Kalaw’s Lighting Festival returns in late November after 3-year hiatus

Kalaw, a picturesque and charming city in southern Shan State, plans to re-hold its two traditional fireworks festivals in Tazaungdine, known as the ‘Fire Tower Festival’ and the ‘Traditional Lighting Festival.’ These festivals, which showcase the city’s unique traditional style of lighting, were deferred for three years and are now set to take place this year, according to the festival celebration organizing committee.
The former festival is locally called the Meeshawdine Festival, while the latter is referred to as the Traditional Meekyarsan Conveying Festival.
A member of the committee, U Zaw Zaw Win, mentioned that the festival is scheduled to be held from 28 November to 1 December, spanning four days.
Both Kalaw’s Fire Tower Festival and Traditional Lighting Festival are considered rival fireworks festivals to the Taunggyi Tazaungdine Hot-air Balloon Festival, providing an equally stimulating experience for the public.
This year marks the 18th celebration of Kalaw’s fireworks festivals since their inception in 2002. The city couldn’t organize its traditional firework festivals due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
U Zaw Zaw Win explained, “It has been more than three years since the traditional Fire Tower Festival couldn’t be convened. This year, we will organize it from 28 November to 1 December for four days. Usually, it used to be celebrated for around seven days. However, this year will be only for four days. There are 11 residential wards in Kalaw, and each ward participates in lighting the fire tower. For the ‘Meekyarsan conveying festival’, people take part by creating their preferred and different designs of fireworks and go round the city in a systematic column by wearing traditional outfits.”
Kalaw residents refer to the lighting festival as the ‘Fire Tower Festival’ instead of the Tazaungdine Festival, he added.
The Fire Tower Festival is planned to be held in Kalaw Mawmyayoo Park, located beside the Clock Tower of Kalaw. There will also be a small product trade fair at the event.
The fire tower is at least 25 feet long and made up of pine trees, twisted with threads made of bamboo strips. Gunpowder coins are also used in combustion. Nearly 20 people are engaged in carrying a fire tower into the field where the festival is celebrated. — ASH/TMT

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