Myanmar Dos and Don'ts
Myanmar is the land of Pagodas, which overwhelm the country, forming the fascinating landscapes. When we visit the pagodas and temples, which are considered the most important, there are some advices to be careful.
- Please take off the shoes and socks when we enter the pagodas, temples or monasteries compounds. We have to go on barefoot and it would be more convenient to wear the slippers during the trip so that we can easily take on and take off before and after visiting one pagoda to another.
- Please wear decently; long pants or longyis are highly appreciated. Please keep shoulders covered.
- Please visit the pagodas, temples or monasteries according to the clockwise.
- Buddha images are sacred objects, so don’t pose in front of them for pictures and definitely do not clamber upon them.
- It is possible to take the photos to the pagodas, temples (except some archaeological monuments) or the people. However, it would be better to ask the permission if you want to make the persons nearby.
- As in other Buddhist countries the head is the highest part of the body-spiritually as well as literally. We should never deliberately touch somebody else on the head or pat a child on the head.
- The feet are the lowest part of the body; don’t point your feet at somebody.
- Indicating something with the foot is not the polite manner; please be take care not to lay down the feet toward the Buddha or the monks or even the normal persons.
- Monks are not supposed to touch or be touched by women. If a woman wants to offer something to a monk, the objects should be placed within reach of the monk, not handed directly to him.
- When we speak with the monks, the elder peoples or high rank persons, we should maintain the attitude of humble respect.
- Myanmar people are very friendly, moderate and expect the guests.
- A good consideration to preserve the polite way to the pagoda, they also apply in the daily life such as, wearing decently and don’t indicate with the feet.
- When we pass near or in front of the elder people, we bow our body in terms of showing respect.
- We don’t touch anyone of the opposite sex. Even we don’t shake hands and it is a bad manner.
- We always give or receive the things with the right hand, but the left hand has to keep on the right forearm.
- The men always walk on the right side of the ladies (only between couples), as we believe that the potency of the men is on the right side.
As soon as you arrive to Myanmar, you will see one strange thing that most of the Myanmar people with yellow faces. So, you will be surprise and you are curiously to know "What's that on people's faces?"
The simple answer is that most people in Myanmar, especially women and young boys, wear make-up called thanaka (pronounced tha-na-KA) every day. So, what is thanaka, exactly?
First, thanaka starts from the wood of a tree that is plentiful in the central, dry zone region of Myanmar: It is then made into a cream by grinding the chunks of wood into a circular stone slab called a kyauk pyin. What results is a soothing, cooling cream that both feels refreshing and smells good:
Our traditional costume is simple & elegant. It is only one country in South East Asia which most of the population conserve the traditional way of our clothing. Myanmar people wear "Longyi", the general term for both men & women. But men wear shirt & Longyi and women wear the blouse without button & Longyi.
The Longyi is a tub of cloth that we wear in Myanmar. The Longyi of women are
colorful and most are floral design.
To get tied up the Longyi is an art, we don't use belt nor zippers. The men make the knot to the front, the women to the side.
Many foreigners are confused by the name of Myanmar people. Myanmar family doesn't exist family name and don't change the name after marriage. Names are chosen according to their day of birth and normally each name has particular meaning.
|Day||Initial letter for name|
|Monday||Ka, Kha, Ga, Gha, Nga|
|Tuesday||Sa, Hsa, Za, Zha, Nya|
|Thursday||Pa, Hpa, Ba, Bha, Ma|
|Saturday||Ta, Hta, Da, Dha, Na|
This is to say, children born on Monday have for initial letter for their name (Ka, Kha, ga, gha, na). For example, the name should be Kay, Khin, Nge, etc.