Festivals are the best occasions to observe the native customs and traditions. Myanmar has festivals the whole year around. These festivals are mostly religious in nature but there are also festivals that the ethnic groups hold annually. One of these is the Naga New Year Festival held on the high mountains of Naga Hills between India and Myanmar. The Naga tribes will congregate at the town designated as the year's celebration venue and mark their New Year. Normally this celebration falls on 15th and 16th of January every year. In Myanmar, this celebration normally rotates around 3 townships on the Naga Hills, west of the Chindwin River.
Another festival of note is the Kachin Manau New Year Festival, normally held in Myitkyina and Putao. The Kachin people live on the northern mountains and the New Year Manau Festival normally fall on January 10th every year. The various Kachin sub-groups and the Rawang ethic group gather at these places to mark their New Year.
The Chin people also mark their National Day annually on February 20th at both Mindat, in the southern Chin State and Haka, in the northern Chin State simultaneously. The various Chin clans gather at these venues in their colourful native costumes with dance performances etc.
Myanmar can also be called "The Land of Festivals". All pagodas in the country celebrate pagoda festivals according to their own calendars, whether it is just a small white washed village pagoda or the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. At these times the pious people of Myanmar would gather at these pagodas or monasteries to observe the Sabbath or perform other merit making deeds. Most pagoda festivals in Myanmar are held when the Buddhist Lent has ended and the harvest is collected and sold. But on the Sagaing Hills pagoda festivals of more famous pagodas are celebrated even during the Buddhist Lent.
And apart from the ceremonies at pagodas and monasteries, Myanmar people also hold private religious ceremonies in their own homes. These can be either close private celebrations or collective endeavors. Calendar of Myanmar pagoda festivals should be enquired ahead if you wish to participate in them.
Nats are supernatural beings peculiar to the Myanmar people. Most of these beings had met with terrible deaths were caused by the reigning kings of those times offended with the actions of these while in the realm of the humans. Many Myanmar people believe that these supernatural beings can bring them good luck and fortune if properly worshipped and many do worship them. Nat pwes or Dances of Thanksgiving to these supernatural beings can also be sponsored by individuals to pay respect or thank them for the favours granted by them. One of the most famous of these is the Taungbyone Nat Festival held annually in the Myanmar month of Wagaung(August). Another is the Nat Festival at Mt. Popa. Regular nat dances can also be seen at Hinthagone pagoda in Bago. Please enquire the dates at your travel agents.