musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

Parade in Nyaungshwe

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They say that “everyone loves a parade.” Cliché or not, that old saying seem to hold true for the people in Shan State too. When I was in Nyaungshwe in November, during the time of the Tazaungdaing full moon festival, there were frequent processions — parades of a sort — down the main streets of town.

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These mini-parades usually consisted of a few pickup trucks and tractors pulling a trailer loaded with donations — often highlighted by bank note “trees” — destined for a local monastery. The trailers were decorated with lots of flowers and more elaborate decorations, complete with a Buddha figure or photographs of revered local monks.

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The vehicles and trailers were also packed with locals, helping to carry the donations to the monastery or sometimes walking alongside the procession and seeking additional contributions from passersby. If a vehicle had a particularly high load of ornaments, there was always a couple of fellows armed with long poles who made sure that their float didn’t get snagged on any power lines along the way.

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