Full Moon Day of Thadingyut is one of the most important of public holidays in Myanmar. It is a Buddhist holiday that celebrates the coming of Buddha back from heaven after he had stayed there during Buddhist Lent, teaching his mother and other heavenly gods his various laws and doctrines.
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The holiday comes on the full moon of the Buddhist lunar month of Thadingyut, just after the completion of Lent. On the Gregorian Calendar, it often falls sometime in October.
Full Moon Day of Thadingyut is also known as Myanmar’s “Festival of Lights”. It is thought Buddha and other heavenly beings built a “star ladder” on Buddha’s way down to earth and that people put lights all over their homes to welcome him. Today, the tradition of lighting up buildings continues. Across the country, people also use clay lamps fuelled by sesame seed oil and a cotton wick.
On Full Moon Day of Thadingyut, there are fundraising drives for charities, musical performances, street dancing, and all manner of festivities and entertainment. It is also a day on which children pay respects to their elders and on which many couples get married after the long Lenten period, which traditionally is not supposed to have any weddings.