Tazaungdaing

Tazaungdaing

October-November; full moon day of Burmese month of Tazaungmone
The Tazaungdaing festival was observed in Burma (now officially called Myanmar) even before the spread of Buddhism. It was held in honor of the God of Lights, and it marked the awakening of the Hindu god Vishnu from his long sleep. Burmese Buddhists later attached their own religious significance to the festival, saying that this was the night that Siddhartha's mother, sensing that her son was about to discard the royal robes of his birth and put on the robes of the monkhood, spent the entire night weaving the traditional yellow robes for him. To commemorate her achievement, a weaving contest is held at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Rangoon (now called Yangon). Another festival activity is the offering of Kathin robes to the Buddhist monks to replace the soiled robes they have worn throughout the rainy season. This offering ceremony begins on the first waning day of Thadingyut and continues until the full moon night of Tazaungmone.
The Tazaungdaing festival is celebrated by sending up fire balloons and lighting multicolored lanterns, especially at the Sulamani Pagoda in Tavatimsa. Sometimes called the Tawadeintha Festival, this day commemorates the return of Gautama Buddha from his visit to heavenly Tawadeintha to visit his mother's reincarnated spirit. Holy men with lit candles illuminated his path back to earth.
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:
BkHolWrld-1986, Nov 19
EncyRel-1987, vol. 2, p. 552
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 781
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Those who visit this scenic spot in mid to late November can witness the unique and joyful Tazaungdaing Light Festival, which sees myriad different sized balloons made from bamboo and Shan paper take to the skies and a spectacle of fireworks under the cover of darkness.