Burma Local Custom Tips by hydronetta
Burma Local Customs: 141 reviews and 197 photos
When visiting temples you'll most often see people and monks praying and meditating. The sight is very inspiring.
I am not buddhist to give you full details on meditation but luckily internet is useful sourse. Read more here for example: http://www.geocities.com/ekchew.geo/bl015.html
details for architecture enthusiasts
A pagoda, in Myanmar like elsewhere in Southeast Asia, is cone-shaped monumental structure built in memory of Buddha. The pagoda derives from the stupa of ancient India, which was a dome-shaped commemorative monument, usually erected over the remains or relics of a holy man or king. The finial, or decorative crowning ornament of the stupa, became more elongated and cylindrical until the stupa's upper portion took on an attenuated, tower-like appearance.
The stupa consists of several parts bearing different names which you can easily find out from the photo attached
Xmas decoration outside our hotel
I felt surprise to see Xmas decoration in all of the hotels we stayed at in Mynamar. I thought this was mainly to make tourists feel like at home as Mynamar is a Bouddhist country.
I was even more surprised to find out that Xmas is an official holiday for Myanmar as well. When I asked why, they said that all religions are treated equally by the state, so major Christian, Buddhist or Muslim festivals are public holidays.
planetary post, Shwedagon paya
The day of the week a person is born is added in someones name and determines their planetary post, eight in all (Wednesday is split in two, morning/evening).
They are marked by animals that represent the day, galon (garuda) for Sunday , tiger for Monday, lion for Tuesday , tusked elephant for Wednesday a.m, tuskless elephant for Wednesday p.m. , mouse for Thursday , guinea pig for Friday and naga (mythical dragon/serpent) for Saturday .
Each planetary post has a Buddha image and devotees offer flowers and prayer flags and pour water on the image with a prayer and a wish.
Like elsewhere in SE Asia, couples are very modest in their behaviour towards each other in public. You will never see them embracing each other and kissing.
BUT, in some cases young people are always against all odds and they express more and more their feelings to their beloved one
Probably like elsewhere in the world, there is an upper middle class that is able to celebrate their wedding in a more westernised way.
Our hotel (Summit Parkview) in Yangon proved to be a popular place to hold wedding receptions.
Similarities: the white wedding dress, photographer and videographer. Every guest is bringing a present (or money I think) all of which are collected at the hotel entrance.
Differences: Unlike in my country there is ahuge picture of the celebrating couple. The reception lasts only for 2 hours and I think it doesn't include meal but just drinks. There can be receptions every 2 hours on busy days
The Kayan also known as Padaung, is a well famed (and photographed) tribe for the coiling lengths of brass around the necks of the women. They are a tribe with turbulent history: in the 1990s, due to conflict with the military regime in Burma, many fled into neighbouring Thailand where they settled in the border area. In fact there, are more or less like a human zoo, as lots of tourists are willing to pay, in order to visit them and make photos..
The tribe wears rings or coils made of brass that are placed around the neck. The coils are first applied when the girls are about five years old. This results in the appearance of a very long neck. The rings, once on, are seldom removed but contrary to myth, the women do not suffocate. There are many explanations about why these coils are used: protect from tiger bites, protection them against slave trade by making them unattractive or more likely, it reflects the neck of a dragon.
A not so uncommon sight in Myanmar is to see women smoking these localy produced cigars. In fact I tried one myself and bought several ones from Inle lake at local producing factory. Smoke is stripped around a dried leaf and a natural filter is added. No chemicals added.
The blend smelled nice there, I can;t say it tastes the same back at home... (some things taste better where they produced)
We had the unique luck to take an idea of daily monk life at a monastery in Bago.
Of special interest was the studying lessons:
Becoming a Buddhist monk means that someone is joining a community – the sangha – the purpose of which is to study and practice the Buddha’s teachings in order to keep them alive, and whenever possible, to share them with others. One should have a thorough understanding of the fundamental teachings of the Buddha, such as the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lam Rim) and so forth. This normally requires several years of study and practice under the guidance of a qualified teacher.
It was fascinating to witness the teaching procedure (it took place just before lunch): the young monks were lying on the flour with their books in front of them rather sitting in desks and in one voice they were repeating their teacher’s worlds, making the whole procedure like singing.
Thankfully we were allowed to take photos, in fact noone paid attention to our presence..
It's quite common to see phone services in the form of 2-3 telephones in the middle of the street. I suspect that telecommunications are ageing in Myanmar and not affordable for the majority of people.
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