Myanmar Celebrates 64th Independence Day

Myanmar officially commemorates the 64th anniversary of the formal end of British rule on January 4, 2012 along with the commemoration of the establishment of the present government. Known locally as “Lu lat yay nei”, the day is usually remembered through military parades in its capital, Naypidaw.

History of Myanmar National Day

Before there was Myanmar, there was Burma. Burma was conquered by the British in 1824, and it remained in full British control until around 1886 when a majority of the country fell under British India and was ruled as a province.

Growing anti-British sentiment by the Buddhist and student communities increasingly caused friction for British India. In 1919, Buddhist monks of the Eindawya Pagoda in Mandalay tried to physically evict Europeans that refused to respect local custom and remove their shoes before entering the pagoda. In a controversial move by the British, the leader of those monks was sentenced to life in prison for attempted murder.

On December 5, 1920, tempers flared when Rangoon University students protested against new government regulations made by the British. News of the protests spread throughout the land, and many more schools held protests of their own. This day is considered the source of National Day in Myanmar, a day that marks the real beginning of mass protests against British control. However, it was not until January 4, 1948 that Burma gained its independence from Britain.

Myanmar National Day Traditions, Customs and Activities

It’s worth noting a few things about this particular holiday. First, Myanmar’s National Day is the only non-religious public holiday celebrated. Second, the actual date of this holiday changes every year. The actual date of celebration is determined by the Myanmar lunar calendar

CPSC joins the Government of Myanmar in commemorating this memorable and auspicious day and wishes the Burmese people happiness and prosperity in the coming years.

Facts about Myanmar

Burma, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China, Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh and India. Burma is home to some of the early civilizations of Southeast Asia including the Pyu and the Mon. In the 9th century, the Burmans of the Kingdom of Nanzhao, entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and, following the establishment of the Pagan Kingdom in 1057, the language and culture of these peoples slowly became dominant in the country. Buddhism became the predominant religion of the country during this period.

Culture of Myanmar

A diverse range of indigenous cultures exist in Burma, the majority culture is primarily Buddhist and Bamar. Bamar culture has been influenced by the cultures of neighboring countries. This is manifested in its language, cuisine, music, dance and theatre. The arts, particularly literature, have historically been influenced by the local form of Theravada Buddhism. Mohinga, rice noodles in fish soup, is widely considered to be Burma's national dish. Monks are venerated and supported by the lay people. British colonial rule also introduced Western elements of culture to Burma. Burma's educational system is modeled after that of the United Kingdom. Colonial architectural influences are most evident in major cities such as Yangon.