Every November scores of people gather in towns and cities throughout Myanmar to gaze in wonder at countless airborne animal-shaped balloons that illuminate the night sky. The Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Festival, otherwise known as the ‘Hot-air Balloon Festival’, is one of the major celebrations of the year and is a national holiday in Myanmar.
During the festival (which this year will take place from 12-17th November), locals playfully compete to see who can decorate the most beautiful and elaborate balloons, many of which take the shape of animals with elephants, birds, cows and ducks taking to the skies. The festival is possibly the reason the hyperbole “when pigs fly” has never caught on in Myanmar – as at least once a year you’ll be able to see exactly that.
The festival soundtrack is provided by traditional orchestras who inspire people to make donations to the local monasteries as they parade through the streets. The festival is truly a time for giving, and new robes are a popular gift to monks and monasteries.
Hundreds of fireworks add exclamation points to festivities and complement the illuminated balloons to create a spectacular night scene as locals gather together in high spirits to share elaborate feasts and fun.
The festival is one of our Yangon-based Travel Specialist Kyaw Htin’s favorites:
“Tazaungdiang is certainly one of the festivals I love the most,” reflected Kyaw when we asked him about Myanmar’s many celebrations. “The city is really crowded at this time, with people going to make offerings to monasteries and gathering together to have fun.
“I love this festival, not only for the colorful hot-air balloons, but because it’s a time for locals to enjoy themselves and everyone’s spirits are so high – there’s a buzz that uplifts the imaginations of young and old which makes it a special time.”
If you’re lucky enough to be in Myanmar this November, be sure to contact our Yangon-based Travel Specialists Kyaw Htin and Ei Ei Thwe (Helen) for some expert advice on where to go to see the best and most vibrant celebrations.