Burma (Myanmar)



There is a wide range of indigenous cultures in Myanmar, the majority culture is mainly Buddhist and Bamar. The Bamar culture has been influenced by the cultures of neighboring countries. This is manifested in their language, cooking, music, dance and theater. The arts, especially literature, have historically been influenced by the local form of Theravada Buddhism. Considered the national epic poem of Myanmar, the Yama Zatdaw, an adaptation of the Ramayana of India, has been influenced to a great extent by the Thai, Mon and Indian versions of the work. Buddhism is practiced along with the nat cult, which involves elaborate rituals to propitiate one of a pantheon of 37 nats.

In a traditional village, the monastery is the center of cultural life. The monks are venerated and supported by the laity. A novitiate ceremony called shinbyu is the most important maturity event for a child, during which he enters the monastery for a short time. All male children of Buddhist families are encouraged to be novices (beginners of Buddhism) before the age of 20 and to be a monk after the age of 20. Girls have ear piercing ceremonies (နား သ) at the same time. Burmese culture is most evident in villages where local festivals are held throughout the year, the most important being the pagoda festival. Many villages have a guardian nat, and superstition and taboos are commonplace.

British colonial rule introduced elements of Western culture into Burma. Burma's educational system follows the model of the United Kingdom. Colonial architectural influences are more evident in major cities such as Yangon. Many ethnic minorities, particularly the Karen in the southeast and the Kachin and Chin that populate the north and northeast, practice Christianity. According to The World Factbook, the Burmese population is 68% and ethnic groups make up 32%. However, exiled leaders and organizations claim that the ethnic population is 40%, which is implicitly in contrast to the CIA report (official report of the USA).


Burmese cuisine is characterized by the intensive use of fish products such as fish sauce, ngapi (fermented seafood) and dried shrimp.

Mohinga is the traditional breakfast and is the national dish of Myanmar. Seafood is a common ingredient in coastal cities such as Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, Mawlamyaing (formerly Moulmein), Mergui (Myeik) and Dawei, while meat and poultry are more commonly used in inland cities and Mandalay. Freshwater fish and shrimp are the main source of protein in mainland cuisine and are used in a variety of fresh, salty or salted and dried forms that are made into a salt dough or processed into sour and pressing ferments.

Burma cuisine also contains a variety of salads (a THOKE), centered on a major ingredient, from starches such as rice, wheat noodles and rice, pasta and glass noodles to potatoes, ginger, tomato, kaffir lime, long beans, lahpet (pickled tea leaves) and ngapi (fish paste).


Burmese contemporary art developed rather on its own terms and rather quickly.

Ba Nyan was one of the first to study Western art. With Ngwe Gaing and a handful of other artists, they pioneered the Western style of painting in Myanmar. Later, most students learned from teachers through learning. Some well-known contemporary artists are Lun Gywe, Aung Kyaw Htet, Yei Myint MP, Myint Swe, Min Wai Aung, Aung Myint, Khin Maung Yin, Po Po and Zaw Zaw Aung.

Most young artists born in the 1980s have greater opportunities for artistic practice inside and outside the country. The art of the stage is a popular genre among young Burmese artists.

Media and communications

Due to Myanmar's political climate, there are not many media companies in relation to the population of the country, although there is a certain amount. Some are privately owned. All programming must comply with the approval of the censorship board.

The Burmese government announced on August 20, 2012 that it will stop censoring the media before publication. After the announcement, newspapers and other media no longer require approval from state censors; however, journalists in the country can still face consequences for what they write and say.

In April 2013, international media reports were published to retransmit the enactment of the media liberalization reforms we announced in August 2012. For the first time in many decades, the publication of privately owned newspapers began in the country.


It is estimated that the use of the Internet is relatively low compared to other countries. There was censorship and authorities saw emails and Internet blog posts until 2012, when the government eliminated censorship in the media. During the strict days of censorship, the activity was regulated in cybercafes, and a blogger named Zarganar was sentenced to a few years in prison for publishing a video of destruction caused by Cyclone Nargis in 2008; Zarganar was launched in October 2011.

With regard to communications infrastructure, Myanmar is the last Asian country classified in the Network Preparedness Index (NRI) of the World Economic Forum, an indicator to determine the level of development of a country's information and communication technologies. With 148 countries informed, Myanmar ranked 146th overall in the 2014 NRI classification. No data currently available for previous years.


The first Myanmar film was a documentary of the funeral of Tun Shein, a prominent politician of the 1910s who campaigned for Burmese independence in London. The first Burma silent film Mytya Ne Thuya (Love and Liquor) in 1920 turned out to be a great success, despite its poor quality due to a fixed camera position and inadequate film accessories. During the 1920s and 1930s, many Burmese-owned film companies manufactured and produced several films. The first Burmese sound film was produced in 1932 in Mumbai, India with the title Ngwe Pay Lo Ma Ya (Money Can not Buy It). After the Second World War, Burmese cinema continued to address political issues. Many of the films produced in the early days of the Cold War had a strong element of propaganda for them.

In the era that followed the political events of 1988, the film industry has been increasingly controlled by the government. Movie stars who had participated in political activities could not appear in the movies. The government issues strict rules on censorship and determines to a large extent who produces films, and who receives the awards from the academy.

Over the years, the film industry has also shifted to the production of many low-budget direct movies to video.

Most of the films produced today are comedies. In 2008, only 12 films worthy of consideration for an Academy Award were made, although at least 800 VCDs were produced.

Myanmar is the main theme of a 2007 graphic novel entitled Chroniques Burmanes by Québécois author and animator, Guy Delisle. The graphic novel was translated into English under the title Burma Chronicles in 2008. In 2009, a documentary about Burmese video journalists called Burma VJ was launched. This film was nominated for the Best Documentary Feature at the 2010 Academy Awards. The Lady had its world premiere on September 12, 2011 at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival.


The Lethwei, Bando, Banshay, Pongyi thaing martial arts and chinlone are the national sports in Myanmar .. Soccer is played all over the country, even in the villages.

The Southeast Asian Games 2013 took place in Naypyidaw, Yangon, Mandalay and Ngwesaung Beach in December, representing the third time the event was held in Myanmar. Myanmar hosted the Games in 1961 and 1969.

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Burma (Myanmar) - Travel guide

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