Experts seek inclusion of Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival on World Heritage List

2023 sskm
This photo showcases elaborately adorned elephant figures participating in the enchanting Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival, a cherished intangible cultural heritage of Myanmar.

Thadingyut Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival with elephant-dressing toy donation event was celebrated on a grand scale this year in Kyaukse, Mandalay Region.
The Thadingyut Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival was held on 28 October and the elephant-dressing toy donation event was conducted on 29 October.
This year, more than 100 elephants participated in the Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival, and there were a total of 19 elephants, including two living elephants.
‘‘Kyaukse Eelphant Dance Festival and traditional elephant-dressing toy donation event is the only one in the world, so they want to submit it to the world heritage list,’’ said U Zaw Gyi, the referee of Kyaukse Eelphant Dance Festival, who is also an expert on the elephant dance.
Compared to last year, the number of elephants participating in this year’s Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival increased, so the new generation of elephant dance winners increased.
Myin Sai Zarni Elephant Dance Troupe which won the competition threw the entire elephant-dressing toy down Shwethalyaung Mountain in Kyaukse as donated the elephant-dressing toy, while the rest of the troupes members also donated small elephant-dressing toys. The Kyaukse elephant dance festival began during the reign of King Anawrahta when the Buddha’s sacred tooth relics was conveyed on a white elephant to erect a pagoda.
King Anawrahta’s dedication to the white elephant (Sinma Yintha) which carried the sacred tooth relics of the Buddha, has become a rituals of donating 10 female elephant-dressing toys along with the donation of food and the emerald alms-bowl and lamp-lighting ceremony.
This tradition is held every year in Kyaukse, and later, in addition to donating elephant-dressing toys, elephant dance competitions are also held. — TC/KZL

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