Dawei is surrounded by forests, mountains, beaches, islands, hotsprings, waterfalls, natural beauty and traditional culture. It is full of historical pagodas and it’s also the capital city of Tanintharyi Region, lower Myanmar. In Dawei, the major religion is Buddhism. Other religions include Islam, Hindu and Christianity. Dawei has many religious festivals spread over every month. The most famous and very popular festivals are the Alms Bowl Floating Festival and Dawei Tazaungdaing festival (28 Buddha Statues Festival), Thingyan Myanmar New Year Festival, Kasone Bo Tree Watering Festival, Dawei Waso Pay Homage Festival which custom is before full moon day of Waso (Buddhist lent period), Tabodwe Glutinous Rice Festival and Tabaung Sand Pagoda Festival. The Twenty-Eight Buddha Statues festival is one of the most unique and famous festivals in Dawei.
Dawei Twenty-eight Buddha Statues Festival
The twenty-eight Buddha Statues festival began in 1272 in the Myanmar Lunar year ( English 1911). This Festival is held annually in November (Tazaung Mone month of Myanmar). In 2009, Buddha statues procession festival was the 100th festival celebrated in Dawei township.
How is the Festival Celebrated?
To celebrate the pagoda festival, in the first week of November, the quarters and surrounding villages in Dawei bring a buddha statue from Lawka Marazein Pagoda to their own quarters and villages. And then, temporary pavilions are built and offered by local people on the first day. Some of the houses in the town are also invited and offer offerings in turn. Residents perform with songs and dance along the procession to the pagoda. They carry the statue and return it back to the Lawka Marazein Pagoda. From the 11th to the 13th of the new moon of Tazaungmone, twenty-eight Buddha statues are placed in temporary shrines in Shwe Tang Sar Pagoda (Lawka Marazein Pagoda) and are offered by locals for worship.
On the 14th day of the new moon of Tazaungmone, starting from around 2:00 p.m, the 28 Buddha statues are lined up in order. At 6:00 pm, members of the Board of the local people and the young people lead the tour of the city. They pray at the pagoda and receive the Five Precepts; to abstain from taking life, taking what is not given, sensuous misconduct, false speech, intoxicants as tending to cloud the mind inside the Lawka Marazein Pagoda. After that, the ribbon-cutting ceremony begins at 6:30 pm and the twenty-eight Buddha statues are brought to the visitors from the respective quarters Surrounding the offering groups standing along the designated routes. The routes are from Shwe Taung Sar Road to the intersection of Ohn Taw crossroad and hospital road. From there, they are carried along the R Zar Ni Road and continue to make offerings along the designated routes in the city.
How do Dawei's people participate in the pilgrimage festival?
When the twenty-eight buddha statues are offered around the city, quarters, the villages and the names of the pagodas are written down in Dawei dialect in the pagodas procession. Then, the procession of Buddha statues starts, including Dawei traditional music and dance. People donate free traditional snacks and foods (Sa-Tu-Di-Thar) from all over the city along the pilgrimage route. It is crowded with pilgrims and many pilgrims come from all over the city, so there are roadblocks in some parts of the Dawei city. Pilgrims are interested because they want to know about Dawei's traditions and culture.
Also, along the path of the Buddha's pilgrimage, teams of meritorious garbage pickers collect garbage. The Dawei Red Cross Society is ready to help and treat those who take part in the procession if they are sick. The Zabu Thiri Free Emergency Ambulance and the emergency ambulances in Dawei District are also cooperating with emergency ambulances to provide timely treatment in case of traffic accidents to visitors in the crowded areas and the roads in and out of the city.
Do Dawei residents sleep at Tazaungdaing on a full moon night?
Twenty-eight Buddha statues festival (Tazaungdaing) night is the night when Dawei residents DO NOT SLEEP. The night when local people make offerings to the buddha, they donate free traditional foods, snacks and silver trees ( decorations of money like flowers, peacock, etc). So it's a night full of joy and happiness throughout the whole city of Dawei which is lit up with lights and pilgrims. The twenty-eight Pagodas procession wander around Dawei City the whole night and then return to the Shwe Taung Sar Pagoda where the temporary temples are located in the morning of TazaungMone Full Moon Day. On the afternoon of Tazaungmone full moon day, local people donate free traditional snacks/ foods (Sa-Tu-Di-Thar) in the courtyard of Lawka Marazein Pagoda. The twenty-eight Buddha statues are placed in temporary temples over the next two days and continue to be offered.
During Covid-19 Period
The twenty-eight Buddha statues is one of the Dawei's famous annual festivals in Tanintharyi Region. This festival was held before COVID-19 and its 110th event was held on November 10th in 2019. It was the last year of the festival in Dawei Tazaungdaing. Now, there has been no festival for 3 years according to the current situation. Dawei people really miss this festival and hope to celebrate it when the festival season comes.
Dawei Town is not only just a perfect destination full of beautiful mountains, beaches, islands, hotsprings, waterfalls, historical pagodas but also with unique and wonderful traditional cultures and festivals. You can also enjoy the natural beauty and traditional culture. By visiting the twenty-eight buddha statues Festival, you can see and learn that the people of Dawei are generous with charity and treasure the value of Dawei traditional cultures. So, I would like to invite you to visit Dawei, Tanintharyi region when the Covid-19 period is overcome and the country's situation is peaceful.
You can watch the videos of Dawei's Twenty-eight Buddha Statues festival in the links below.
- 2019 Twenty-eight Buddha Statues festival
- 28 Buddha Statues Festival (2019)
- Twenty-eight Buddha Statues festival
- 28 Buddha Statues festival
- Performing with Dawei Traditional dance at the 28 Buddha Statues Festival