Myanmar Independence Day

Myanmar Independence Day

January 4
The southeast Asian country of Burma, renamed Myanmar in 1989 by its military government, was under the control of the British for more than a century. During World War II, the Japanese captured Burma and created a puppet state, which came to an end when the Japanese were driven out at the end of the war in 1945. The Burmese people were unwilling to return to British rule, and when they were given their independence on January 4, 1948, they refused to join the British Commonwealth.
The capital, Yangon (formerly Rangoon), is decorated for the Independence Day festivities. Most of the people dress in their national costume, which consists of an aingyi (blouse or shirt) and a longyi (skirt). Women draw the longyi to one side, fold it back to the opposite side, and tuck it in at the waist, while men tie theirs in front. The Burmese are unusual in that they have kept their national dress longer than most other southeast Asian countries. Although men often wear regular Western shirts, on Independence Day they're more likely to put on their collarless Burmese shirts. A dish known as panthay khowse (noodles and chicken) is traditionally served on this day, as is nga sak kin (curried fish balls). The preferred beverage is tea.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
2300 S St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-332-3344; fax: 202-332-4351
www.mewashingtondc.com
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 4
NatlHolWrld-1968, p. 12
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