In pictures: Myanmar's lighting festival

Colourful three-day event celebrates the anniversary of Buddha's descent to Earth.


Yangon, MyanmarThe golden light streams through billowing, white clouds, indicating that Myanmar's rainy season is finally over. Thousands of people from Myanmar and abroad flock to pagodas around Yangon for the country's Lighting Festival, a three-day event that occurs on the full moon during the month of Thadingyut.

The revelries celebrate the anniversary of Buddha's descent to Earth from his celestial abode.

During the day, families travel to several pagodas to pray to Buddha and light incense for wishes and as offerings. They also partake in a ritual in which one pours cups of water over a statue of the Buddha for good luck. Food, flowers, money and other gifts are also distributed.

As the sun sinks below the horizon, people take to the streets to celebrate with firecrackers, food and street fairs. Homes are decorated with lights and candles are lit - at pagodas and on the streets - to commemorate deceased loved ones. For the brave of heart, man-powered Ferris wheels feature the acrobatics of young men who climb through the wheel to set it in motion, before riding the chairs to the ground.