The capital of Shan state, the mountainous ares with different minorities is the home to famous Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Festival wich takes place in November every year. This festival is famous as the biggest hot-air balloons fair in Burma.
Traditionally it is a festival to pay homage to the Sulamani Pagoda in heaven by sending up decorated balloons
The Balloon competition is divided into three categories Day-time, Nya Mee Gyi and Seinnaban events. People of Taunggyi, young and old alike, take part in the festival in groups. They start preparations more than 1½ month before the festival. Not only the local populace, but people from other towns and villages also come to participate in the competitions.
This balloon event, named Seinnaban, puts great emphasis on beauty. The balloons are made with local Shan paper and shaped proportionally on the basis of a top part; waist and openings. The distinctive part of the balloon is that it has small beautiful balloons attached to it. The balloon height is between 17 to 20 feet, and its diameter must be at least 16 feet, but not more than 18 feet. A group comprising about 400 persons get together to make the balloon by shaping the parts separately and then combining them later. To make it attractive, various designs including the name of the group, religious figures and floral designs are painted on the balloon. When the balloon is completed, it must be checked thoroughly, to be ascertain whether there is no fault or defect.
Pieces of cloth that are to be used as the wick is soaked in oil dregs, crude oil, turpentine, wax and camphor oil for several days and wrapped up on the iron frame. The wick, weighing at least 10 viss must then be fixed in the balloon so that the balloon will be able to drift in the air.
The balloons come in many shapes, such as marrow, papaya and alms bowl, but mostly marrow-shaped balloons are used. The balloons are decorated with small balloons or paper-lanterns, pictures and words. They all must come-up to prescribed standards.
Taungyi Balloon Fesival 2012 lasts from 22th Nov 2012 to 29th Nov 2012