The Myanmar Times
Friday, 25 April 2014
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Kengtong festival celebrates Shan culture

A Shan performer attends the opening ceremony for the Shan New Year festival in Kengtong on Wednesday, December 12. (Thandar Khine/The Myanmar Times)A Shan performer attends the opening ceremony for the Shan New Year festival in Kengtong on Wednesday, December 12. (Thandar Khine/The Myanmar Times)

A celebration to ring in year 2107 on the Shan calendar was held in Kengtong in eastern Shan State from Wednesday, December 12 to Friday, December 14, drawing up to 200,000 people to the jam-packed festival grounds where the lively sounds of long drums and gongs could be heard throughout the event.

“We didn’t expect so many people to come for the celebration, but I think we had up to 200,000 visitors,” Sai Sam Tip (Tiger), secretary of Shan New Year Celebration Committee, told The Myanmar Times on Friday, December 14.

“We invited at least three representatives from every Shan subgroup in the country and from abroad. Almost every group came, and some appeared with big groups of 20 to 30 people,” he said.

“More than 100 people came from Tachileik. They even postponed their New Year celebration until [Sunday] December 16 so they could come here.”

As a result, the event was almost “too big”, especially since it was the first time the committee had called so many people to Kengtong for the event.

“We learned a lot from our mistakes this year, and we will make it better for next year,” he said. “But it was very impressive to see so many Shan people together. It’s a sign of the unity of the Shan people.”

Sai Sam Tip said similar celebrations will be held every year, with the venue rotating from city to city.

The opening ceremony on Wednesday, December 12 started at 9:09am, based on the belief among the Shan that nine is a lucky number.