Thadingyut is a seven-month of Burmese calendar and the end of lent. Three days of lights festival. namely the day before full moon. the full moon day and the days after. Illuminations are there to celebrate the anniversary of Buddha’s return from the celestial abode where He had spent the lent teaching the celestials about His Law. Among the gods was the one who was the mother of Buddha. reborn there. It was on the full moon day of Thadingyut month that Buddha descended to the abode of humans. He and His disciples were attended by a heavenly host of celestials who created a pathway of star ladder. Buddhist on earth illuminated the homes and streets to welcome Buddha and His disciples.
Myanmar is rich in culture. and has developed its own distinctive culture. Buddhism has great influence on the daily lives of Myanmar people.
The Full Moon Day of Thadingyut is the Lighting Festival of Myanmar. The festival is held at the end of the lent on the festival day it as a custom. It celebrates the descent of Buddha from heaven after he preached the Abidhama (the most difficult of Buddhist teaching) to his mother reborn in heaven.
When Lord Buddha descended from heaven after preaching his reborn mother. people all over the country light candles to welcome back. As years passed by. it became a tradition and a festival. The festival in a small town and villages are more enjoyable than in cities. In small towns. there are small earthen saucers filled with sesame oil where pieces of cotton are used as wicks. People collect donations for charity. decoration and entertainment purposes. Roads and streets are full with amateur dancing groups. music troupes. stalls and spectators for free entertainment. On the festival day. groups of young people and children can be seen walking with candles and gifts in their hands to pay respect elders. In Burmese we call Kadaw. actually it is more than paying respects or doing obeisance. For the Buddhist. the Buddha. His law. His Order of the Sangha. Parents and Teachers are the first to be reserved. next come those who are older and those to whom we owe gratitude.
Marriages are usually tabooed during the Buddhist lent. perhaps this customs is a bit conservative. but weddings during the lent are really rare. It is more fun to begin one’s married life amidst festivities. Thadingyut. therefore. is not only replete with festivities. but also an auspicious Myanma custom of remembering gratitude.
Younger people pay homage to elders during this season. They ask for forgiveness if they have committed any and in return. the elders give them back love and forgiveness.