Sunday, August 20, 2017

Nay Pyi Taw security rules to be relaxed for festival

A Tabaung full moon festival in Pyinmana in February 2010. Photo: The Myanmar TimesA Tabaung full moon festival in Pyinmana in February 2010. Photo: The Myanmar Times

Residents of Pyinmana have welcomed Nay Pyi Taw Council’s decision to relax a ban on all-night pagoda festivals imposed when it became the capital in November 2005.

The ending of the ban will come into effect for the 94th “28-pagoda festival” from October 29 to 31, an official from the Pyinmana Township General Administrative Office said last week.

The festival, which sees motorised floats designed as pagodas travel through the town, was celebrated throughout the night but from 2006 until this year the Nay Pyi Taw Council had set an 11pm curfew.

“Nay Pyi Taw Council has allowed the festival to be held all night this year but religious teams have to take responsibility for security themselves,” said U Kyaw Tint, head of the Pyinmana Township General Administrative Office.

U Ko Thein, a 61-year-old Pyinmana resident, said he was “glad” about the announcement.

“It has been long time since young people have enjoyed the excitement that we had in the past during this festival,” he said.

U Htoo Htoo Kywe, editor-in-chief of Upper Myanmar Journal in Mandalay, said the annual pagoda festival was an important event for Pyinmana residents.

“The festival has never skipped a year, even during the 1988 uprising period,” he said.

One 18-year-old Pyinmana resident said he was “excited to participate” in the festival this year. “It is really great that the event will be held all night again,” he said.

Meanwhile, U Ko Ko Htay, chairman of the Yanaung 1 religious team, said the ban on late-night festivities had diminished the scale of the festival in recent years, with some of the eight religious teams regularly declining to participate.

However, all eight will take part this year and they have hired bands including The Ugly and The Warriors and singers and actors including G Latt, So Tay and Hlwain Pain to perform on entertainment floats.

U Ko Ko Htay said the festival will see floats with performers drive around the town on October 29 and 31, performing at more than 20 locations .

Meanwhile, on October 30, 28 “pagoda” floats will travel around the town.

U Ko Ko, administrator of Pyinmana’s Kan Oo ward, said young members of religious teams, ward and village administrative staff, Myanmar Red Cross Society members, firefighters and Myanmar Police Force members will provide security for the event.