by Khin Zar Thwe
YANGON, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- In music and dance, Myanmar people are celebrating the auspicious light festival here on Friday, the second day of the three-day traditional festival.
The festival, also called the Tazaungdaing festival, is held in the eighth month of Myanmar's calender year, marking the end of the rainy season.
During the three-day national holiday, houses and buildings are decorated with colourful lights. Public areas including parks, pagodas and shopping malls are packed with happy families, couples and friends.
Hundreds of food stalls and snack booths decorating with colourful lights can be seen on the streets in downtown areas of Yangon at nights during the festival.
In Taunggyi, Myanmar's Shan state, hot-air balloons and firework competitions are being held as popular activities of the festival.
On the full moon day of Tazaungdaing festival on Friday, people fly sky lanterns in different animal shapes, such as elephants and birds.
Pagodas in Yangon are swarmed with Buddhists from both home and abroad. People offer alms, candle lights, joss sticks, flowers and fruits as homage to the pagodas.
A well-known activity called the robe-weaving competition is also being held in the capital, to weave special yellow monk robes for monks.
At the full moon night, Myanmar people would have a special salad called "Mezali", a kind of flower buds boiled and seasoned with sesame, groundnut, fried garlic and other ingredients.
Young Myanmar people would also play a traditional game called "Kyeemanoe Pwe" on the full moon night, by playing practical tricks on their neighbours or stealing things from them.
The origin of the light festival predates the introduction of Buddhism to Myanmar and is believed to stem from the Kattika festival, which honors the guardian planets in Hindu astrology.