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.
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.
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.