Myanmar's renowned hot air balloon festival in Taunggyi will resume this year after being cancelled for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, event organisers said recently.
This year’s festival will take place on Nov 21-27 at the Awaiyar hot air balloon square in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan state, they said.
More than 60 night hot air balloons and numerous daytime hot air balloons will be launched during the festival. A total of 115 night hot air balloons and 281 daytime hot air balloons were launched during the festival in 2019.
“We aim to preserve this tradition and pass it on to the younger generations,” spokesperson of Shan state government U Khun Thein Maung said.
The festival will consist of not only the launching of hot air balloons but also fireworks displays and a robe-weaving competition. The vibrant celebration is expected to enhance the tourism industry by attracting both local and international visitors, thereby bolstering the local economy, organisers said.
“The hot air balloon festival will boost the income of our local residents, as tourists from home and abroad come to the festival,” said an official from the southern Shan state traditional hot air balloon professionals association.
Myanmar’s Tazaungdaing Festival, also known as the Festival of Lights, traditionally occurs on the full moon day of Tazaungmon, the eighth month in the Myanmar calendar. It marks the conclusion of the rainy season and the Kathina season, during which monks are offered new robes.
In various regions of Myanmar, illuminated hot air balloons are released during the festival, similar to the Yi Peng celebrations in northern Thailand. These balloons are set aloft as offerings, intended to dispel evil spirits according to local religious beliefs.
Among Tazaungdaing festivals in Myanmar, Taunggyi’s hot air balloons and firework-launching festival is the most prominent. The origin of Taunggyi’s hot air balloon festival dates back to 1894. – Xinhua