Travel Sector Updates

Pyin Oo Lwin’s Fire balloon festival increasingly enjoyed as Traditional

ျပင္ဦးလြင္ မီးပံုးပ်ံပြဲေတာ္မွာ ပါ၀င္ယွဥ္ၿပိဳင္ေနသည္ကိုေတြ႕ရစဥ္ Photo - Sithu Lwin

Primarily because of the fire balloon festival held along since 14 years ago, the festival of a Buddhist temple in Pyin Oo Lwin is increasingly bustled with local and foreign visitors to immerse themselves in interesting local culture.

At the temple known as Mahar Aunc Htoo Kan Thar, the fire balloon festival takes place on November 19-23, which marks the end of the rainy season with the full moon day of Tazaung Mone in the Myanmar lunar calendar.

During the festival period, there are contests of weaving robes from lotus fibers to offer the Buddha image enshrined in the temple, sending fire balloons laden with elaborate candle designs and fireworks into the night sky has becoming traditional, says an official with the organizing committee.

As well, the festivities are enriched with a variety of several fun activities such as traditional sporting events, dances, photography contests, performing drama series, and playing games of toy aircrafts by remote control.

Contests to get fire balloons ascending into the sky are categorized into three. The first one is of fire balloons laden with decorative displays of gunpowder fireworks. The second is of fire balloons to which smaller fire balloons are attached to form something or someone.

The third is of those beautifully crafted into the forms of an animal that are sent into the day sky to decorate by single or in a grouping.

The number of contestant parties is set for each category. There will be ten parties for the first; the second invites 19 parties; and the third could allow 35 parties to participate. A different panel of judges will be assigned to each category of competition.

“We planned so in order for the judge panels to give fair marks and decide correctly, which is supposed to be better than the previous years,” said U Kyaw Htay Ko, secretary of the committee.

Attractive prizes would be awarded to winners. The first prize for the first category is Kyat 5.5 million; the runner-up is to bag Kyat 4.0 million; and the third is Kyat 3.0 million.

Looking at the second category, the first prize is K2.0 million; the second, K1.5 million; and the third, K1.0 million. And, there will be other outstanding prizes to award.

“If there is a malfunction such as a premature setting-off of the fireworks or a blow-up of the balloon itself, falling to the ground, we have set up a system to apply rain showers over the malfunction,” U Kyaw Htay Ko said.

And also, he said there were already 60 participants from many parts of the country, to take part in playing games of toy aircrafts by remote control.

In previous years, to organize Pyin Oo Lwin’s fire balloon festival had to seek the expertise in gunpowder and crafting fire balloons from the city of Taunggyi.

“For now, Pyin Oo Lwin has raised six groups of the expertise,” said the festival responsible officials of the city’s changes in this traditional aspect.  

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Sithu Lwin is a freelance writer and a photographer, having worked for the Myanmar Consolidated Media Co. Ltd for 15 years. He has ever written many news articles and travel features, a lot of stories on government business and urban affairs for the company's flagship newspaper The Myanmar Times. As well, Sithu Lwin wrote about food and drugs for both English and Myanmar editions of the paper. On the sideline, he worked as a photographer for Now magazine, another publication of the media company, coming up with photographs of models' activities and art events for it. Based in Mandalay, he was also a staff member with the distribution unit of the company, before he jumped on the bandwagon of its editorial team in early 2011.


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