New season, new festival

A child plays with traditional toys. Thiri Lu/ The Myanmar Times

To mark the coming of the new season, Thuwana Stadium hosted an inaugural spring festival last weekend. The event was abuzz with music, food and cultural activities.

Many other festivals are held in Yangon but spring festivals are intended to highlight Myanmar traditions.

They are usually observed with traditional dancing, traditional fashion and traditional handicrafts. The Thuwana Stadium celebration also had 21st century elements – contemporary designers showed off their wares as a photo booth snapped away.

Lynn Whut Hmone, director of event organiser Stellar Seven, said it gave the chance for families and friends to embrace the new season.

Yangon Gallery used the occasion to show off an ancient loom, traditional palm necklaces (htan yaut puddi) and even fish toys (htan yaut fish).

Artist Soe Win Nyein, owner of Acme Myanmar Souvenirs said events like this were important in promoting and celebrating traditional arts and handicrafts.

“Young people in Myanmar are increasingly less concerned about these things.”

Traditional wares on display.Traditional wares on display.

“And grass roots producers do not have too many opportunities to get their wares out there.”

Soe Win Nyein added that Myanmar should look to Thailand in how it supports and embraces local producers for a modern market.

Dr Aung Hein, owner of Toy Box Myanmar echoed these concerns – saying he hoped that Myanmar children who grow up in this day and age still embrace Myanmar toys.

“I think children still like traditional toys but there are not many places to buy them,” Dr Aung Hein said.

Artist May Moe Thu, owner of Pho Wa Hand Painted Cotton Products said the foreign tourist market was still not tapped as well as it could be.

Visitor Dr Kyaw Han Thar Myint said it was fun to see so many traditional elements on display in the one place.

“I loved the traditional dance stage, especially the hna par thwar [a Myanmar traditional dance] and the Shan sword dance.”

“It’s great to find out more about Myanmar culture.”