Musical celebration of Gandhiji’s life in Yangon
draws crowds despite a rainy opening
Rain may have dampened the initial opening of the Yeykyaw Thadingyut Festival in Yangon running from October 10 to 14 but the annual event drew thousands of revelers.
The event was part of the holy Thadingyut Festival, also known as the Lighting Festival of Myanmar, which is held on the full moon day of the Burmese lunar month of Thadingyut. As a custom, it is held at the end of the
Buddhist sabbath and is the second most popular festival in Myanmar after the Thingyan Festival holiday.
The Yeykyaw celebration drew people to Yekyaw Road and parts of
Bogyoke Road, Botahtaung Road and Upper Pazaungdaung Road in Yangon.
Apart from the first night “washout” due to heavy rain, the five-day light festival attracted thousands of people to view the entertainment and taste the food.
The event saw mobile vendors set up their shops, the same vendors who come year after year.
The vendors provided an amazing mix. There were shops providing gourd fritters, roast quails, roast chickens, Htamane, Yay Mone, and Mone Paung, and the Myint Thamada ferris-wheel. There were soothsayers and even a stall seeking donations to feed a python.
People from all corners of Yangon converged on the crowded festival. Some revelers said the snacks and food prices were unaffordable to many common people in Yangon.
On the other hand, the vendors argued that they had to fix these high prices as they had to pay high rent for their temporary shop space.
Yekyaw festival is always crowded and some visitors to this festival said that more people came this year.
A visitor who visits Yekyaw lighting festival annually said, “Yekyaw festival was very crowded and it was very hard to move even an inch in the crowd. We could not even stand in front of the shops to buy something as the teeming crowd pushed us from behind. We had to struggle a great deal to leave which made us sweaty.”
A book seller complained that he made a loss this year from his shop as many people came but only a few people bought his books.
Along with the festival vendors, some companies came and opened shops for promotion of their products and services in the festival. There was also a Thai cuisine shop called Khin Waing Chit opened by actor Aung Ye Htike and book shops with political books.
Actor Aung Ye Htike said, “I did my performing art work all the year but I usually come to my mom’s shop every year during this five-day festival. I am happier this year than previous years as my fans came and showed their love to me. I thank all my fans for visiting and buying food from our shop.”
Of course, once the festival closed, all that was left when the stalls were removed was garbage, which was cleaned up by the Yangon municipal authority the following morning.
This light festival has been held for over 50 years, was closed between 2002 and 2010, and resumed in 2011.
People have fun on a ferris wheel at the festival. Photo: Thura for Mizzima
Time to relax and have some fun. Photo: Thura for Mizzima