he Kason Festival, celebrated annually in Myanmar, is a significant Myanmar's cultural and religious event. Also known as the Full Moon Day of Kason, it marks Prince Siddhartha Gautama's enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. During the second month of the Myanmar calendar, Buddhists come together to commemorate this sacred festival. It is a time for spiritual introspection, merit-making, and honoring this significant moment. The Kason Festival celebrated across Myanmar, embodies themes of renewal, gratitude, and a deep devotion to Buddhism.

Buddhist Watering Tradition on the Kason Full Moon Day

Historical and Cultural Background

The Kason festival is believed to rank as one of the most significant festivals in the religious life of the people of Myanmar. The Kason Full Moon Day is celebrated to commemorate Siddhartha Gautama’s birth, enlightenment, and passing. Additionally, it marks the day the Buddha triumphed over the five Mara (temptations), making it a day of victory.

In Myanmar’s traditional 12-month calendar, the month of Kason is known as the hottest month. It is often described with the phrase "Tangun-Kason swe swe khun," highlighting the intense heat experienced during this period. Despite the scorching weather, Buddhists in Myanmar honor the virtues of the Buddha by pouring cool, clear water on the sacred Bodhi tree, which symbolizes the Buddha’s enlightenment. This act of pouring water is believed to bring inner peace and tranquility to the hearts of all Buddhists.

This symbolic gesture evolved into the modern Kason Festival, a celebration rich in devotion and merit-making. The Buddhist people's custom of water pouring on the Bodhi tree during Kason's full moon month symbolizes themes of gratitude, rejuvenation, and spiritual cleansing, embodying significant cultural and spiritual values.

Rituals and Traditions on Kason Full Moon Day

During the Kason Festival in Myanmar, communities partake in Buddhist rituals and traditions. A key ritual is the symbolic act of pouring water on the maha Bodhi tree for purification and merit-making. This practice reflects a deep respect for nature and Buddhist teachings on compassion and generosity. Devotees gather at pagodas and monasteries nationwide, dressed in traditional attire, to pray, light candles, and engage in charitable deeds. The ceremony of watering the Bodhi tree is enhanced by the recitals of religious verses, creating a serene and spiritually enriching atmosphere during this significant event.

Lord Buddha Festivities at the Maha Bodhi Tree

The Kason Festival in Burma creates a vibrant and celebratory ambiance, showcasing a range of traditional activities and events. Communities across the country participate in colorful processions dressed in traditional attire, offering water and flowers to the Bodhi tree. The next part of the festival is the chanting of Paritta verses, which includes a brief explanation of the rituals and the recitals of poems praising Lord Buddha. Following this, participants pour water at the base of the Bodhi tree. The festive atmosphere is enhanced with light refreshments, music, and dance performances by enthusiastic amateurs. Enjoy the vibrant celebration with spiritual chanting, cultural rituals, and joyful entertainment. Local street food vendors present a variety of delicious dishes and desserts. Families come together for picnics and social interaction, while Buddhist monks conduct religious ceremonies and provide insights into the festival's significance.

Festival Celebration at the Bohdi Tree (Photo Credit)

Modern Observance of the Moon Day of Kason

The Kason Festival in modern times is a revered celebration in Myanmar, marked with enthusiasm. While the core ritual of watering the Bodhi tree endures, contemporary elements enrich the traditional festivities. Buddhists in Myanmar visit monasteries to make donations to monks, do meditation, and perform good deeds. Some release fish into lakes and free birds at pagodas to earn merits for a long life. Many people donate food and essentials to monks and the less fortunate. In major cities like Yangon, it's also common to share meals.

Vibrant processions, music performances, and cultural events are organized by many communities to commemorate the occasion. Technological advancements enable the sharing of festival experiences on social media platforms, fostering participation and connection. Despite modern influences, the Kason Festival remains a time for spiritual reflection and communal unity, deeply ingrained in Myanmar's cultural tapestry.

Community Participation and Engagement

Community involvement is integral to the Kason Festival, promoting unity and a sense of belonging among residents in Myanmar. The festival sees communities collaborating on activities like preparing offerings and coordinating cultural performances and processions. Volunteers play a key role in ensuring smooth event execution, dedicating their time to creating memorable celebrations. This event acts as a cohesive element, enhancing social connections and nurturing a collective cultural identity.

This festival is celebrated throughout Myanmar at various pagodas that enshrine the sacred bodhi tree. A generous benefactor donated a water vessel and water for the pagodas, along with food for the visitors. Personally, I attend the pagoda in my town and take part in this festival every evening during the Full Moon day of Kason each year.

Devotees Celebrate The Kason Water-pouring Festivals 


The Kason Festival in Myanmar is a revered cultural and religious event that embodies the nation's profound traditions and spiritual values. Through sacred rituals such as watering the Bodhi tree, communities express gratitude, seek renewal, and partake in acts of merit-making, nurturing spiritual development and communal solidarity. As Myanmar progresses towards modernity, the festival serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring significance of cultural heritage and religious practices in shaping society. By honoring the Kason Festival, Myanmar upholds its dedication to preserving its diverse cultural heritage and fostering unity among its people.

May 26, 2024