Yangonites celebrated annual Tazaungdaing Festival by floating candles and enjoying staged performances

Many cultures have festivals around the lights. Jewish people have Hanukkah, Hindus celebrate Diwali, etc. Often, lights are symbolical for the triumph over evil or attaining a sort of wisdom.

In Buddhist-dominant Myanmar, people celebrate Tazaungdaing in the first week of November to mark the end of Buddhist lent. During this event, the devotees light candles and release hot-air balloons as an offering to the Sulamani Pagoda which they believe is located in Tavitisma, the heaven in Buddhist cosmology and home of devas.

The hot-air balloon festival in Taunggyi, Shan State, is popular among people outside the country. Residents of Yangon celebrated Tazaungdaing Festival at the Sein Lan So Pyay Garden on 12 November.

Under the management of the Myanmar Cultural Heritage Trust, the visitors to the garden were provided with candles packed in the lotus leaves to float on the Inya Lake. The revelers were also offered Mezali phu thoke (Siamese cassia buds salad which has medical properties) and tea free-of-charge.

Marionette performance and traditional dance were also staged. The visitors also had a chance to try Burmese snacks and ethnic garments at the market nearby.

The event lasted more than three hours, starting from 5 pm.

Photos by Pyae Phyo Thu

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