Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival at Inle Lake

The Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival is one of the most famous pagoda festival in Myanmar and well known all over the world. The festival is held every year during the month of October and lasts for more than 20 days as the 4 Buddha Images are taken around the lake in a gilded barge pulled by hundrerds of leg-rowers in long canoes in front.These images sometimes stay over night at some villages and sometimes just stop over for a short while. Rowing competitions are also held. Pilgrims from all over the country come to this festival to pay homage to the Buddha Images. Many are from the plains, some from the mountains, while others are from small remote villages but everybody is here to gain merit and enjoy the festive air of the event. Foreign tourists are also fascinated not only by the religiouness of the festival goers but also with the generosity of the pilgrims as they pray in front of the Images and offer tissue thin gold leaves to put on the Images. This sense of true generosity and the religiousness of the people is evidenced by the Images itself for after decades of being gilded by countless number of gold foils they had become huge globes of gold.

This year's festival had also begun. The Phaung Daw Oo Images arrived yesterday at Nyaung Shwe and will stay there for three nights. After that they will continue their tour around the lake. As usual the welcoming ceremony at Nyaung Shwe was thronged with local pilgrims and foreign tourists alike. Everybody is invited to come visit the festival and see the real nature of the Myanmar people.

Coming Festivals
Myanmar is a land of festivals. Every month there is a pagoda festival, even during the monsoon season. But with the cessation of the monsoon rains the country comes alive with pagoda festivals, religious festivals etc.
On the Full-moon day of November there are some notable pagoda and religious festivals coming up.
-Kekku Pagoda Festival(Shan)
-Taunggyi Hot-air Balloon Competition
-Taunggyi Kahtein(Offering of Holy Robes to the Monks) Ceremony.
-Taunggyi Parade of Lights Festival

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