Tabaung is the last month in the Burmese lunar calendar which falls on March 20 this year. The full moon day of Tabaung is one of the important full-moon days in Myanmar since the myth has said the King Ukkalapa finished the construction of Shwedagon Pagoda and enshrined the sacred hair relics in it on this very day.
At this time, Buddhist people visit to the pagodas for making merits and enjoy the public holiday at the Yangon Zoological Garden, Kandawgyi Park, People’s Park, etc. Shwedagon Pagoda holds the largest pagoda festival where the devotees donate rice and other offerings to the pagoda, monks and nuns. The veneration of the 28 significant Buddhas in the Theravada sect and the round-the-clock reciting of Patthana scripture by several monks are to be expected.
As it is a public holiday, the other important pagodas like Botahtaung Pagoda and Sule Pagoda will be crowded with visitors and merit-makers.
Another significant event happening on the full moon day is the tradition of sand pagodas. Riverbank residents pile up the sand in the shape of a pagoda on the sandbanks. Buddhists believe that the pagodas are to symbolise the virtues of Buddha. So they hold that worshipping at any pagodas – being made of either bricks or sand – is no less beneficial than worshipping a living Buddha. The tradition is mainly observed in Mandalay and upper regions of Myanmar.