Yadana Cave Festival held in Amarapura draws crowds

The week-long Yadana Cave pagoda festival and Nat (deity) festival worshipping spirits held in Amarapura Township, Mandalay Region, kicked off on 8 September and this fascinating festival showed arrays of stalls selling food, crafts, souvenirs, religious items and many more captivates pilgrims and those with animistic religious beliefs to worship spirits.
The last day of the festival falls on 14 September and alms will be offered to 150 monks, according to U Khin Maung Soe, secretary and a member of Yadana Cave Pagoda Board of Trustees.
“The pagoda was built in 745 ME by Inwa Mingyi Swar Saw Ke. The pagoda festival is an annual event. Nanmadaw Me Nu incorporated the Nat festival in it as a celebration of celestial beings. This year, the festival takes place as a tradition. What’s unique about this year’s event was the handover of appointments for the three Thoetaw Saung Queens (spirit mediums),” he elaborated.
Those who follow traditional beliefs come and enjoy the festival every year.
The pagoda and Nat festivals were derived from a welcoming ceremony for the stopover of the Taungbyone Nat brothers en route to the Poppa Medaw shrine.
The festival is crowded with spirit worshippers and vendors selling Myanmar’s traditional snacks, clothes and other goods.
The festival includes the opening ceremony of the pagoda festival, handing over of the certificate of appreciation for donations, a variety of Nat events and Poppa Medaw and other spirit mediums’ assemblies on the 7th-9th waning of Wagaung. The closing event will be held at 8 pm on 14 September. — Maung Aye Chan/EM

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