Climbing the grease pole

Photo - Sithu Lwin

Climbing the grease pole has been a rural tradition in Myanmar since a few centuries.It is a fun event that village boys enjoy, at any festivity where the organising committee of elders arranges which event to include at which festival with the final approval of the Abbot of their monastery.

A tall wooden pole is thoroughly greased and a bundle of cash and gifts tied to the top as the prize.

Burmese men wear the wrap around tubular longyi which is easily tucked up front to back between the legs and firmly tucked into the waist at the back: and there they have it, an instant pair of shorts. Their shirts are removed to not get grease on it and besides it a chance to show off their abs.


 With encouraging cries from family and friends, up they go all at once, trying to keep their hold on the pole while doing their best to pull down whoever's higher up. Its not only the prize but the look in the eyes of the girlfriend that urges them to do their best.

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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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