YadanaGu Spirit Festival


Location: Amarapura, Mandalay Region
Date: 1st to 8th Waning day of Wagaung
Duration: 8 days

The festival is dedicated to a flower-eating belu( ogre ) mother who supposedly died at Yadangu after hearing of the execution of her two sons and became a nat or spirit. Others say it is a festival started in the Ava period ( about 200 years ago ) to take the people’s attention away from politics and the scandals of the royal court of Ava, the ruins of which are not too far away from where this event is. Anyways, it is here that nat-kadaw (nat- wives / spirit mediums ), nat-devotees and day visitors taking a break from the daily grind come to pay their respects to the belu mother with dancing and feasting with some shopping thrown in between.  The festival is visited mainly by locals and a sprinkling foreign tourists. That is one of the pluses of coming to Upper Myanmar as most of the time you are the only foreigner around and the people are warm and friendly with genuine smiles. No foreign tourist-targeted souvenirs are for sale but I could see lots of wares that farmers would need on the farms : spades knives, hoes etc. And lots of stuff their wives and kids would want too : costume jewelry, fake football jerseys and toy plastic machine guns, dried fish and pottery all prettily displayed for sale.