Myanmar’s Nat Festival

Stories. Travel.

Every year in August, an estimated 250,000 people descend on a small rural village outside of Mandalay for Taung Pyone’s Nat Pwe (spirit festival).

Nats are spirits which have existed alongside Burmese Buddhist culture since the 11th century. There are 37 in total and they have a little more cheek – and more vices – than the Buddhas. Most have met a violent death, and when they revisit earth, they must be kept happy. Apparently what keeps these particular festival nats happy is chain smoking, dancing, and drinking their favourite tipple.

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