Shwedagon Pagoda Festival

Shwedagon Pagoda Festival

February-March; full moon day of the Burmese month of Tabaung
The people of Myanmar (formerly Burma) celebrate their local pagodas or temples on the full moon day in the month of Tabaung (February-March in the Gregorian calendar). Visitors to the pagoda take the opportunity to make offerings and to pray. Many people construct a pagoda out of sand, a custom thought to bring good luck.
The largest celebration is held at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the capital city of Myanmar. This ancient temple, which is more than 2,500 years old, is 300 feet tall and has a dome covered in gold and precious jewels. People selling flowers, incense, and little gold Buddhas line the steps leading to the pagoda, hoping to sell their wares to people who want to leave an offering at the shrine. Souvenirs, in the form of papier-mâchÉ dolls, hand-woven baskets, cloth and pottery, are for sale in the bamboo stalls clustered at the foot of the pagoda.
The dome of the Shwedagon Pagoda, with its two tons of gold and more than 5,000 diamonds, glitters so brightly that it can often be seen by airplanes flying overhead.
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:
CelebSouthAsia-1996