Sunday, August 7, 2022

Traditions & Customs in Myanmar

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Except in nightclubs, modest attire is extremely popular everywhere, and it is virtually required in religious buildings like as pagodas, temples, and monasteries (of which there are thousands). Mini skirts, shorts, and sleeveless shirts are not permitted in consecrated areas, where shoes must also be removed, therefore moccasins and flip flops that may be placed on and taken off at the entry are preferred. Myanmar boasts some of Asia’s most magnificent temples, and you’ll be tempted to visit more than you think.

Burmese, in general, are not openly loving, especially among married couples, and are usually seen as unpleasant and should be avoided.

Both men and women wear a longyi, a kind of sarong that is widely available, and Caucasian tourists are often seen strolling in them. Men and women wrap them in various ways, so learn how to knot yours. If you arrive to a temple dressed inappropriately, you may always hire a longyi for a pittance.

When accepting business cards, support your right elbow with your left hand and accept them with your right hand.

Caucasian tourists are often referred to as bo, which translates as “official,” a language remnant of colonialism. Go to the elders with U (pronounced “oo”) or “Uncle” for males and Daw or “Aunt” for women.

In general, despite popular misconceptions about the government, most regular Burmese are extremely kind and polite, as long as you follow their local traditions. The customer service is usually excellent (some say better than in Thailand), however the service personnel is often underpaid, so you may wish to tip liberally to ensure that your money reaches the proper hands.

Religion

On the mornings, monks collect alms in the streets, like they do in neighboring Thailand (they are not allowed to eat after noon). Buddhism is taken extremely seriously in Myanmar, and it is customary for Burmese males to spend time as monks at least once as a kid and again as an adult. Their traditions are identical to those of Thai monks. They are not permitted to have physical contact with the opposing sex, therefore ladies should be cautious not to touch their hands while making a contribution. Monks are also prohibited from handling money. If you wish to contribute to a monk, you should only give him food, since giving him money is considered insulting in the local culture. Contributions to monks must be spontaneous, and monks are not permitted to approach individuals and beg for alms, and they do not congregate in tourist locations to solicit donations from visitors. It is untrue to observe a monk collecting monetary contributions or hanging around in prominent tourist areas asking for donations.

Avoid wearing t-shirts featuring Buddha or Buddhist imagery, since they are regarded extremely disrespectful. People forgive him, but no one should seem foolisher than necessary.

Offer liberally at temples and monasteries, although women are not permitted to access certain holy places; in reality, the restriction should only apply to menstruating women, but it would be impolite to ask for it and impossible to check it, so they keep all women out. Remember that monks are not permitted to handle money; thus, any contributions from the temple should be put in the temple’s donation boxes rather than being given directly to the monks.

Small squares of gold leaf may also be purchased to be applied to the consecrated sculptures.

When praying or paying your respects, it is critical that your “feet” do not point towards the Buddha or another person. However, the statues are placed in such a way that they do not occur until you do acrobatics. When kneeling at shrines and temples, place your feet under you.

Swastikas are sacred symbols that are frequently seen in Buddhist temples. They are not symbols of Nazism or anti-Semitism.

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