Culture Of Myanmar

The culture of Myanmar is a blend of influences from Buddhism, the Bamar people (who are the largest ethnic group in Myanmar), and neighboring countries such as India, China, and Thailand. These influences can be seen in various aspects of Myanmar's culture, including its language, cuisine, music, dance, and theater.

Buddhism plays a significant role in Myanmar's culture, and it is often mixed with cosmology, Hindu myth, and the worship of Nats (spirits of dead people). This blending of beliefs affects many aspects of daily life in Myanmar, and the country is home to thousands of Buddha statues, each with its own unique charm. Monks are highly respected in Myanmar, and the country is considered one of the most Theravada Buddhist countries in the world.

Burmese Theravada Buddhism has also historically influenced the art and literature of Myanmar. For example, Myanmar's national epic, Yama Zatdaw, which is considered an adaptation of the Ramayana, is influenced by Thai, Mon, and Indian texts.

In more recent history, Myanmar has also been influenced by British colonization and Western colonial rule, which have impacted the country's language and education systems. These influences can be seen in the colonial architectural styles that are prevalent in cities like Yangon.

Myanmar is also home to many ethnic minorities, including the Karen in the southeast and the Kachin and Chin in the north and northwest. Some of these minority groups have adopted Christianity, thanks in part to the work of Christian missionaries.

Language of Burma

The official language of Myanmar is Burmese. Burmese is used as the mother tongue of more than 34 million people in the world and is the second language of ethnic minorities in Myanmar. Burmese can be classified into two categories: the "official" type commonly found in texts, newspapers and radio, the second one is more common in everyday conversations. The writing in Burmese is derived from the Mon script.

Language of Burma

As soon as you arrive, you will immediately realize that this is a simple, friendly country with sincere and hospitable people. Besides dialect, culture, historical sites; the traditional costume of Myanmar is also an attraction that promises to bring you many exciting Myanmar travel experiences.

Traditional clothing in Myanmar

The Burmese have the traditional costume for men named Longchy (a tight-fitting sarong wrapped in the middle with a shirt or a Taipon and Thummy - which is quite similar to Lao and Thai skirt - for women. The locals all wear sandals like Laotian. They only wear shoes with European clothes.

Myanmar people have a strange custom: to become a beautiful girl, a five-year-old girl must have a waistband and then it needs multiplying by embroidering until 30 ones.


Myanmar women use Thanaka, a traditional cosmetic made from the ground bark of the Elephant Apple Tree, to cover their face, neck, and hands for protection from the sun and for beauty. Unlike women in other countries who use various kinds of cosmetic powders and creams, Thanaka powder has many benefits for the skin.


The natural ingredients in Thanaka help the skin retain moisture, and it contains high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, making it effective in protecting the skin from UV rays. The trees that produce Thanaka grow slowly and can develop on dry, rocky soil and areas with water shortages. They must be at least 35 years old to be considered mature and nutritious enough to use. Thanaka has been trusted by Burmese women for daily skin care and protection for over 2000 years, making it not only a traditional cosmetic but also a part of the country's national culture and identity, which the people of Myanmar are proud to maintain.

Betel and Betal Chewing

Myanmar people keep the tradition of betel chewing. The betel nuts have been kept and appeared everywhere in this country, from rural to urban areas, from elder to youth. Yes, all make chewing betel nut into an evident habit in their daily life.

Regardless of age, gender, they all chew betel nut. Everybody chew betel nuts - even a vendor girl, an old lady, a farmer, young men in their chess tournament... 

Many people joke that Myanmar people are like "red-tooth vampires", but they must be gentle and friendly vampires.

Read more: 10 Interesting facts about Myanmar (Burma)

Religions, Beliefs, Festivalsin Myanmar (Burma)

Pagodas and temples are the centre of Burmese culture life, especially in traditional Burmese villages. Monks are respected, while kneeling is a way people express their respects.

You can find the culture of Burmese most clearly expressed in villages, where the local ceremony the festivals throughout the year. The initiation ceremony called Shinbyu importantly marks the maturity of a boy when he starts the life in pagoda even though it is only a short period. Girls also have an ear-piercing ceremony when they reach adulthood. On this ceremony day, you can see the children makeup like the princes and princess. They are welcomed in the streets of splendid before being taken to the temple to be a monk. This event is the most important ceremony here.

Myanmar is a country with many of the most popular festivals in the world.

The festivals here are taken place all year round but mainly focus on the time of March and April, which is the land-idling period. The festivals here are unique and attract more and more people to come here to explore. Being different from many countries in the world, Myanmar welcomes the New Year in April. They start their new year by a water splash festival. They splash water together with the desire of washing away all dirt of the old year and welcoming a luck and happiness new year. If you travel to Myanmar during this special event, you will immerse in the influx of Myanmar people and enjoy a fun time in the splashing water streets.

Similar to the Mid-Autumn festival, the Lighting Festival is taken placed in Oct. It lasts for three days, and people light many lamps, candles, firecrackers to welcome the return of Buddha from Nirvana. Another famous festival is the Independent Festival of Myanmar which is on 4 of January every year.

And there are countless other unique festivals such as the puppet arts festival, Phaung Daw U festival, sticky rice cooking festival (Htamane), or Ko Gyi Kyaw god festival… in this land.

Food, cuisine and eating habits of Burmese

Myanmar people have a unique eating culture, consisting of two main meals a day, one at 9:00 am and another at 5:00 pm, with a light lunch in between. Their food trays often include vegetables, shrimp, and fish, which they believe are essential to a satisfying meal. Unlike using chopsticks, forks, or spoons, Burmese eat rice with their right hand, often combining it into a ball-shape for easier consumption. Each person has a basin of water to wash their right hand before eating, as the left hand is reserved for personal hygiene. It's important to use your right hand when giving something to a Burmese. It's noteworthy that Buddhists don't eat beef while Muslims avoid pork.

Tourists may find traditional Myanmar meals challenging since they usually lack water. As such, exploring local cuisine by trying Vietnamese or Thai food is a good idea during your stay.

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Some notes about the culture of the country

Every country has its customs. Before travelling to Myanmar, you could learn some taboos to make the trip great without any not-good impressions for both local people and you.

  • Burmese have names only, no surname. When greeting each other, they often clasp their hands in front of their chest or bow.
  • You should remove your shoes outside before entering the house. Saluting with a smile is a common Burmese custom.
  • Myanmar people love animals in general and birds in particular. Buffaloes are also respected. When we encounter a buffalo on the road, regardless of the old, they will let the buffalo passing first.
  • When visiting temples and pagodas, everyone has to take off the shoes. You should wear long pants (over the knee) and shirt with sleeves, do not show a lot of cleavages.
  • In some certain solemn and sacred areas places in temples and pagodas such as the Buddha Tower and the hall reserved for monks to pray and chant, women will not be allowed to enter. They are also not allowed to touch the sacred objects there. You had better double-check with the local guide to make sure you are in the right position.
  • In Myanmar, only men can become monks. Women are also not allowed to touch or shake hands with monks in any form. You can put a handkerchief on your hands when giving offerings so that your hands will not touch the monks. If you touched him by accident, you should apologize to him immediately.
  • Women here are asked not to sit on the roof of cars or boats... because she would be considered sitting on other people's heads.
  • When you give money, gifts or anything to others, you should give it with your right hand or with both hands to show your respect.
  • If you wear Myanmar traditional costumes, you should wear secretively, using bra (with women), and no show a lot of cleavages.
  • Filming and taking photos is a sensitive issue in Myanmar. This is the most serious trouble for tourists. Please do not take photos or film at any remoted points related to politics, hospitals, security... If you are caught by the police when taking photos, they will ask you to delete the pictures, it would be better to follow and apologize. Do not run away or try to convince it because it will only take your time and make the situation even more difficult..
    Besides, you should ask for permission before taking photos of the local people in local life, too. Normally, nobody likes to be recorded their backward weakness.

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