This festival is known as a major gathering spot for spiritual mediums. Hundreds of believers and mediums (natkadaw) come once a year to Taung Byone. It is the
This festival is known as a major gathering spot for spiritual mediums. Hundreds of believers and mediums (natkadaw) come once a year to Taung Byone. It is the most impressive Nat festival in Myanmar.
Taung Pyone is the site where two brother serving a king of Bagan in the 11th century were executed. They became powerful spirits or Nat. This festival in their honor is attended by tens of thousands of mediums and worshipers. A ritual is celebrated each day. Toddy palm wine, whisky, rum, grilled rabbit and fried chicken are offered to the two spirit brothers. Orchestras come to play for the mediums who dance to make the spirits joyful.
Myanmar is a land of festivals. They reflect the cultural diversity of the country’s many ethnic groups. The Taung Pyone festival this month is a colorful event celebrating the traditions and beliefs of the Myanmar people and paying tribute to the venerated nats, or spirits. Myanmar people believe that nats can bring good omens, foresee the future and provide guidance. Taung Pyone, which dates back to the Bagan period and is one of Myanmar’s biggest festivals, draws hordes of visitors who believe nats from all over the country come to enjoy the celebrations.
The most important spirit or nat festival is the Taung Pyone Festival held in August or September each year. This ancient village near Mandalay was where the two brothers Min Gyi and Min Galay were unfairly executed so it is their main shrine. Eleven days of rituals are conducted by officials. Dressed in silks and stins, and made up as if for traditional dance performance, spirit mediums dance while being possessed, and the spirit in them ‘eats’ the food offered by smelling, although with drinks such as whisky they can drink up the whole bottle in several swallows without the medium getting drunk. A traditional orchestra of a drum circle, oboe, cymbals, brass gongs and the big drum accompanies the dances with music especially composed for the spirits. Mediums dance and sing while cash notes are pined to the medium’s jacket by the donors and more tossed to the musicians and spectors.
August 26 (Wednesday) - September 2 (Wednesday)