Learn Myanmar Asia Pearl Travels
The Free Online Burmese Lessons
Learn Myanmar Language, History & Culture

Learn Myanmar Language in conversational and literary form. Learn to speak and read Burmese. The Free Online Colloquial Burmese (Myanmar language) lessons include Burmese script, MP3 audio, PDF files and easy Burmese grammar study materials with color-coded parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, particles, postpositional markers, and interjections.

Naing Tinnyuntpu Naing Tinnyuntpu is no stranger to systematic and efficient approach. He came from manufacturing environment with Bachelor's and Master's degree in Industrial Engineering (USA). His contributions to semiconductor industry include Administrative Quality Best Practices during his working years as a process engineer with Hewlett-Packard in Singapore. Born and raised in Yangon, he has lived in 6 countries and exposed to different cultures and knowledgeable in unrelated areas. This includes self-taught programming languages. Currently, he is contributing to Tourism in Myanmar by making his online Burmese lessons freely available and accessible to all.

Audio Pronunciation
Ah1 "a" in "art" with silent "rt"
Ah2 "ar" in "Argentina" with silent "r"
Ah3 "ar" in "Artist" with slilent "r"
De1 "de" in "deep" with silent "p"
De2 "de" as in "demote"; "demand"
De3 "dee" as in "deer"; "decent"
Ko1 "colt" with silent "lt"
Ko2 as in "co-author"; "cocaine"
Ko3 "cold" wit silent "ld"
Yu1 "u" in "Youth" with silent "th"
Yu2 "u" as in "university"; "utensil"
Yu3 "u" as in "user"; "Unix"
Shan1 as in "shunt" with silent "t"
Shan2 "shun" as in "chandelier"
Shan3 as in "shun"
Au1 as in "auction"
Au2 as in "Australia";"auditor"
Au3 as in "August"
May1 "maize" with silent "ze"
May2 "may" as in "May I?"
May3 "ay" in "amazing"
Sin1 "sink" with silent "k"
Sin2 "sin" as in "sincerely"
Sin3 "sin" as in "sinful"; "Singapore"
Un1 "aunt" with silent "t"
Un2 "un" in "understanding"; "umbrella"
Un3 "un" as in "under"
Meare1 "melt" with silent "lt"
Meare2 "mel" in "Melbourne" with silent "l"
Meare3 "mare" of "nightmare"
Tain1 "taint" with silent "t"
Tain2 "tain" as in "Captain"
Tain3 "tain" as in "maintain"
Bine1 "Bryant" without "r"
Bine2 as in "carbine"
Bine3 as in "combine"
Dome1 as in "don't"
Dome2 close to "dominate"
Dome3 as in "dome"
Toon1 "doont" in "couldn't"
Toon2 "mon" in "monastery"
Toon3 "oon" as in "cartoon"
Koun1 "count" with silent "t"
Koun2 "coun" in "counter-strike"
Koun3 "coun" as in "counsel"
ate cake, jade, eight, paid, bake
et wet, set, mad, yet
oot cook, put, look
out out, south, mouse, doubt
ike/ite sight, pipe, night, dice, like
ut up, nut, sucks
oat oat, coat, goat, soak
it it, pit, sit
Read this page with Myanmar Script
Festivals, Holidays & Celebrations in Myanmar (Sortable)
Independence Day loot-lut-yay3 nay1
Kayin New Year ka1-yin2 hnit-thit-ku3
Chinese New Year ta1-yoat hnit-thit-ku3
Union Day pyi2-htoun2-su1 nay1
Peasants' Day toun2-thu2-leare2 tha1-ma3 nay1
Tabaung Full Moon Day da1-boun3 la1-pyay1 nay1
Armed Forces Day tut-ma1-dau2 nay1
Water Festial thin3-kjan2
Burmese New Year myan2-ma2 hnit-thit-ku3
Labor's Day a-loat-tha1-ma3 nay1
Kasone Full Moon Day ka1-hsone2 la1-pyay1 nay1
Martyr's Day ah2-za2-ni2 nay1
Warso Full Moon Day wa2-hso2 la1-pyay1 da1-ma2-set-kja2 nay1
Abhidhamma Day dtha1-din3 joot
Da Zaung Daing da1-zoun2-dine2
National Day a-myo3-tha3 nay1
Christmas kha1-rit-sa1-mut

Extra Months and Sabbath Days

Extra Wa2-Hso2 Month was added in those years
English Calendar Myanmar Calendar Year
July 1915 1277
July 1918 1280
July 1920 1282
July 1923 1285
July 1926 1288
July 1929 1291
July 1931 1293
July 1934 1296
July 1937 1299
July 1939 1301
July 1942 1304
July 1945 1307
July 1948 1310
July 1950 1312
July 1953 1315
July 1955 1317
July 1958 1320
July 1961 1323
July 1964 1326
July 1966 1328
July 1969 1331
July 1972 1334
July 1974 1336
July 1977 1339
July 1980 1342
July 1982 1344
July 1985 1347
July 1988 1350
July 1991 1353
July 1993 1355
July 1996 1358
July 1999 1361
July 2001 1363
July 2004 1366
July 2007 1369
July 2010 1372
July 2012 1374
Based on 100 years Calendar (Hnit-Ta1-Ya2 Pyet-ga1-dain2) published in Myanmar.

Each Burmese Calendar Months la1 (which means "Moon") are broken into before or after the Full Mon Day starting from New Moon Day. New Moon Day (waxing of the moon) is the first night the moon appears as a crescent in the night sky after the moonless night. Each Calendar month starts with the New Moon Day, or la1-hsun3 in Burmese.

la1-hsun3 days are counted from 1 up to 13 or 14 depending on the month having 29 days or 30 days until the Full Moon Day. For example, la1-hsun3 chout yet nay1 refers to sixth (chout) day after the New Moon Day where nay1 means "Day" and yet is the measure word for the number of days.

Full Moon Day is known as la1-pyay1 nay1 where pyay1 refers to "be full" or "to be filled up completely".

The days after the Full Moon Day known as la1-hsoat (waning of the moon) are then counted from 1 up to 13 or 14 until the Moonless Night. la1-hsoat ta1-yet nay1 refers to the first day after the Full Moon Day where ta1 is how "one" tit is pronounced when followed by the measure word yet or other multiple words. (e.g. multiple word 100X ta1-Ya2 means one hundred.)

The day of Moonless Night is known as la1-kweare2 nay1 where kweare2 is used to describe the view hidden or obstructed by something. The associated word kweare2-loon2 means to pass away (i.e, someone dies.)

Devout Buddhists in Myanmar observe Sabbath Day (u1-boat-nay1) which falls on Full Moon Days, The days of Moonless Nights, and every 8th day after the Full Moon Days and Moonless Nights. That means there are four u1-boat-nay1 in a month, or roughly one every week.

During u1-boat nay1, people meditate, say prayers, send loving-kindness in all directions to all beings, listen to Dhamma talks by the monks, and practice 5 precepts, namely (1) Not taking life (2) Not taking what is not given (3) Follow Right Speech (4) Refrain from sexual misconduct, and (5) Refrain from consumption of alcohol. Some Buddhists also fast for at least half a day (after Noon time), or take vegetarian food thet-thut-loot sa3 ja1 deare2 during u1-boat nay1.

The word thet-thut-loot is made up of the words life + kill + empty. It means free from killing.

Lesson 26: Festivals, Holidays, and Celebrations in Myanmar

To every thing there is a season,
And a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;

A time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time of war, and a time of peace.

- Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Judson Church in Yangon

Merry Christmas!

For minority ethnic groups such as Kayin, Kachin, Chin as well as some Burmese, December is the time to celebrate Christmas. Christmas Day is an official holiday in Myanmar. Yes, in Myanmar there are Christmas celebrations.

myan2-ma2 -- Myanmar (noun)
pyi2 -- Country (noun)
hma2 -- at (postpositional marker)
kha1-rit-sa1-mut -- Christmas (noun)
loat -- do (verb)
ja1 -- plural (particle)
tha1 la3 -- ? (ppm + particle)

myan2-ma2 pyi2 hma2 kha1-rit-sa1-mut loat ja1 tha1 la3 -- Do people celebrate Christmas in Myanmar?

loat -- do (verb)
ja1 -- plural (particle)
ta2 pau1 -- of course! (particle)

Loat ja1 ta2 pau1 -- Of course we/they do!

How to say "to celebrate" in Burmese?

The formal word for "to celebrate (verb)" in Burmese is kjin3-pa1. For example, the interviewer on the TV or radio might ask the same question using kjin3-pa1 in place of loat as follow:

myan2-ma2 -- Myanmar (noun)
pyi2 -- Country (noun)
hma2 -- at (postpositional marker)
kha1-rit-sa1-mut -- Christmas (noun)
kjin3-pa1 -- celebrate (verb)
ja1 -- plural (particle)
ba2 -- polite soften tone (particle)
tha1 la3 -- ? (ppm + particle)

myan2-ma2-pyi2 hma2 kha1-rit sa1-mut kjin3-pa1 ja1 ba2 tha1 la3 -- Do people celebrate Christmas in Myanmar?

I can formally answer as follow:

Hote-keare1 ba2 -- Yes (yes + polite soften tone)
myan2-ma2 -- Myanmar
pyi2 -- Country
hma2 -- at
kha1-rit-sa1-mut -- Christmas
kjin3-pa1 -- celebrate
ja1 -- plural
ba2 deare2 -- affirmation. (polite soften tone + affirmative)

Hote-keare1 ba2... myan2-ma2-pyi2 hma2 kha1-rit-sa1-mut kjin3-pa1 ja1 ba2 deare2 -- Yes, we do celebrate Christmas in Myanmar

Myanmar Calendar System and Months in Burmese

Myanmar Calendar is based on Lunar system which has alternating months with 29 days and 30 days, and a total of 12 months in a (normal) year. Simple calculation shows that it all adds up to only 354 days in a year, which is much less than approximately 365 days for the earth to go around the sun. Since the weather and regular seasons on earth more or less follow the solar calendar rather than the lunar months, that must have been a problem for farmers who must grow crops at the regular intervals such as at the start of monsoon season around mind-June every year.

In order to make up for loss days in a year, Burmese Calendar adds an extra month every 3 years known as wa2 htut deare2. Basically, du1-ta1-ya1 wa2-hso2 (Second wa2-hso2 month) always falls around July every 3 years or so. In the long run, even that is not sufficient to make up for the loss days, so the interval of adding an extra month is sometimes reduced to 2 years known as wa2 ji3 htut deare2.

According to some elders, wa2 ji3 htut deare2 occurs roughly every 10 years interval in addition to wa2 htut deare2 at every 3 year interval. Well, not exactly right. I know it has something to do with the frequency within the 19 years interval, but I have not verified the calculations. I have included in the left column of this page the historic pattern of Myanmar Calendar adding an extra month for the last 100 years.

Burmese New Year starts around mid-April every year, and months are as follow:

Months in Myanmar Calendar
# Burmese
01da1-gu3 -- Mid April after thin3-kjan2 Water Festival
04wa2-hso2 -- Extra month is added every 3 years and 2 years intervals

If you take a look at the Calendar in Myanmar with both International Dates and Burmese Months, another curious thing you will find is that the days 1,2,3,4 in Burmese only go up to 14. Please refer to u1-boat-nay1 explained in the column on the left side of this page.

The year AD 2012 is the year 1374 in Myanmar Calendar.

Days in Myanmar Calendar
English Burmese

Festivals, Celebrations, and Public Holidays in Myanmar for 2017

Since traditional Burmese festivals follow the lunar calendar, most except for the Water Festival and Burmese New Year, fall on different Gregorian dates every year. The following table shows the public holidays (Dates shown in red), festivals, and celebrations for the year 2017. On the other hand, some public holidays such as Independence Day, Martyrs' Day, and Christmas follow the Gregorian Calendar, and fall on the same date every year.

Important Days in Myanmar (2017)
Date Event
Jan 4, 2017Independence Day (Gregorian) - Nationwide
Januaryကချင်ရိုးရာမနောပွဲ |ka1-chin2 yo3-ya2 ma1-nau3 pweare3 Kachin Manaw Festival - Myitkyina, Kachin State (Dates to be determined)
Jan 12 - Jan 27အာနန္ဒာ |a-nun2-da2 Ananda Pagoda Festival, Bagan
Jan 26- Jan 28နာဂ |na2-ga1 Naga New Year - La-Hair, Lay-Show for 3 days
Jan 28Chinese Lunar New Year - Private Celebrations for 3-4 days
Jan 28 - Feb 25ထမနဲ |hta1-ma1-neare3 (Sticky Rice) Cooking Festival - anyday during တပို့တွဲ |da1-bo1-tweare3 month
Feb 1 - Apr 17ရွှေစက်တော် |shway2-set-tau2 Pagoda Festival - Minbu (until April 17)
Feb 4 - Feb 12ကျိုက်ခေါက် |kjite-khout Pagoda Festival (8 days) - Thanlyin (ta1-nyin2)
Feb 10 - Feb 11မဟာမုနိ |ma1-ha2-mu1-ni1 Pagoda Festival, Mandalay
Feb 11ကရင် |ka1-yin2 Fire Festival - Hpa-an, Kayin State
Feb 12Union Day (Gregorian) - Nationwide
Feb 23ka1-yin2 Traditional Fire Dance Festival - Hpa-an, Kayin State
Mar 2Peasants Day (Gregorian) - Nationwide
Mar 12တပေါင်း |da1-boun3 (Tabaung) Full Moon Festival - Nationwide
Mar 27Armed Forces Day (Gregorian) - Nationwide
April 4 - April 11ရွှေမော်ဓော |shway2-mau2-dau3 Pagoda Festival - Bago
Apr 12-21Thingyan Water Festival and New Year public Holidays. Water Festival starts April 13 till April 16 - Nationwide Celebrations
May 1Workers' Day (Gregorian) - Nationwide
May 10ကဆုန် |ka1-hsone2 Full Moon Pouring Water on Bo tree - Nationwide Celebration
May 10တောင်ရိုး |toun2-yo3 (ethnical) Lantern Festival - Pindaya
May 10ရှစ်သောင်း |shit-thoun3 (80,000) Pagoda Festival - Mrauk U
May 13ပုပ္ပါးနတ်ပွဲ | Poppa nut-pweare3 (Supernatural Beings) Festival - Mount Poppa
June 2သီဟိုရှင် | thi2-ho2-shin2 Pagoda Festival - ပခုက္ကူ |Pa1-Khoat-ku2
June 2 - June 16နယုန်စာတော်ပြန်ပွဲ | na1-yone2 sa2-dau2-pyan2 pweare3 - Abhidhamma Recitation Events
July 8ဝါဆို | wa2-hso2 Full Moon ဓမ္မစကြာ |da1-ma2-set-kja2 Day - Nationwide Buddhist Celebration
July 19Martyrs' Day (Gregorian) - Nationwide
Aug 8ရွှေကျွန်းပင်နတ်ပွဲ | shway2-kjoon3-pin2 nut-pweare3 (Supernatural Beings) Festival - Mingun, Mandalay
Aug 17ရတနာဂူနတ်ပွဲ | ya1-da1-na2 gu2 nut-pweare3 (Supernatural Beings) Festival - Amarapura
Sep 7ဘိုးမင်းခေါင် | bo3 min3 khoun2 (Spirit) Festival - Mount Poppa, Kyauk Padaung
Sep 21 - Oct 5ရွှေစည်းခုံ | shway2-zi3-gome2 Pagoda festival - Bagan, Nyaung U
Sep 21- Oct 5ဖောင်တော်ဦး | pfoun2-dau2-u3 Pagoda Festival and boat race - Inle Lake
Oct 4Chinese Mid-Autumn Mooncake Festival (Zhongqiu jie)
Oct 5Abhidhamma full Moon Day - သီတင်းကျွတ် | dtha1-din3-Kjoot Lantern Festival
Oct 5ကျိုက်ထီးရိုး | kjite hti3 yo3 Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock) Pagoda Festival - Kyaik Hto
Oct 6 - Nov 3ကထိန် | ka1-htain2 Festival - exact date varies from place to place
Oct 29Hot-air Balloon Festival - Taunggyi, Shan State around Inle Lake region
Nov 2မသိုးသင်္ကန်း | ma1-tho3 thin2-gun3 Festival. All night long weaving of robes for monks competition - Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon
Nov 3တန်ဆောင်တိုင် | Ta1-zoun2 Dine2 Full Moon Lantern Festival - Nationwide
Nov 3Offering of ဆီမီးကိုးထောင် | hsi2-mi3 ko3-htoun2 (9,000 Candles) - Koe Htut Gyi Pagoda, Yangon
Nov 13အမျိုးသားနေ့ | a-myo3-tha3-nay1 - National Day - Nationwide
Dec 18Kayin New Year - Kayin State and Yangon
Dec 25Christmas - Nationwide
Dec 31New Year's Eve party- Private celebration for expatriates

Festivals, Holidays & Celebrations in Myanmar

Here is What Myanmar Thingyan looks like. I made this video.

Water festivals thin3-kjan2 followed by Burmese New Year hnit-thit-ku3 around Mid-April are probably the most enjoyable and the most celebrated Myanmar holidays. But, a word of caution here. If you have an official government business, try to do ahead of time as there can be as many as 10 straight holidays including Saturday and Sunday. And, if you are in downtown Yangon, it is strongly advised against taking a flight during the water festivals, as the main roads to the Yangon International Airport from your hotel will be all clogged. Oh, yes, be prepared to get splashed by water if you go out in the street.

2017 Myanmar Thingyan

How do you wish a "Happy New Year" to a Burmese? Good Question. I guess Burmese people don't waste time wishing because we know for sure we are going to be happy, and New Year day will surely come whether you wish or not. Radio DJ's might say min2-gla2 hnit thit ku3 ba2, but it is not a common collquial usage that Burmese people will say to each other.

Myanmar Traditions Once More

Give me once more in front of live audience. The ladies are dancing traditional Myanmar synchronized "Yain" Dance in tune with modern drum beats. This type of drum beat has become a norm in this time of the year. The first part of the song is oldie like from the 1930's. The ending part of re-mix is currently a popular Thingyan Water Festival Song which has become a classic.

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Seriously, there is no Burmese phrase equivalent to "Kong Hee Fat Choi" in Cantonese, "Gong Xi Fa Cai" in Mandarin, or "Happy New Year" in English. You can just say, "Happy thin3-kjan2 or tha1-kjan2, and any educated class will understand what you mean. You can expect song and dance and water splashing to continue for five days before the New Year Day.

Myanmar Thingyan Celebrations

Song & dance continue for 5 days during Myanmar Thingyan Water Festival and New Year. There can be up to 11 straight holidays including weekends. [28 seconds]

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Tuesday, May 3, 2016
အစ္စဏီ | Issani

Myanmar shares Chinese New Year Day, Christmas day, and May Day (Labor Day) with some other Nations as official holidays. In addition, Muslims celebrate it-nay1 to mark the end of a month long fasting and Hindu have their own de2-pa2-wa1-li2 nay1 ( Deepavali Day). Yes, you must have guessed it right. nay1 refers to "day" in Burmese.

Kasone Full Moon Day or ka1-hsone2 la1 pyay1 nay1 is known as Visak Day in Malaysia and Singapore. It is the day of celebration for the Buddhists. This is the day the Buddha was born, reached enlightenment and pass away (to Nibbana).

Burmese people celebrate dtha1-din3-kjoot and da1-zoun2-dine2 to mark the end of rainy season with fire crackers and lighting up of candles and lanterns. The lanterns decorated in this tradition are remarkably similar to those used in Chinese mid-autumn lantern festival. In Burmese tradition, this is supposed to be the day the Buddha taught Abhidhamma (higher learning) to beings in the heavenly world.

During those periods, thet-kji3 pu2-zau2 pweare3 are held where younger people pay respect to

thet-kj13 (the elders),
hsa1-ya2 (teachers), and
mi1-ba1 (parents).

ka1-htain2 lucky draws for the Buddhist monasteries are held anytime from after the dtha1-din3-kjoot full moon day to the full moon day of da1-zoun2-mone3 with money and daily necessities for the monks donated by the lay people. The actual date may be different from community to community even in the same town.

pweare3 means festival. pfa1-ya3 pweare3 are festivals held in pagodas at night, usually during cool months after the rainy season, which also happen to be "tourist" season in Myanmar.

As for other religious activities Myanmar, devout Buddhists observe u1-boat-nay1 individually, or as a group every week, while Christians attend the pfa1-ya3 kjoun3 (Church) every Sunday, and Muslims say their prayers in the ba1-li2 (Mosque) every Friday. u1-boat-nay1, is further explained in the left column of this page.

For those doing research for your school project, etc., I might as well include other historic holidays. National Day known as a-myo3-tha3-nay1 falls on the 10th of Burmese calendar month da1-zoun2-mone3 after the Full Moon Day. That's the anniversary to mark the strike against the British rule by the University students back in 1920.

tut-ma1-dau2 nay1 (Armed Forces Day) which falls on March 27th was previously known by the name of tau2-hlan2-yay3 nay1 (Revolution Day). Back in 1945, near the end of World War II on that day, Burmese Army switched side and fought back the Japanese.

pyi2-htoun2-su1 nay1 known as Union Day in English (on February 12th) was the day Bogyoke (General) Aung San met with ethnic leaders (most importantly the Shan people) in the place called Pinlone where they agreed to join the Union of Burma as a trial run for 10 years after independence. Burma was still under British rule.

Unfortunately, General Aung San (father of Nobel Laureate and NLD Leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi) did not live to see loot-lut-yay3 nay1 (Independence day) on January 4th 1948, as he was assassinated a year earlier on July 19th. The anniversary of that day is known as ah2-za2-ni2 nay1, or Martyr's Day in English.

Myanmar also observes some other events that are not public holidays. Myanmar Women's Day, for example, has been observed since 3 July 1996. The event is organized by the Myanmar National Committee for Women's Affairs (MNCWA), which was founded on 3 July 1996. This organization was renamed as Myanmar Women Affairs Federation on 20 December 2003. Annual awards are given to honor outstanding women with focus on excellence in business, literature, sports and education.

Making a New Year's resolution in Burmese

Many Westerners have the tradition of making New Year's Resolutions. Having a good life with abundance of food, many wish to lose weight in the coming year. Do Myanmar people make New Year's Resolutions? It's like asking: "Do Myanmar people celebrate Mother's Day?" Yes, we do. Every day of the year is Mother's Day. Every day of the year is Father's Day. And every moment of the day is the opportunity for us as human beings to improve, to change, to celebrate life, to start afresh, to appreciate what the World has to offer to us here & now, to abandon what is evil, and to do what is good. With that note, I'd like to wish you a Happy New Year -- every day of the year!

2016 Update for Mother's Day

No, it's not in May and it's not a public holiday. But, with more people spreading the trend on the social media such as facebook, celebrating Myanmar Mother's Day has gained momentum in 2016 in honor of mothers on the full Moon day of the month of pya2-tho2. In 2016, it falls on Sunday, January 24th. If more people participate in this trend, it will be in the same month on the full moon day in Burmese Calendar from now on. OK, So, every day is Mother's day and we are happy every day, but that day is even MORE SPECIAL and we are 150% happier. Isn't that great? What's more? Some of us will again celebrate Mother's Day on the Second Sunday of May, as this too has become a trend promoted by the commercial business to increase sales.

MPT Mother's day Promotion