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TaungPyone Spirit Festival


Dates: August 19 – 26, 2018
Location: Taungpyone, north of Mandalay

The most important spirit or nat festival is the Taungpyone 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 who are descendents of the original village officials. Dressed in silks and satins, 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 spectators.

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Ma Thanegi writes prolifically about Myanmar, especially the people who are the country’s true representatives. She lives in Yangon."


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