Bocho Island near Lampi Island in Myeik, Tanintharyi Division.
  • Shwedagon Pagoda Festival
  • The festival of the Shwedagon Pagoda is celebrated on the fullmoon day of Tauaung (March) every year. Many people in the country contributes funds for the repairing and a great number of people pay homage every day.
  • Kakku Pagoda Festival
  • On the full moon day of Tabaung (March) which is the last month of the Myanmar lunar calendar, Kakku Pagoda festival takes place.
  • Shwe UMin Pagoda Festival
  • Pindaya Shwe Oo Min cave Pagoda festival is held on and around fullmoon day of Tabaung as well. It starts seven days before the full moon day.
  • Mann Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival
  • Mann Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival is one of the most significant Pagoda festival in Upper Myanmar. It is 36 miles from Magwe...
  • Thingyan Water Festival
  • It is believed that water festival washes away sins and welcomes the New Year. The water festival represents the most popular, raucous...
  • Thanakha Grinding Festival
  • Thanakha is a cream or make up obtained by grinding Thanakha tree's bark. Females use it as a protection against heat as well as a decoration.
  • Kason Watering Festival
  • It is the season water in all ponds, lakes and creeks reduces to its lowest level. During the month of Kason the length of the day is longer and the night is shorter.
  • Taungpyone Nat (Pwe) Festival
  • The Nats are believed to be super natural powerful beings, stated between the gods and the spiritual beings. Most of the Myanmar people worship the Nats as a religious belief.
  • Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
  • One of the famous principal shrines in Myanmar, this pagoda houses five small Buddha images. Once a year, in end Sept-early Oct...
  • Thadingyut Lighting Festival
  • Thadingyut is a seven-month of Myanmar calendar and the end of lent. Three days of lights festival, namely the day before full moon, the full moon day and the days after.
  • Elephant Dance Festival
  • Dancing Elephant Festival is also another famous festival in Myanmar. It is held in Kyaukse, near Mandalay. It is a marvellous performance of two men together to dance in rhythm.
  • Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival
  • The Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda Festival is a special festival of lights celebration. On the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut, locals offer the lighting of 9000 candles and 9000 flowers to the Biuddha.
  • Hot Air Balloon Festival
  • On this occasion people enjoy fun and merriment by holding firework-launching competitions. The firework is in the form of rockets.

 Religion & Beliefs


  • Buddhism
  • Freedom of religion is practiced in Myanmar, although a majority (some 89.1%) are Buddhists in Myanmar. But Myanmar seems democratic that Buddhism is not defined as the official religion of the country, like most Islamic countries does. Faith and religion are a little hard to differentiate or divide, and they are often very much inter-related or confused.
  • History of Buddhism
  • In Union of Myanmar majority of the population are Buddhist, Theravada Buddhism is professed widely. Religious intolerance or discrimination on grounds of religion is non-existence in the Union of Myanmar throughout it's long history. 
  • Pagoda
  • A pagoda, in Southeast Asia, is cone-shaped monumental structure built in memory of Buddha. But in the Far East, a pagoda is a tower-like, multi-storeyed structure of stone, brick, or wood, usually associated with a Buddhist temple complex.
  • Mythical Creatures
  • It's not just in the Greeks mythology where animals were combined into a single form. Myanmars also have quite a few number of combined form of mythical creatures.
  • Shin Pyu
  • The Shin Pyu ceremony is a common event, as a family earns great merit when a son forsakes his childhood life and dons the robe of the monk. Henceforth, he will have no possessions, save the bowl with which he begs his meals.
  • Phone Gyi Pyan
  • The incumbent of a Kyaung (monastery) dies the body is embalmed, so as to allow the devotion of several months to the preparations for the funeral. The corpse is swathed like a mummy and laid in a solid dug-out coffin of hard wood. (much less pomp is displayed at the funeral of a sojourner).
  • Meditation
  • There are many meditation centres in Myanmar, practising healthful mind for people of the world. Although theses centres may differ in the kind of practices, all of the results from those methods lead to peacefulness and to way to Nirvana.
  • Benevolent Prince
  • To the people of Myanmar Lawkanat is the symbol of peace and prosperity and his figures are displayed prominently in our art, culture and the Theravada religion.
  • Man Lion
  • A Man Lion is a symbol that represents the guardian of a precious place. Such as the Sphinx of the Egypt, in Myanmar theses guardians are called as Manussiha (or) the Man Lion.
  • Worshipping of Nats
  • Bark Painting has been a new generation of wood designing. The manufacturers of Bark Paintings usually use the bark from large trees and old trees.
  • Superstition
  • Myanmar is rich in forestry and nature. There are many palm trees and coconut trees. Palm Portraits are made from the products of local toddy palm trees.
  • Buddha Mudras
  • A mudra is a symbolic gesture usually made with the hand or fingers. Along with asanas (seated postures), they are employed in the yoga meditation practice of Hinduism. Each mudra has a specific quality that is said to be imparted to the practitioner, and they are a central part of Hindu iconography. With the onset of Buddhism, many mudra practices were absorbed into the culture.
  • The 28 Buddhas
  • The Pali names of the 28 Buddhas believed to have been in this world

Myanmar Museums 

  • National Museum
  • A museum is a repository where the heritage of ancient civilizations are put on exhibit for the benefit of people living in the present. It is an archive of man's past achievements.
  • Bagan Archaeological Museum
  • The Bagan Archaeological Museum is located in north of Bagan, in the Old Bagan region. A museum was built in the northern part of Bagan, by U Sein Kho, who was the stone tablets specialist from the Myanmar stones tablets department.
  • Mrauk U Museum
  • A new Mrauk U museum is located near the palace site. It displays some old artefacts of Vesali, Launggret and Mrauk U periods. The bronze Buddha icons of Rakhine are equistic in design.

Cultural Events 

  • The Equestrian Festival
  • Culture is the measure by which the progress of a nation or country is rated. Although material prosperity is the basic essential factor in all-round national development it is in culture that all modes of progress co nsummate; while the standard of living attests material prosperity cultural achievement epitomizes all human refinements.
  • Myanmar Traditional Regatta Festival
  • The royal Naval Expedition of A.D. 1841 via the brimful Ayeyawaddy River and also by land as recorded in the Great Royal Chronicle of the Konbaung Dynasty Vol. III was a grand flotilla and parade combined with 15,000 men, 320 war elephants, some 500 steeds and over 1,000 boats, barges, and water crafts of all sizes and kinds.
  • Myanmar's Cultural Spree
  • One of the cultural highlights in October was the holding of the Fourth Myanmar Traditional Performing Arts Competitions at Yangon From 3 to 20 of the month.
  • Thin-bok Swoon, a Rakhine Buddhist Festival
  • Myanmar is a land of festivals which are usually connected with Buddhism, but although they are religious occasions there is also colourful dancing, lively music and songs. Often there are processions where the local people dress up in all their finest clothes and go to a pagoda to make offerings.
  • The Elegant and Sacred Lotus Robe
  • In the Union of Myanmar where Theravada Buddhism flourishes yellow robes have been offered to the Lord Buddha in different seasons for many hundreds of years.



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