Tazaungmone is the eighth month of Myanmar calendar. After Thadingyut festival, Tazaungmone comes with another lights festival named as Tazaungding, held on the full moon day of Tazaungmone. It falls in November and is a national holiday in Myanmar.
We now say goodbye to the rainy season and the night sky show its beauty with twinkling stars. There are lots of events such as providing robe and various requisites to monks at Ka-htain, Matho Thingan or Robe Weaving contest and Hot Air Balloon Flying Festival all in this eventful month .
This month is the famous month of Kahtain. After three long months of seclusive stay in the monastery during the lent without overnight travel, the ban on travelling Tazaungmone Festival Sammatha Cheng is lifted at the end. At such a time, many monks are in need of new robes. You will see a rows of wooden triangular structures decorated with coloured paper and hung with gifts, like sets of yellow robes and other offerings such as slippers, umbrellas, alms bowls, towels, cups, etc. Anyone is welcome to hang whatever he wishes to contribute, a kyat note, or a handkerchief or a cake of soap-no matter however small. Somethings, the tree is ornamented with new Myanmar currency notes folded into beautiful patterns such as birds, triangles artistically. Those wooden structures hung with gifts are called “padetha trees”and they can be seen at marketplaces, bus-stops or every corner of the country. It is the custom of the community to organize the offering of gifts,everyone contributing in cash or in kind. Members of the same profession or trade or people working in the same office form groups for this purpose and collect gifts for the monastery. Eventually people donate those padetha trees to their designated monastery on full moon day of Tazaungtaing or in the month of Tazaungmone. On the way to designated monasteries, they put those padetha trees on the cars or trishaws while playing cheerful music and showing them around town.
Mathoe Robe Weaving Contest
In offering robes to the Monks, there is no restriction on when robes should be offered. Mathoe Robe has a special significance. Mathoe robe means the weaving of the robe must be completed and must be offered to the Buddha before dawn. If the weaving of the robes is delayed and could not be completed, it becomes an unsuccessful work. Mathoe robes weaving ceremonies are being held at various prominent pagodas around Myanmar. The most significant Mathoe robes weaving contests in Myanmar is the one which celebrated on the Great Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Around nine teams of 60 religious associations of the Shwedagon Pagoda usually take part in the contests in the evening of the eve of the the full moon day of Tazaungmone. Each contesting team has six members including the team leader. When the contests stop at 10 P.M, the judges chose the winner and give prizes after they noted the team which can finish earliest and marked length and quality of “Mathoe Robes”. This ceremony is not only portrays good deeds of Myanmar people but also encourage the act of traditional weaving.
Hot-Balloon Flying Festival
One of the most popular tourist attractions to foreigners is Taunggyi Hot-Balloon flying festival celebrated in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State in Myanmar. Lu Ping festival commonly known as Hot-Balloon festival initially celebrated by Pa-O, one of the ethnic groups in the region. The festival is held on full moon day of Tazaungmone and usually takes at least for 5 days. Every balloon is hand-made using bamboo frames and locally produced paper, made from the mulberry plant. There are two parts in the competition: the daytime competition and the Nya Mee Gyi or the Big Night Balloons, sent up at night. Daytime flying is meant for competition of animal figures and night time is for fire-works, where groups try to gain points for the flight technique, coordination, form and colour of their huge 3-8m, home-made paper balloons, often in the shape of animals, to ultimately win the prize money. There is a traditional belief of Myanmar people at midnight of full moon day of Tazaungmone, they will live longer and healthier by eating Malzali bud salad which has a very bitter taste. The children naturally do not like the taste and just ran away from the elders who feed to them. Last but not least, children and teenager celebrate a custom called kyee ma now pwe (“crows do not wake up”) by playing prank on their neighbors through stealing each other’s petty things for fun. What a festive season we are having in this November.