Mu­si­cal cel­e­bra­tion of Gand­hiji’s life in Yan­gon

draws crowds de­spite a rainy open­ing

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS - Aye Chan Khaing

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

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