THANDINGYAT (Thadingyut Festival of Lights/
End of Buddhist Lent)
Thadingyut ' (October ) is the end of the Buddhist Lent or
the rains retreat. It is the festival of lights on the full-moon day, one
day before and one day after. Houses and streets in cities and towns are
brilliantly illuminated. Pagodas are also crowded with people doing
meritorious deeds. It is not only a time of joy but also of thanksgiving and
playing homage to teachers, parents and elders, and asking pardon for
whatever misdeeds in speech or thought they might have committed during the
year, and elders also readily forgive if thete is anything to forhive. This
beautiful custom of Myanmar people serves as a bridge across the generation
gap which often is the cause of trouble in many other countries.
It originates in the story of worldly beings welcoming back the Buddha with
lights as He descended from 'ta-va-tim-sa,' the highest abode of the'Nats'
(celestial beings).He had spent the three moths preaching 'Abhidham-ma', the
Highest Doctrine of Buddhism, to the celestials headed by His mother who has
died soon after hiving birth to Him and reincarnated as a 'Deva' by the name
of 'San-tus-si-ta'. It will be remembered that'Gautama Buddha', after
displaying unheard of miracles under the 'Ganda' mango tree, had disappeared
from that mango grove and gone to 'Ta-va-tim-as', and spent the three moths
of the Rains-Retreat. The full moon day of the Thadingyut is accordingly
known as 'Maha Pavarana Day' from the earliest times. Its also known as 'Ta-va-tim-sa
festival' or 'Festival of Lights on Mount Meru'.
Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda Festival
The festival of 'Phaungdaw Oo pagoda' in 'Inle' Lake is held every year
during the month of Thadingyut ( October ), is the biggest occasion of the
lake. The images of the Buddha from 'Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda' are placed on a
decorated royal barge called 'Karaweik' (Mythical bird) and taken around the
lake, stopping at villages for people to pay homage. The festival is full of
pageantry and colourful and there are fun fairs, music, dances and boat
reces participated by both men and women rowing with their legs.
Elephant Dance Festival
En route from Yangon to Mandalay, there lies a thriving town called 'Kyauk-se'
in Upper Myanmar situated some 26 miles to the south of performed at annual
Light Festival in the month of Thadingyut ( October). The main feature of
this festival is the elephant dance accompanied by colorful paheantry a
life-size white paper elephant decked with regal trappings carries on its
back a replica of the sacred Tooth of Buddha or some relics of an ' Arahat'
while a black paper elephant follows as the finale of the procession. Each
of these paper elephants is borne and animated by two men inside. The black
paper elephant dances merrily to the procession music and thus it is the
center of attraction during the carnival. Nowadays, the elephant dance no
longer sticks to its native town along. It has become one of the highlights
in many auspicious celebrations throughout the country.