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The Culture, Traditions, and Heritage of Myanmar (Burma)

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Buddhism, the Mon people, India, China, and Thailand are believed to have great influences on the Burmese culture especially on religion, arts, gastronomy, and customs.

Majority of the population of Myanmar observes Theravada Buddhism which arrived in the country when the Christian era began. Being predominantly a Buddhist nation, Myanmar is known as the Land of the Pagodas. The 4 most essential Buddhist pilgrimage places include Shwedagon Pagoda (Yangon), Mahamuni Buddha (Mandalay), Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Mon), and Bagan (Ayeyarwaddy River). Other religions include Islam, Hindi, Christianity, and Animism.

Burmese’s traditional greeting is “mingalaba” which generally means “auspiciousness to you”. There is still the accepted wisdom that experience and knowledge comes with age therefore the elders the children are taught to respect the elders.

In the traditional Burmese calendar, there are 12 festivals matching the 12 months of the year.

The Burmese art according to historians was based on Buddhist or Hindu myths and cosmologies. There are 10 traditional arts in Myanmar which include blacksmith, bronze casting, goldsmith, lacquerware, masonry, painting, stucco relief, stone carving, turnery, and woodcarving. The traditional dress of Myanmar is the longyi, it is a sarong used by men and women.

The Burmese foods are combination of Indian, Thai, Chinese, and ethnic cuisines. The Burmese traditionally eat using their fingers but utensils and chopsticks have become popular especially in many cities and like majority of the Asian rice is the staple food.

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