Myanmar is home to a diverse variety of indigenous cultures, the majority of which are Buddhist and Bamar. The civilizations of surrounding nations have impacted Bamar culture. Their language, cuisine, music, dancing, and theater all reflect this. The local form of Theravada Buddhism has traditionally impacted the arts, particularly literature. The Yama Zatdaw, considered Myanmar’s national epic poem, is an adaptation of India’s Ramayana that has been heavily inspired by Thai, Mon, and Indian versions of the work. Buddhism is practiced with the nat religion, which entails complex rites to appease one of 37 nats.
The monastery is the focal point of cultural activity in a traditional hamlet. The laity reveres and supports the monks. The most significant maturation event for a kid is a novitiate ceremony called shinbyu, during which he joins the monastery for a brief period. All male offspring of Buddhist households are urged to become novices (beginners of Buddhism) before the age of 20 and monks after that. At the same time, girls undergo ear piercing rituals (). Burmese culture is particularly visible in villages, where local festivities are celebrated all year, the most significant of which is the pagoda festival. Superstition and taboos are prevalent in many communities, and many have a guardian nat.
British colonial authority brought Western cultural aspects into Burma. Burma’s educational system is modeled after that of the United Kingdom. In large towns like as Yangon, colonial architectural influences are more visible. Many ethnic minorities, most notably the Karen in the southeast and the Kachin and Chin in the north and northeast, are Christians. According to The World Factbook, ethnic groups account for 32% of the Burmese population. However, exiled officials and groups say that the ethnic population is 40%, which contradicts the CIA assessment (official report of the USA).
Burmese cuisine is distinguished by a heavy reliance on fish items such as fish sauce, ngapi (fermented seafood), and dried shrimp.
Mohinga is Myanmar’s traditional breakfast and the country’s national cuisine. Seafood is popular in coastal towns like Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, Mawlamyaing (previously Moulmein), Mergui (Myeik), and Dawei, while beef and poultry are more prevalent in interior areas like Mandalay. Freshwater fish and shrimp are the primary protein sources in mainland cuisine, and they are utilized in a range of fresh, salty or salted, and dried forms that are turned into salt dough or processed into sour and pressed ferments.
Burma cuisine also has a variety of salads (a THOKE), each focused on a main component, such as rice, wheat noodles, rice, pasta, and glass noodles, as well as potatoes, ginger, tomato, kaffir lime, long beans, lahpet (pickled tea leaves), and ngapi (fish paste).
Burmese contemporary art evolved rapidly and on its own terms.
Ba Nyan was among the first people to study Western art. They pioneered the Western style of painting in Myanmar with Ngwe Gaing and a few other painters. Later on, most pupils learnt from instructors through doing. Lun Gywe, Aung Kyaw Htet, Yei Myint MP, Myint Swe, Min Wai Aung, Aung Myint, Khin Maung Yin, Po Po, and Zaw Zaw Aung are some well-known modern painters.
Most young artists born in the 1980s have more possibilities for creative expression both inside and outside of the nation. Stage art is a popular genre among young Burmese painters.
Media and communications
Due to Myanmar’s political environment, there aren’t many media businesses in proportion to the country’s population, but there are a few. Some are owned by individuals. Censorship board clearance is required for every programs.
On August 20, 2012, the Burmese government declared that it will no longer control the media before publication. Newspapers and other forms of media no longer need permission from official censors after the declaration; nevertheless, journalists in the nation may still suffer repercussions for what they write and say.
International media reports were released in April 2013 to retransmit the implementation of the media liberalization measures we announced in August 2012. The publishing of privately held newspapers in the nation started for the first time in many decades.
It is believed that Internet usage is low in comparison to other nations. Control existed, and officials had access to emails and Internet blog postings until 2012, when the government abolished media censorship. During the severe days of censorship, cybercafe activity was controlled, and a blogger called Zarganar was sentenced to a few years in jail for releasing a video of Cyclone Nargis devastation in 2008; Zarganar was established in October 2011.
Myanmar is the last Asian nation categorized in the World Economic Forum’s Network Preparedness Index (NRI), an indicator used to assess the degree of development of a country’s information and communication technology. Myanmar rated 146th out of 148 nations in the 2014 NRI classification. There is currently no data available for prior years.
The first Myanmar film was a documentary on Tun Shein’s burial, a famous politician who fought for Burmese independence in London in the 1910s. Despite its low quality owing to a fixed camera position and insufficient film equipment, the first Burma silent film, Mytya Ne Thuya (Love and Liquor), was a huge hit in 1920. Several films were made and produced by Burmese-owned film businesses throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The first Burmese sound film, Ngwe Pay Lo Ma Ya, was released in 1932 in Mumbai, India (Money Can not Buy It). Burmese film continues to explore political problems after World War II. Many of the films made in the early days of the Cold War had a significant element of propaganda.
Following the political upheavals of 1988, the film industry became more controlled by the government. Movie actors who had been involved in political activity were barred from appearing in films. The government imposes stringent censorship regulations and, to a great degree, decides who makes films and who gets Academy Awards.
The film business has also evolved throughout the years to the production of numerous low-budget direct-to-video films.
The majority of films made nowadays are comedies. Only 12 films were created in 2008 that were worthy of an Academy Award nomination, despite the fact that at least 800 VCDs were produced.
Guy Delisle, a Québécois novelist and animator, wrote a graphic book titled Chroniques Burmanes in 2007. In 2008, the graphic book was published into English as Burma Chronicles. Burma VJ, a documentary about Burmese video journalists, was released in 2009. At the 2010 Academy Awards, this film was nominated for Best Documentary Feature. The Lady made its international debut at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2011.
Myanmar’s national sports include Lethwei, Bando, Banshay, Pongyi thaing martial arts, and chinlone. Soccer is played across the nation, even in the villages.
In December, the Southeast Asian Games 2013 were hosted in Naypyidaw, Yangon, Mandalay, and Ngwesaung Beach, marking the third time the event was held in Myanmar. Myanmar was the host country for the Games in 1961 and 1969.