Myanmar: Hot Air Balloon Festival, Taunggyi
In Taunggyi, Shan State, about 160 miles southeast of Mandalay, locals celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent with a Hot-Air Balloon Festival. The Festival Grounds outside Taunggyi becomes a tourist hotspot – quite literally – at 8pm, when the organizers launch large, gaudily-decorated fire balloons made out of papier-mache.
Sedate the sight is not: as the balloons rise to a height of 60 feet in the air, fireworks on the balloons explode, sending streaks and sparks all across the sky to the delight of the viewers on the ground!
Myanmar: Kahtein Robe Weaving Competitions, Yangon
On the full-moon day of Tazaungmon (the eighth month of the Buddhist calendar), the Myanmar mark the end of the rainy season with festivities all across the country. This is the traditional end of Buddhist Lent, known as Kahtein in the local language, when monks are traditionally presented with new robes by the communities they serve.
Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon marks Kahtein with a robe-weaving competition, where teams of weavers work on traditional looms starting on the night before the full moon’s eve and ending at the night of the full moon itself. This is repeated throughout the country, with devotees visiting major temples to present new robes to their local monks.