Yangon, a vibrant city in flux and undergoing modernisation, is also a spiritual melting pot of long-held traditions including festivities mostly associated with Buddhist beliefs and traditions. Particularly worth attending is the Shwedagon Pagoda Festival. However, international events like Chinese New Year (among others) are also very enthusiastically embraced. Thingyan in April is the Myanmar Water Festival and honours the Myanmar New Year. 10-day holiday, celebrated throughout the land.
May sees Buddhists commemorate three milestones – the birth of Buddha, enlightenment and Nirvana at his death – by pouring water on the sacred Bo Tree. Waso Festival in July marks the beginning of three months of Buddhist lent when monks receive new robes. Thandingyut, the Festival of Lights in October is a marvel as throngs of devotees light candles at pagodas. Similarly Tazaungdaing in November, is a light festival but also features an all-night robe-weaving competition at Shwedagon Pagoda.
Myanmar’s commercial capital is a bustling metropolis where everyone is going about their business; yet with so many spectacular pagodas to enjoy it is possible to find serenity. There are many to choose from but a visit to the country’s most prominent and well-loved landmark, Shwedagon Pagoda, is a must. Reportedly more than 2,500 years old, it towers above the green landscape of Yangon. In the heart of downtown, Sule Pagoda is of both historical and cultural significance, while Botahtaung Pagoda on the bank of the river is hollow inside allowing visitors to walk through to admire a glass case containing a hair relic of the Buddha.