What is Popa Guardian Spirits Festival?
The Popa Guardian Spirits Festival honors the 37 nature spirits (Nats) worshipped in conjunction with Buddhist traditions in Myanmar.
Nat worship is the continuation of animist traditions that permeated Myanmar before the spread of Buddhism in the 11th century. As King Anawrahta was consolidating his power over the region that would later be known as Burma under British rule and is today called Myanmar, his failed attempts to stamp out animist practices resulted in a pantheon of 37 Nats being enshrined in the country’s growing Buddhist culture. These spirits are said to be the masters of both good and bad fortune for the people of Myanmar, and most family homes contain a small shrine dedicated to one of these spirits.
During the Popa Guardian Spirits Festival, the residents of Yangon and pilgrims from across Myanmar gather in a ritual celebration meant to garner religious merit and promote a year of good fortune. The Nats, who above all else appear to love a good party, are called to the festival grounds with ritual dances, songs, and gifts of liquor. It’s believed that the rowdier the party, the happier these minor deities are with the festival goers, and it falls to spirit mediums called Nat Kadaw to whip the days long event into a frenzy to appease the Nats.
When is Popa Guardian Spirits Festival?
The Popa Guardian Spirits Festival usually falls in December, but a traditional lunar calendar is used to choose Myanmar’s many festivals throughout the year, which can shift the exact dates by several weeks each year. With advance planning, our Travel Specialists can make the appropriate arrangements for you to experience the Popa Guardian Spirits Festival while enjoying one of our luxury tours of Myanmar.
Popa Guardian Spirits Festival Highlights:
The Popa Guardian Spirits Festival illuminates the ancient animist traditions that pervade Myanmar’s Buddhist culture. The event is a lively experience that should not be missed.
Where is Popa Guardian Spirits Festival Celebrated?
The Popa Guardian Spirits Festival is held in Yangon’s northern suburbs, which can be reached in as little as 20 minutes in a private vehicle departing from downtown.
It’s best to dress conservatively while attending religious events in Myanmar. Attire that covers shoulders to knees is appropriate for this festival.