Waso Chinlone Festival
The Waso Chinlone Festival is an exciting and uniquely Myanmar event that takes place every year. Chinlone means “basket rounded” and it refers to a sports game that is over 1,500 years old and was once played for Burmese royalty. The festival itself was started in 1926 and this year will be the 88th time it has been celebrated and more than 1,800 teams have entered into the competition.
The game involves a small ball made from woven rattan and a team of six players must pass the ball around using their legs, knees and head as they walk around in a circle. There is one player in the middle of the circle and the rest of team supports him as they work together to keep the ball from hitting the ground. Once the ball hits the ground, the game is finished and is restarted.
As Myanmar is a predominately Buddhist country, the festival is celebrated the day after the full moon in the Waso month, which is usually in the July. It is best to check with us to confirm the exact dates before booking. The festival takes place at Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar with a rich, cultural history of its own. Participants from all over the country, and even some from neighboring countries, come to compete and the festival usually lasts a month.
The festival is deeply rooted in the cultural history of Myanmar. Chinlone is played at almost every Buddhist celebration and many youths play pickup games during their leisure time. It is quite exciting to see the Chinlone Festival as the best players from around the country converge here and watching their deft and acrobatic movements as they attempt to keep the ball from hitting the ground is truly spectacular! It is also a great opportunity to mingle with locals and take part in their joy and pride in the game of Chinlone. In addition, Mahamuni Pagoda, where the festival takes place, is a very special pagoda in Mandalay that locals from the region flock to to pay their respects to Buddha.
If you choose to include this experience on your Myanmar itinerary, be sure to confirm the dates ahead of time and book a hotel accordingly. Our guides will be able to arrange all the necessary details for transportation and entrance to the festival which will allow you to focus on soaking up the atmosphere and watching competitions. And if you are feeling particularly adventurous, don’t be shy to give try the game yourself with some local kids who will be most eager to include you in their fun!
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