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Myanmar: Where is happiness in Burma for Waso festival ?

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Today is the full moon day of Waso. The day of Waso marks the day of the Buddha's first sermon and the start of a monsoon season retreat.

In Burma,the full-moon is for contemplation, and monks do not travel. In this special day, the Buddha tried to spread His teaching of peace and happiness to all mankind. The Waso festival, a popular Burmese celebration, is thus an important occasion to commemorate the teachings of Lord Buddha. The monks, also called Sangha, as the important pillar of Buddhism, play an important role during the festival.

This day marks the beginning for Buddhist monks of a retreat which will last at least three months. During the Waso festival people offer flowers to the Buddhist imagem ushering all their devotions. One of the most important events in the course of the Waso is the offering of robes to the Monks which they generally wear during their retreat . People also offer them candles, known as the "Waso candles".

Waso is also the time for people to do meritorious deeds, practise contemplation and self-denial. Every one makes it a point of fasting and observes special precepts one day in the week. Even habitual drinkers take a vow of abstinence, for the season, at least, and practise in these days self discipline.


Marriages are taboo during the retreat. However, this has nothing to do with any religious concept. Monsoon season is a busy time for people and it is more convenient to celebrate weddings after the harvest... Thus the impatient lovers rush off to wedlock before the Waso begins.

Therefore the full moon day of Waso is the holiest day for all Buddhists to make an opportunity to do meritorious deeds.

But this year Waso in Burma will not be celebrated happily. Many people recently were killed by Nargis cyclone. Many people lost everything, are still hungry and without hope. Many monks were killed in last year's Saffron Revolution. Some are now unable to continue their religious studies at monasteries and are rejected because of their leading roles in last year's Saffron Revolution.

Where is happiness in Burma for Waso festival ?
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Ashin Mettacara is a 27-year-old Buddhist monk from Burma who is blogging and contributing with the aim of spreading news to the whole world about the crisis in Burma. He is not part of any political group, association or organization. He is (more...)
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