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Shan State Day


Shan Sate is situated in the eastern part of the country and has a total area of 61,091 sq miles which is a quarter of the total area of Myanmar. The State Day ceremonies are held in Taunggyi, Kyaing Tong, Lashio and many towns of the Shan State for 3 days. Dances of the Shan and other ethnic minorities are performed. Shans celebrate the Feast of Harvest on the 3 rd of February, one day before the Shan State Day.

Pindaya Cave Festival

Pindaya, well known for its lime stone caves, is about 45 km from Kalaw. The cave is set deep in the hillsides, and at the entrance there is the 15-meter high Shwe-Oo-min or Golden Cave pagoda. The tazaung or prayer hall was built by the famous hermit U Khati who also built many of the religious edifices on Mandalay Hill.

The entire length of the cave is 490 feet and there are about 8,000 Buddha images made from various materials like teak, marble, alabaster, brick, cement and lacquer. All the images are enshrined in the nooks and corners of the winding caves. There are also numerous interesting stalactites and stalagmites in these lime stone caves.

A three-day pagoda festival is held in Tabaung (March.) The native tribes such as Danu, Pa-O, Taung Yoe and Palaung make offerings on the full moon day. Festivities include performances by roaming artists and there is a busy market.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

Inlay Lake is the most famous scenic lake in Shan State. The picturesque lake is 22.4 km long and 10.2 km wide, and is about 900m above sea level. It is famous for its unique leg-rowers, floating villages and colourful markets.

Phaung-daw-Oo Pagoda in the lake is very famous and it houses five small Buddha images. The pagoda festival is held every year in the month of Thadingyut (October) with pageantry. Four of the five Buddha images are placed on a decorated royal barge and rowed around the lake, stopping at villages for people to pay homage.

There are fun fairs, music, dances and boat races, and it is the biggest annual occasion in the Lake Inlay district.

Kakku Pagoda Festival

Kaku Pagoda is in the territory of the Pa-O people in Taung Gyi Township . There are about 2000 stupas packed closely together in ranks, covering an area perhaps a square kilometer. Legend says that Alaung Sithu, the 12th century king of Bagan, built the first stupas. The pagoda festival is held in Tabaung. On the full moon day, alms offering is carried out by the Pa-O people dressed in their traditional black outfits. There also is the festival market.

Ballons and Fireworks Festival

The most significant festival in Taung Gyi is the Tazaungdine Lighting Festival held in November. During this festival, hot-air balloon competitions are held.

The festival features a colorful display of decorated hot-air balloons in different sizes and in the shapes of animals including elephants, pigs, cattle, horses, the mythical hintha bird, and hens. The night sky lights up with colorful fireworks and lights from the multicoloured hot-air balloons. The natural beauty of Taung Gyi and its environs can be viewed from Mya-sein-taung zedi.

Fire Stick Festival

This festival is held in Kalaw in November. Long poles stuffed with fire works are ceremoniously carried to a pagoda on the outskirts of the town. They are planted near the pagoda and are burned all night.

Bawgyo Festival

Baw-gyo is near the town of Thipaw in Northern Shan State. The festival is held around the full moon day of Tabaung (March.) The 700 year old pagoda is the site of festivities for a week when pilgrims from all over Shan State arrive to worship the four holy images of the Buddha. The images are locked in a reliquary for most of the year, but during the festival days, the images are taken out for display, for worship and for gilding with gold foils.