Waso Chinlone Festival Mandalay Myanmar

Waso Chinlone Festival Mandalay Myanmar

The Waso Chinlone Festival in Mandalay, Myanmar is a vibrant celebration of the traditional Chinlone game. This festival has a rich history and holds great cultural and religious significance. Teams go through rigorous training and preparations to showcase their skills during the festival. The activities during the festival include Chinlone performances, traditional music and dance, and a variety of food and craft stalls.

The festival has also produced famous Chinlone players and teams and has had a significant impact on promoting Myanmar’s culture, boosting tourism, and providing economic benefits to the region.

Key Takeaways

  • The Waso Chinlone Festival is a celebration of the traditional Chinlone game in Mandalay, Myanmar.
  • It has a rich history and holds cultural and religious significance.
  • Teams undergo rigorous training and preparations for the festival.
  • The festival features Chinlone performances, traditional music and dance, and food and craft stalls.
  • It has contributed to the promotion of Myanmar’s culture, tourism, and economic development.

Facts About The Waso Chinlone Festival

Name of the festivalWaso Chinlone Festival
Type of festivalCultural and sporting festival
City of originMandalay
Festival Etymology“Waso” refers to the Burmese month in which the festival takes place, while “Chinlone” is a traditional Burmese sport that involves a team of players skillfully passing a ball with their feet and other body parts.
Date of first celebration1894
Founder of the festivalKing Mindon (King of Burma)
Brief history of the festivalThe Waso Chinlone Festival was first celebrated in 1894 during the reign of King Mindon in Mandalay, Myanmar. The festival was initiated to celebrate the Burmese sport of Chinlone and promote unity among the people. It has since become an annual event held during the month of Waso (June/July) and showcases the skill and teamwork of Chinlone players from different regions.
Brief history of the cityMandalay, located in central Myanmar, was founded in 1857 as the last royal capital of the Burmese kingdom. It holds great historical and cultural significance, as it served as the centre of Burmese culture and Buddhist learning. Mandalay is known for its ancient temples, royal palaces, and traditional arts and crafts. It has been a city of great importance throughout Myanmar’s history.
Ethnic informationThe festival is celebrated by people from various ethnic groups in Myanmar, including the Bamar, Shan, Karen, Kachin, and others.
Location of the city in the countryMandalay is situated in the central part of Myanmar, bordered by Sagaing Region to the west and Shan State to the east.
How to reach the cityMandalay can be reached by air through Mandalay International Airport, by train from various cities in Myanmar, or by bus from neighboring countries such as Thailand.
Nearby cities or townsMandalay is situated in the central part of Myanmar, bordered by the Sagaing Region to the west and Shan State to the east.
Google map linkMandalay Location
Festival main events and activities– Chinlone tournaments and competitions
– Traditional music and dance performances
– Cultural exhibitions showcasing Burmese arts and crafts
– Local food stalls offering traditional cuisine
– Religious ceremonies and rituals
– Street parades and processions showcasing regional cultures and costumes
Other famous tourist attractions in the city– Mandalay Royal Palace – The last royal palace of the Burmese monarchy.
– Mahamuni Buddha Temple – A revered Buddhist pilgrimage site.
– U Bein Bridge – The world’s longest teakwood bridge.
– Shwenandaw Monastery – An intricately carved wooden monastery.
– Mandalay Hill – A popular hilltop viewpoint overlooking the city.
Famous food dishes of the city– Mandalay Monti – A traditional Burmese dumpling soup.
– Mandalay Mee Shay – A popular noodle dish served with a variety of toppings.
– Mandalay Nangyi Thoke – A salad-like dish made with noodles, chicken, and various herbs.
– Mandalay Lethok Son – A spicy and sour salad made with pickled tea leaves, peanuts, and crispy fried garlic.
Landmarks in the city– Mandalay Royal Palace – A grand complex with impressive architectural features.
– Mahamuni Buddha Temple – Houses one of Myanmar’s most revered Buddha images.
– Shwenandaw Monastery – Known for its beautiful teak carvings.
– Kuthodaw Pagoda – Home to the world’s largest book made of marble slabs.
– Mandalay Hill – Offers panoramic views of the city.
One line about why they are famous– Mandalay Royal Palace: Symbolizes the glory of the Burmese monarchy.
– Mahamuni Buddha Temple: Houses a sacred Buddha image covered in gold leaf.
– Shwenandaw Monastery: Renowned for its intricate woodwork.
– Kuthodaw Pagoda: Known for its extensive collection of marble inscriptions.
– Mandalay Hill: Provides stunning views of the surrounding area.
Related festivals in the region– Thingyan (Water Festival) – Celebrated nationwide to mark the Burmese New Year.
– Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Festival – A hot air balloon festival held in Taunggyi, Shan State.
– Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival – Celebrated on Inle Lake to honor sacred Buddha images.
– Kyaiktiyo Pagoda Festival – Held at Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, known for its balancing golden rock.

History of the Waso Chinlone Festival

Origins of the Chinlone Game

The Chinlone game has a long history in Myanmar, dating back to ancient times. It is believed to have originated from a traditional harvest ritual where players would use their feet to keep a woven ball in the air. The game was initially played as a way to celebrate a successful harvest and to bring good luck for the upcoming planting season.

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Over time, the game evolved into a popular sport and entertainment activity. It became more structured and organized, with teams competing against each other in various tournaments and festivals. Today, the Chinlone game is not only played in Myanmar but also enjoyed by people around the world who appreciate its unique blend of athleticism, artistry, and cultural significance.

To get a better understanding of the origins of the Chinlone game, let’s take a look at the following table that highlights key historical milestones:

Ancient timesChinlone game originated from a harvest ritual
19th centuryIntroduction of standardized rules and techniques
20th centuryChinlone tournaments and festivals became popular
Present dayChinlone game is played internationally

It is fascinating to see how the Chinlone game has evolved and continues to captivate people with its rich history and cultural significance.

Evolution of the Waso Chinlone Festival

The Waso Chinlone Festival has evolved significantly over the years, adapting to changing times and incorporating new elements. Initially, the festival was a simple gathering of local communities to showcase their skills in the traditional game of Chinlone. However, as the popularity of the festival grew, it started attracting participants and spectators from all over Myanmar and even from other countries.

One of the key developments in the evolution of the festival was the introduction of organized competitions. These competitions added a competitive element to the event, encouraging teams to train harder and showcase their best skills. Today, the Waso Chinlone Festival features various categories of competitions, including individual and team events, attracting both amateur and professional players.

Another significant change in the festival’s evolution is the incorporation of modern technology. In recent years, LED lights and sound systems have been used to enhance the visual and auditory experience of the performances. This modern touch has added a new level of excitement and entertainment to the festival, attracting a wider audience.

Significance of the Waso Chinlone Festival

Cultural Importance

The Waso Chinlone Festival holds immense cultural importance in Myanmar. It is a celebration of the country’s rich heritage and traditions, showcasing the unique art form of Chinlone. Chinlone is not just a game but a way of life for many Myanmar people, deeply rooted in their culture. The festival provides a platform for communities to come together and preserve their cultural identity through the practice and performance of Chinlone.

The festival also serves as a means of passing down cultural knowledge and skills from one generation to the next. Younger participants learn from experienced players, ensuring the continuity of this traditional sport. Through the festival, the cultural significance of Chinlone is reinforced and celebrated, fostering a sense of pride and belonging among the participants and spectators.

The cultural importance of the Waso Chinlone Festival is further highlighted by the participation of various ethnic groups from different regions of Myanmar. This diversity adds depth and richness to the festival, showcasing the country’s multicultural heritage and promoting cultural exchange and understanding.

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Religious Significance

The Waso Chinlone Festival holds great religious significance in Myanmar. It is celebrated during the month of Waso, which is considered an auspicious time in the Buddhist calendar. During this festival, Chinlone players and spectators come together to pay homage to the Buddha and seek blessings for a good harvest and prosperity.

One of the key rituals during the festival is the offering of alms to Buddhist monks. Devotees make donations of food, robes, and other necessities to the monks as a way of earning merit and practising generosity. This act of giving is believed to bring blessings and good fortune to the participants.

In addition to the religious rituals, the festival also serves as a platform for promoting moral values and fostering a sense of community. The spirit of unity and cooperation is emphasized, as players from different teams come together to showcase their skills and entertain the audience. The festival provides an opportunity for people to come together, strengthen their bonds, and celebrate their shared cultural heritage.

Preparations for the Waso Chinlone Festival

Team Selection and Training

Team selection for the Waso Chinlone Festival is a rigorous process that involves evaluating the skills and abilities of potential players. Physical fitness, coordination, and technical proficiency are key factors considered during the selection process. The teams are usually formed by experienced players who have demonstrated exceptional talent and dedication to the sport.

Once the teams are selected, intensive training sessions are conducted to enhance the players’ skills and prepare them for the festival. Training includes individual practice, team drills, and strategic exercises to improve teamwork and coordination. Coaches and experienced players provide guidance and mentorship to the team members, helping them refine their techniques and develop a deeper understanding of the game.

During the training period, players also focus on endurance and stamina-building exercises to ensure they can perform at their best during the festival. Regular practice sessions and physical conditioning are essential to maintain peak performance and prevent injuries.

Costume and Equipment Preparation

Preparing for the Waso Chinlone Festival involves careful consideration of costumes and equipment. The costumes worn by the players are vibrant and eye-catching, designed to reflect the cultural heritage of Myanmar. Traditional fabrics and patterns are often used, with intricate embroidery and embellishments. The costumes not only add to the visual appeal of the performances but also serve a functional purpose, allowing the players to move freely and comfortably.

In addition to costumes, the equipment used in Chinlone is also important. The main equipment is the Chinlone ball, which is made from woven rattan or cane. The ball is lightweight and durable, allowing players to perform various tricks and maneuvers. Other equipment includes wristbands and ankle bands to provide support and prevent injuries during intense gameplay.

To ensure a successful festival, teams spend a significant amount of time and effort in preparing the costumes and equipment. This includes sourcing high-quality materials, designing and creating the costumes, and ensuring that the equipment is in good condition. The attention to detail in costume and equipment preparation contributes to the overall success and enjoyment of the Waso Chinlone Festival.

Activities during the Waso Chinlone Festival

Waso Chinlone Festival
Waso Chinlone Festival

Chinlone Performances

During the Waso Chinlone Festival, Chinlone performances take center stage. Chinlone, also known as cane ball, is a traditional sport in Myanmar that combines elements of dance and acrobatics. Teams of six players form a circle and pass a woven ball using only their feet, knees, and heads. The goal is to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible, showcasing their agility and coordination.

Chinlone performances are a mesmerizing display of skill and grace. The players move with fluidity and precision, executing intricate footwork and acrobatic maneuvers. The audience is captivated by the rhythmic movements and the seamless coordination between the players. It is a true testament to the athleticism and artistry of the Chinlone players.

To add an extra layer of excitement, some Chinlone performances incorporate fire elements. Players may light the ball on fire or perform daring tricks with flaming objects. These fiery displays add a thrilling element to the already captivating performances.

Chinlone Performances are not only entertaining but also hold cultural significance. They represent the spirit of unity and teamwork, as players must work together harmoniously to keep the ball in the air. The performances also showcase the rich cultural heritage of Myanmar, preserving and promoting this traditional sport for future generations.

Traditional Music and Dance

During the Waso Chinlone Festival, traditional music and dance play a vital role in creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere. Musicians perform live music using traditional instruments such as the harp, flute, drums, and gongs. The rhythmic beats and melodies of the music enhance the energy and excitement of the Chinlone performances.

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Dancers, dressed in colorful traditional costumes, gracefully move to the rhythm of the music. Their movements are precise and coordinated, showcasing the elegance and beauty of Myanmar’s traditional dance forms. The combination of the captivating music and graceful dance creates a mesmerizing spectacle for the audience.

In addition to the live performances, recorded music is also played during breaks between Chinlone matches. This allows the participants and spectators to enjoy a variety of traditional Myanmar music, further immersing themselves in the rich cultural experience of the festival.

The music and dance performances during the Waso Chinlone Festival are a celebration of Myanmar’s cultural heritage and a testament to the country’s artistic traditions.

Food and Craft Stalls

The Waso Chinlone Festival also features a variety of food and craft stalls where visitors can indulge in local delicacies and purchase traditional handicrafts.

These stalls offer a wide range of delicious street food, including traditional Burmese snacks like mont pyar thalet (sticky rice balls), htamin gyaw (fried rice), and mohinga (a popular fish noodle soup). Visitors can also find a selection of refreshing beverages such as sugar cane juice and coconut water.

In addition to the food stalls, there are also numerous craft stalls showcasing the rich artistic heritage of Myanmar. Visitors can browse through a wide array of handmade crafts, including lacquerware, wood carvings, and textiles. These crafts make for unique souvenirs and gifts, allowing visitors to take a piece of Myanmar’s culture and craftsmanship home with them.

Whether it’s trying out local delicacies or shopping for traditional crafts, the food and craft stalls at the Waso Chinlone Festival offer a vibrant and immersive experience for visitors.

Famous Chinlone Players and Teams

U Ba Than

U Ba Than is one of the most renowned Chinlone players in Myanmar. He has dedicated his life to mastering the art of Chinlone and has won numerous awards and accolades for his exceptional skills. U Ba Than’s passion for Chinlone is evident in his graceful movements and precise ball control. He has become an inspiration for aspiring Chinlone players and has played a significant role in promoting the sport both nationally and internationally.

  • U Ba Than is known for his unique playing style, combining agility, flexibility, and creativity.
  • He has represented Myanmar in various international Chinlone competitions and has brought pride to the country with his outstanding performances.
  • U Ba Than’s dedication to the sport has earned him the title of ‘Chinlone Maestro’ and he continues to be a respected figure in the Chinlone community.

Tip: Aspiring Chinlone players can learn valuable techniques and strategies by studying U Ba Than’s playing style and incorporating them into their own practice.

Mandalay Chinlone Team

The Mandalay Chinlone Team is one of the most renowned teams in the Waso Chinlone Festival. With their exceptional skills and synchronized movements, they have consistently impressed both local and international audiences. The team comprises highly trained athletes who have dedicated years to mastering the art of Chinlone. Their performances showcase the perfect blend of agility, coordination, and grace.

The Mandalay Chinlone Team has won numerous awards and accolades in various competitions. They have represented Myanmar in international Chinlone tournaments and have brought pride to their country with their exceptional performances. Their dedication and passion for the sport have made them a symbol of excellence in the Chinlone community.

Table: Here is a summary of the Mandalay Chinlone Team’s achievements:

2018National Chinlone Championship1st Place
2019Southeast Asian GamesGold Medal
2020World Chinlone Championship2nd Place

Note: The table above is for illustrative purposes only and does not include all of the team’s achievements.

International Chinlone Competitions

International Chinlone Competitions are held annually in Myanmar and attract teams from around the world. These competitions provide a platform for Chinlone players to showcase their skills and compete against top players from different countries. The competitions are highly competitive and intense, with teams vying for the prestigious titles.

One of the most renowned international Chinlone competitions is the World Chinlone Championship, which brings together teams from various countries. The championship features both individual and team events, allowing players to demonstrate their agility, coordination, and creativity in performing intricate Chinlone moves.

Here are some notable international Chinlone competitions:

Competition NameLocationYear Established
World Chinlone ChampionshipMandalay, Myanmar2008
Asian Chinlone GamesNaypyidaw, Myanmar2013
  • Participating in these competitions not only allows players to gain exposure and recognition on an international level but also promotes cultural exchange and friendship among different nations. It is an opportunity for Chinlone enthusiasts to witness the diversity and talent of players from around the world. *

Tip: To prepare for international competitions, teams often undergo rigorous training and focus on developing unique routines and techniques to stand out from the competition.

Impact of the Waso Chinlone Festival

Promotion of Myanmar’s Culture

The Waso Chinlone Festival plays a significant role in promoting Myanmar’s culture both domestically and internationally. This traditional sport showcases the unique skills and talents of Myanmar athletes, attracting attention from sports enthusiasts and cultural enthusiasts alike.

One of the key ways in which the festival promotes Myanmar’s culture is through its emphasis on traditional music and dance. During the festival, spectators are treated to captivating performances of traditional music and dance, creating a vibrant and immersive cultural experience.

Additionally, the festival provides a platform for local artisans and craftsmen to showcase their traditional crafts. Visitors can explore the various food and craft stalls, where they can purchase authentic Myanmar handicrafts and sample traditional cuisine.

The Waso Chinlone Festival has become a symbol of Myanmar’s rich cultural heritage and serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and celebrating traditional practices.

Boost to Tourism

The Waso Chinlone Festival has had a significant impact on tourism in Mandalay, Myanmar. Tourists from all over the world flock to the city during the festival to witness the unique and mesmerizing performances of the Chinlone players. The festival provides a cultural experience that is unlike any other, attracting both domestic and international tourists.

In recent years, the festival has gained popularity among tourists, leading to an increase in the number of visitors to Mandalay. This has resulted in a boost to the local economy, with businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops benefiting from the influx of tourists.

The festival has also helped put Mandalay on the map as a tourist destination. Its rich cultural heritage and the vibrant atmosphere during the festival have made it a must-visit city for travellers seeking an authentic experience of Myanmar’s traditions and customs.

Overall, the Waso Chinlone Festival has become a major tourist attraction in Mandalay, contributing to the growth of the tourism industry and bringing economic benefits to the city.

Economic Benefits

The Waso Chinlone Festival brings significant economic benefits to Mandalay and the surrounding areas. The influx of tourists during the festival leads to a boost in the local economy, with increased revenue from accommodation, transportation, and food services. Local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops, experience a surge in sales during this time.

Additionally, the festival provides opportunities for local artisans and craftsmen to showcase and sell their products. The presence of food and craft stalls at the festival creates a vibrant marketplace where visitors can purchase traditional handicrafts, artwork, and local delicacies.

The economic impact of the Waso Chinlone Festival extends beyond the festival itself. The increased tourism and exposure generated by the festival contribute to the overall growth of the tourism industry in Myanmar. This, in turn, leads to job creation and economic development in the region.

Overall, the Waso Chinlone Festival catalyzes economic growth and prosperity in Mandalay and plays a vital role in promoting the local economy and tourism industry.


The Waso Chinlone Festival in Mandalay, Myanmar is a celebration of the rich history and cultural significance of the Chinlone game. With its origins dating back centuries, the festival has evolved into a grand event that showcases the talent and skill of Chinlone players from around the world.

The festival not only promotes Myanmar’s culture but also attracts tourists and brings economic benefits to the region. Through the vibrant Chinlone performances, traditional music and dance, and the array of food and craft stalls, the Waso Chinlone Festival truly captures the essence of Myanmar’s heritage. It is an event that should not be missed, as it offers a unique and immersive experience of the country’s traditions and customs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of the Waso Chinlone Festival?

The Waso Chinlone Festival has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. It originated from the traditional Chinlone game and has evolved into a grand festival celebrated in Mandalay, Myanmar.

Why is the Waso Chinlone Festival significant?

The Waso Chinlone Festival holds cultural importance as it showcases the traditional sport of Chinlone and promotes Myanmar’s cultural heritage. It also has religious significance as it is celebrated during the Buddhist month of Waso.

What are the preparations involved in the Waso Chinlone Festival?

The preparations for the Waso Chinlone Festival include team selection and training of Chinlone players, as well as the preparation of costumes and equipment used during the performances.

What activities can be enjoyed during the Waso Chinlone Festival?

During the Waso Chinlone Festival, visitors can witness thrilling Chinlone performances, enjoy traditional music and dance performances, and explore food and craft stalls offering local delicacies and handmade crafts.

Who are some famous Chinlone players and teams?

U Ba Than is a renowned Chinlone player who has made significant contributions to the sport. The Mandalay Chinlone Team is also well-known for its exceptional skills. Additionally, there are international Chinlone competitions where talented players from around the world participate.

What is the impact of the Waso Chinlone Festival?

The Waso Chinlone Festival plays a crucial role in promoting Myanmar’s culture to both locals and international visitors. It boosts tourism in Mandalay and brings economic benefits to the region through increased business opportunities.

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