Country Facts

Celebrations and national holidays

Thingyan Festival (Water Festival) is the biggest festival in Myanmar, usually in April, coinciding with Burmese new year. Everyone is expected to get wet.

Thadingyut (Festival of Lights) a 3-day celebration. Fireworks and decorations.

Tazaungdaing (the second festival of lights) usually in November at the start of the rainy season.

Celebrities you should know

Ang La Nsang, “the Burmese Python”, kick-boxing champion.

Zarganar, Comedian

Sai Sai Kham Leng, singer and actor

Food: taboos and favourites

Muslims in Myanmar follow international Islamic taboos. Myanmar people generally eat anything, but maybe not a bloody beef steak, because of Buddhist beliefs.

Historical figures

General Aung San, father of Aung San Suu Kyi

U Thant, 3rd Secretary-General of the U.N. (1961-1971)

King Anawrahta, who reigned 1044 to 1077, the first king of all Myanmar

King Bayinaung the Conqueror, who reigned 1550 to 1581 and unified his country and made Myanmar the most powerful kingdom in mainland Southeast Asia.

King Alaungpaya, who reigned 1752–1760) who also unified Myanmar (then Burma) and founded a dynasty which lasted more than a century

Landmarks and places of cultural significance

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the biggest and the most famous in Myanmar.

Sule Pagoda in Yangon.

Bagan, a must-see place with thousands of temples and pagoda. A UNESCO heritage site.

The Golden Rock pagoda and Mount Popa, holy places where locals often come to pray.

Language skills and foreigners

English is the international language in Myanmar. Chinese and Japanese are the other two less-spoken foreign languages. Many people speak English. This includes older people who may speak even better than the young. For some time the military government tried to eliminate English from schools.

Music genres

Western pop, rock and hip-hop. K-pop.

Favourite sports

Football: people watch the matches together in tea shops. Kick boxing. Chinlone (the traditional national sport)

Symbols of identity

Places such as Bagan and Shwedagon Pagoda symbolise Myanmar. Mohingar is a nationally-loved fish soup. Thanaka traditional skin care and cosmetics products made from it are classically Myanmar. Longyi (clothes) and rubies are ways to dress very Myanmar. Burmese rubies dominate the world market for these stones. Thingyan festival, teakwood, and trishaw are also symbols of the nation.