Going to a Fire Balloon Festival in a remote part of Myanmar (formerly Burma) made me grin from ear to ear. I love seeing people having fun, taking some time from normal life, being tourists in their own world.
Held in in Taunggyi, the capital city of Shan State, this festival is a really big deal to the Burmese people.
The Fire Balloon Festival is held on the full moon day of Tazaungmon, the eighth month of the Burmese calendar, and is celebrated as a national holiday in Burma
It marks the end of the rainy season. It also marks the end of the Kathina (Kahtein in Burmese) season, during which monks are offered new robes and alms.
It was typical of festivals around the world with folks milling about, eating, looking at stuff to buy and enjoying the party atmosphere.
I especially got a kick out of these boys gathering around a fellow selling mobile phones. Look at the contrast between the young hipsters and the novice monks. They clearly share a common interest.
Of course, there were games. Here are some images of my husband taking his chance with throwing a ball and hitting bottles. I loved seeing the curious crowd he attracted. We didn’t see many foreign tourists so I imagine we were a novelty.
And then there’s the bounce house. This generated memories of how my grand daughters love a chance to go into an inflated palace of fun at festivals near where we live. Typically they are a staple at July 4th festivities.
But the big draw at this festival were the balloons set off into the sky. Teams of locals worked together to get their large balloons filled with hot air so they could set them off. Many burned up before they got off the ground. Here are some that made it and the Burmese people enjoying the effort.
If you like festivals, you might enjoy scenes from the Pushkar Camel Festival in India. There are strong similarities. Here is the link.