Thadingyut Festival, The Festival of Lights

Offering one thousand candle lights

This festival is celebrated in Myanmar for three days beginning from the day before the full-moon day of October, yearly.

This is a religious event and it is noted that Buddha ascended to heaven to preach the doctrine (Abhidhamma) in gratitude of his mother who passed away seven days after giving birth to Buddha and reborn as a heavenly being.Buddha preached the doctrine to his mother (Mal Taw Mi Nat Thar) and other celestial beings for three months in heaven. Humankind on earth respectfully welcomed Buddha with candle lights, lamps, lighting balloons, etc., upon Buddha descending back to earth. The Buddhists around the world kept on celebrating lighting festival as a religious event after Buddha passed away until now.

Thadingyut festival in October is a day to inform the beginning of the dry cold season after a long rainy season. People living in rainy areas like Yangon are eagerly waiting for this day to come. In rural areas like Bagan, the farmers become active again because they must prepare to work in the fields with their cows to grow crops. But Thadingyut, the festival of light is one of Myanmar most enjoyable festivals and people of all ages will be participating in some kind of the festive events.

There are some Myanmar traditional festive events, such as offering one thousand candle lights to Pagoda (in some region, people offer eight thousand and ten thousand candle lights to Pagodas), paying homage to the elderly peoples (especially grandparents, parents, teachers, relatives and so on), children playing with fireworks, floating candle light with the lamps or small boats in the water, etc.

All the Burmese have their own childhood memories of the festival of lights. When I was young, I normally played hell fire with the others during the festival time. Playing hell fire is super easy and it costs nothing, first we need to collect the waxes and then grab a used iron cup (12 cm width at least) and matches. We need to dig a small hole and put some small fire woods then make the fire and burn the waxes which were put in the iron cup. Water is the key for making hell fire because water will make the fire grow bigger, strange huh! but it is true. When the waxes burn enough, splash some water in the iron cup like a magician. Nowadays playing fireworks during the festival time is strongly prohibited in the countryside because it can burn the houses. But the beauty of the festival of lights is still going on like the fruit riping behind the leaves. If you visit to Myanmar around that time of the year, you should experience this.

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