Bamboo lantern businesses resume in Mandalay

making traditional handmade lanterns
A man making traditional handmade lanterns at his workshop.  Photo: supplied

Myanmar traditional handmade lantern businesses are earning a good income as they resume their work again in Mandalay in time for the light festival during Thadingyut, according to the traditional handmade lantern makers. The Thadingyut Festival, the lighting festival of Myanmar, is held on the Full Moon of Thadingyut of Myanmar Lunar calendar. During the lighting festival, people hang colourful lanterns in their homes. This is also the time when lanterns and candles are selling well at almost every shop.
“But this year, the lantern businesses have to start rather late because of the pandemic. Last year, our business started before the Lent set out and we had thus got big market demand. But this year, we started making lanterns only when we received enough market orders. Lanterns are selling for between K1,500 and K2,500 each, depending upon the size, design and cartoon patterns. But we don’t have much demand compared to last year,” said Ko Mya Thwin, a lantern seller. “I am anxious about COVID-19, and I am also worried about the lantern market situation this year. But I have already decided to sell the lanterns during the lighting festival as a traditional business,” he added.
The traditional lanterns are made from coloured paper and bamboo. Ahead of the crafting process, lantern makers collect and trim bamboo. Then they bend it into shapes and affix the paper to the bamboo structure. Skilled artisans can shape lanterns into the elephants, peacocks or even aeroplanes. Paper lanterns made of bamboo are becoming rare, according to the traditional bamboo lantern markers.
The Thadingyut Festival is a significant one for Myanmar people, and it is usually celebrated for three days — before the Full Moon, on Full Moon and the day after Full Moon. During the festival, pagodas, temples and monasteries are crowded with the pilgrims, and the people light the candles around and illuminate the pagodas and houses with the electric bulbs— Aye Maung (Translated by Hay Mar)

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