Friday, December 2, 2016

Winter Traditions and Holidays Part 5

Tazaungdaing festival (Festival of Lights)

  • of Lights is held on the full moon day of Tazaungmon, (November 14 this year) and is celebrated as a national holiday in Burma as the end of the rainy season.
  • It also marks the end of the Kathina season, during which monks are offered new robes and alms.
  • Robe-weaving competitions to weave special yellow monk robes are also held throughout the country
  •  During these competitions, held for two consecutive nights, contestants work nonstop from night until dawn to weave these garments.
  •  The tradition commemorates a widely known story of the Buddha's life. Seeing that the Buddha would soon renunciate, the Buddha's mother, Maya, who had been reborn in the Tavatimsa heaven, spent the entire night weaving yellow monk robes for him. Her sister Gotami (Buddha's aunt) continued this tradition and offered new robes annually.
  • In Shan State, hot air balloons lit with candles, are released to celebrate the full moon day. The balloons are released as an offering or as a way to drive away evil spirits.
  • Almsgiving and charity, both religious and secular, including feasts are also commonly undertaken during this festival
  • Others return home to pay homage to elders (gadaw) and visit pagodas.

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