Kahtein Pwe

Kathina is one of the famous festivals in Myanmar retreat for Theravada Buddhists. This festival is held within a month usually around October and November based on Lunar calendar at every monastery. During this period, people prepare “Kahtein Tree” called “Ba day tha bin” which is hung with many required items for monks such as food, drinks, money, and compulsory new robe to express their gratitude to Buddha. The yellow robes called “Matho Thingan” are also offered to Buddha images on the full moon day of Tazaungmon in Myanmar calendar.

Myanmar Traditional Wedding Ceremony

Myanmar women regard as marrying is a once in a lifetime that they seriously consider to get married and also celebrate the wedding ceremony graciously at utmost effort. Traditionally, all wedding expenses are born by a bride’s family. But, it is not the custom of some regions or national races or families.

Wedding ceremony is held in different styles varying on the budget constraints such as Ceremony by offering food to the Sangha at monastery or at home, court marriage ceremony, wedding reception at a hotel or restaurant and dinner. Although rich people usually held all four ceremonies in different places, some people combine all together at one place by only offering food to the Sangha, family members, relatives and neighbors. Myanmar traditional wedding dresses are made of silk with very bright color and both bride and bridegroom wear the same color mostly yellow, pink and white.

All invited guests and family members give the couple with presents such as money, household items or personal affects which will be useful for their new life. After the wedding ceremony, the bride and bridegroom pay homage to their parents at home. There is also a lovely and funny custom that newly couple has to pay some pocket money to their close friends and relatives who are blocking by rows in front of the bride/groom’s bed room with holding each row by golden necklace or chain to give permission to enter.

All invited guests and family members give the couple with presents such as money, household items or personal affects which will be useful for their new life. After the wedding ceremony, the bride and bridegroom pay homage to their parents at home. There is also a lovely and funny custom that newly couple has to pay some pocket money to their close friends and relatives who are blocking by rows in front of the bride/groom’s bed room with holding each row by golden necklace or chain to give permission to enter.

The Shinbyu or Novice hood Ceremony

Most Myanmar people believe in Buddhism, which is about 85% of the population. Therefore, the tradition of Shinbyu or Novitiation into the monkhood is the most gracious for all Buddhist families. They believe that if their sons have been initiated into novice-hood at least on in his life, the parents will not suffer in hell in the next existence. Even though the family does not have a boy, they look for someone to do for the Buddhist boys. This ceremony is the most important event as a family earns great merit when a son forsakes his childhood life and put on the robe of the monk. Most of the Shin Pyu ceremonies are held throughout the country especially in the months of March and April as the young boys have a long summer vacation as well as parents also have long holidays during Myanmar New Year days. Another reason is that farmers and those associated with agriculture are financially better off during these months with profits from their crops. 

On ceremony day, the family members, relatives and the boy who becomes a novice dress nicely and visit the most famous pagodas in the morning to let the public know about the ceremony and let spirits (nats) to know that they have not been forsaken and they are welcomed to share the good merits of this occasion. After that, the young boy’s hair is shaving by one of the monks in the monastery, while the parents hold a piece of white cloth in front of the boy to collect the boy’s hair. Then, the boy has to wear the robe and believing in Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Mostly, all invited guests are hosted meal at a monastery until 12:00 noon. After the ceremony, the parent and family members go back home but the novice has to live in a monastery for a few days but not limited as to how long he remains as novice by learning Buddha’s words and practicing meditation.

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