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Balloons fly high in Myanmar

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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.

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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.

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Not only were there stalls, but individuals meandered the festival with all kinds of stuff to buy.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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If you like festivals, you might enjoy scenes from the Pushkar Camel Festival in India. There are strong similarities. Here is the link.

Pushkar Camel Festival in India 

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

Comments

5 Comments
  1. posted by
    Kathy
    Mar 23, 2016 Reply

    Hot air balloons would be about the last thing I would expect to see in Myanmar. You did a great job capturing the awesome spectacle!

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Mar 24, 2016 Reply

      Thank you. This do this every year. I understand there is a big festival in Thailand like this as well that people come to see from all over the world. We were lucky to be able to participate.

      I also understand that they send off many more balloons at night and that is marvelous to see. The fair ground was too far away for us to travel there at night so we didn’t do that but I imagine it was a terrific experience as well.

  2. posted by
    Sherri Wood
    Mar 23, 2016 Reply

    Oh my — the images of the zebras in the clouds is great. Did all the balloons get released? Can you imagine sitting on the ground, looking up at clouds and seeing these animals —

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Mar 24, 2016 Reply

      Hi Sherri, I twas really fun to see them be released. WE were there in the after noon when the locals worked in teams to set off their balloons as an exhibition. People came in large groups from the villages, many times in costume and with music. Quite festive.

      Some of them burned up on the ground and other burned up as they lifted into the sky. You can imagine the excitement of the groups who were successful in sending their balloons off over the mountains. It was really fascinating and fun.

      sjs

  3. posted by
    Kate Coeur
    Mar 29, 2016 Reply

    Susan – WHAT FUN! I love the images of fantastical creatures floating so high in the sky.

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