With an exceptionally long pubic holiday in April, Myanmar has 27 gazetted holidays in 2023.
Independence Day (4 Jan)
This year marks the 75th Myanmar Independence Day. In 1948, the country proclaimed its independence from Britain. Along with honouring Myanmar sovereignty, Independence Day gives the citizens an opportunity to spend time with their friends and families.
Union Day (12 Feb)
The holiday marks the date in 1947 when the Panglong Agreement was signed and passed and Myanmar became a unified country.
Farmers Day (2 Mar)
As Myanmar is an agricultural country, farmers are the backbone of the economy. On this day, Myanmar people remember the hard work of farmers.
Full Moon Day of Tabaung (5 Mar)
Tabaung is the last month in the Burmese lunar calendar which falls on 5 March this year. The full moon day of Tabaung is one of the essential full-moon days in Myanmar since the myth has said that King Ukkalapa finished the construction of Shwedagon Pagoda and enshrined the sacred hair relics in it on this very day.
Armed Forces Day (27 Mar)
Myanmar Armed Forces Day is an annual event celebrated on 27 March. Known locally as ‘Tatmadaw Nay,’ it honours the people of Myanmar who rose against the Japanese during World War II. Armed Forces Day in Myanmar commemorates the army’s resistance to the Japanese occupation of the country in 1945.
Thingyan Water Festival (9 – 17 Apr)
The country’s most famous festival is also the one that gives the longest holiday. Happens annually in Tagu month of Myanmar calendar, Thingyan is the first ever water festival celebrated in the world or the earliest water festival in water festivals. People spray each other with water to wash off the past year’s misdeeds, shampoo the elders and organise feasts during this festival.
Labour Day (1 May)
Labour Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
Full Moon Day of Kason (3 May)
In May or the month of Kason, Burmese people believe that Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment under the holy Banyan tree on the full moon day of Kason according to the three repositories of Buddhist Scriptures, also known as the Pitakas. So the moon falls on the full moon day of Kason, people go to the nearest temple and pagodas where the banyan (Maha-Bodhi) trees are found and pour water to pay homage to Buddha.
Martyrs Day (19 Jul)
Martyrs Day has always been one of the most respected days in the history of Myanmar and a commemoration held for years. On 19 July 1947, General Aung San along with seven other leaders and one bodyguard were assassinated. On this day every year, government officials pay respect before the Martyrs’ mausoleum in the early morning. Citizens all across the country would be standing still. Car horns on the street would cry and farmers supporting our lifeline would drop their mattocks. Time stops for an entire minute for all of us in Myanmar at 10:37 AM, the exact time the leaders were gunned down.
Full Moon Day of Waso (1 Aug)
The Waso Full Moon Day marks the beginning of Vassa, or the Buddhist Lent, that lasts until October. It was on this day when Buddha preached the Dhamma Satkyar, a sermon of Four Solemn Truths and summarisation of Tripitaka scriptures, for the first time to his five disciples.
Thadingyut Light Festival (28 – 30 Oct)
Thadingyut is the most famous festival in Myanmar after Thingyan. Thadingyut Light Festival is held for three days throughout the country: the eve, the full moon day and the next day. It also marks the end of the three-month Buddhist Lent.
Tazaungdaing Light Festival (26 – 27 Nov)
Tazaungdaing Festival is held on the full moon day, 27 November this year. The believers weave robes the whole night before the full moon day and donate them to the monks the next day. Tazaungdaing is also a festival of light. People throughout the land release hot air balloons lit with candles. They are regarded as offerings to Sulamani cetiya in Tavatimsa.
National Victory Day (7 Dec)
The 103rd National Victory Day will fall on the 10th Waning of Tazaungmon. Every country has its National (Victory) Day, which usually marks the date on which a people achieved independence and became a nation, or which commemorates some other important threshold crossed in a nation’s history. The holiday immortalises the beginning of student-led protests against British rule in 1920.
Christmas Day (25 Dec)
Since Myanmar is a country where different faiths coexist, the holiest day of the Christians is also regarded as a holiday. Churches throughout the country will hold masses and celebrations on this day.
In addition, there are two more holidays that celebrate Eid and Diwali. The respective organisations will announce when the time comes, so no fixed dates for now.