NAT (spirit) PWE (festival)
Back ground (history of NAT spirit worship)
The spirit worship in Myanmar have long history. Starting from Ta Gaung Dynesty. This is the earliest historical site in Myanmar kings period. The Ta Gaung the town famous in legends and history as the probable capital of the earliest kingdom in Myanmar in a country of such deep tradition as Myanmar, folklone hold more sway then scientific hisforical proof when a legends tell of a Naga, a dragon who cold take human form and who was lover to a beautiful queen, and a whose death the queen made a jacket from his skin and a hairpin from his bone who care what cological proof says. There are many ancient ruined temples in Ta Gang and stories of plenty fall and harm less. The home guardian NAT spirit are happened from this Ta Gang area.
In this period, there are famous for home guardian spirit such as Mg Thint Tei, Ma Mya Hla, Ma Htwe Phyu, Shwe Nabe, Ma Htwe Lay, Mg Shin Phyu and Mg Shin Nyo.
Anothers back grand hitstory is from Bagan Dynesty. (10 to 13 AD). During this 300 years periods, 55 kings are sit on their throne.
During that days, There are so many happened. Especially the famous Min Gyi, Min Lay, Ko Gyi Kyaw, Mei Wunna are welknown among the Myanmar Nat spirit worshipers. All of thems are happened around Bagan and Mt. Popa, Most of popular Mingyi and Min Lay (Shwe Phyin Kyi and Shwe Phyin Lay) are got resident at Tang Phone village which located at 7 miles away from north of Mandalay. Now a day, the most busient and clouded festival is at Taung Phone village in middle of July.
The others NAT spirit (local guardians) are related with Shan, Mon and Kayin indigenous races of Myanmars. Koe Myo Shin, Koe Thein Shin, Khun Cho, Khun Tha, Boe Boe and Amei Nan Karine NAT spirit are came from indigenous races of Myanmar.
Sites of festival and cerebration dates
The most popular site for NAT spirit worship festival is Taung Pyone village near Mandalay. There are more than 400,000 peoples visited in 7 days festival period in this year 2008. The whole countery peoples are come and enjoy the festival from Young to old. They held the festival in July annually. The NAT maidens lead the festival for a week.
After Taung Pyone festival, the Yadanagu Nat spirit festival is held annually. Yadanagu festival is close to wourld famous U Paine wooden bridge at Amarapura, Mandalay. This is the extensive festival of Taung Pyone.
Popa Mei Daw (Mei Wunna) also a leading NAT spirit in 37 nats spirit group. So the nat maidens are orgainzed to held the festival at Mt. Popa in December annually. The peoples who lives arround Bagan and Popa area are enjoy this festival annually. Up to know you can see the road of Mr. Phyata who run 3 times aday from Bagan to Mt. popa to harvest the flowers at Mt. Popa and present to the king of Bagan daily. Later he married Mei Wunna and got two children call Shwe Phpin Nyi naung (later became Min Gyi and Min Lay Nat at Taung Pyone).
The another most famous nat spirit call Amay Yin festival, at Yinmarbin township, Monywa distric, Sagain division, central Myanmar. Amai Yin (Amai Yeyin) festival is held in March at Maung Htone village, Yinmabin Township, Monywa district . The festival is famous for farmmer of the local community. Many peoples belief that Amai Yin can help and support to increces their crops and health. During this festival local products and mobile traders are come and selling their comodities. Also good informations for the next year crops via Amai Yin Nat spirits festival.
Drinking, gambaling, womanized and cock fighting competative manner was entered to Pa Khan Ko Gyi Kyaw Nat spirit. His last life is a major of royal army. But unfortunatly he was billed and became Nat. Young and old man are like him very much. He was famous among of the man, because of his charcetors. Our local peoples are sample and relax. They want to lives free of their life. So, they enjoy the Pa Khan Ko Kyi Kyaw style. The festival for Pa Khan Ko Kyi Kyaw is held at Nan Oo Village annually in March at Pakkoku Township. Ko Gyi Kyaw who was a native of Pa Khan Gyi Village, near Pakkoku, that why the peoples called him Pa Khan Ko Gyi Kyaw.
Nan Oo village is located at the west back of Ayawady river near Pakokku. Many peoples come to reach the festival. Our summer heat is really heigh in March. But the local community are happy to enjoy the Pakhan Ko Gyi Kyaw Nat festival. They cross the river under the summer heat and go and pray for their properousness on their daily works.
Sences of festivals
Every festival look same performances. The triditional culture, local life styles, local community local products and typical Myanmar beliefs. When the Myanmar orchestra made big sounds, the nat maiden sing the nat reputation soungs, and the surportors sound of orchestra are give you the strength to enjoy and to made understand of the nat sprit festival. For our Myanmar peoples, (who belief on not spirit) we belief we can get the strength and powers psychologically . If you want to see the typical Myanmar's life and culture, why not to come and see the local community at NAT spirit festival.
Classification of 37 Nats spirit and their short Biography
(1) Home guardian Nat spirit (7 members)
(2) Mt. Popa region Nat spirit (5 members)
(3) Myin Phyu Shin (White horese owner) (4 members)
(4) Shan races Nat spirit (4 members)
(5) Great Mei Daw Nat spirit (4 members)
(6) Amei Jan spirit
(7) Pyay Le Pyin Nat spirit (2 members)
(8) Nan Karine Mei Daw Nat spirit. (Mon races Nat spirit)
(9) Aung Naing Nat spirit.
(10) U Shin Gyi nat spirit (Harp player nat)
(11) Ah Boe Kayin races Nat spirit.
(12) Pone Ma Kyi Shin Ma Nat spirit
(13) Koe Thein Shin Shan races nat spirit (2 members)
(14) Ma Ha Myaing nat spirit
(15) Shan Ma Aung Phu Nat spirit and
(16) Moe Kaung Kyaw Swa nat spirit
Biography of 37 Nat spirit
7 in house guardian nat spirit (Ta Gaung Dynesty)
U Tint Taw + Daw Nan
Mg Tint Tei
Ma Mya Hla (queen Thiri Sanda)
Ma Twe Phyu (Okalapa queen Nat)
Shwe Na Be (popa)
(Marrid to srikitha king)
Mg Shin Phyu
Mg Shin Nyo
Ma Hne Mi (Ma Hne Lay NAT)
5 Popa group Nat spirit (Bagan Dynesty)
Ko Byata _+ Mei Wunna (popa)
Shwe Phyin Gyi
Shwe Phyin Lay
Ma Shwe U+Mg Yin Mg (Mei U Nat) (Mg Yin Mg Nat) (Taung Daw Thukhin Ma)
4 Myin Phyu Shin Nat spirit
(1) Yamaa Myin Phyu Shin (Popa - Yomaa creek)
(Pho Hla Kyaw at Bagan) Cross the Yamaa creek, die and become to Nat.
(2) Kani Myin Phyu Shin (Bagan)
From India to Kalay (Myanmar), a prince from Yezagyo, He ask his grandson Pho Min Phyu to establish the city at Kani. When Bagan King come and fight Pho Min Phyu rode the horse to Chin Dwin river. Then die and became Nat.
(3) Shwe Pyit Kyun Myin Phyu Shin (Bagan)
Nga Pyit who is the King's horse keeper become Nat who was killed by his master prince Narapati sithu at Nga Saung chan area.
(4) Shwe sit Thin Myin Phyu Shin (Bagan)
Bagan Last King Saw Mon Nit's San Prince Shwe Sit Thin who like cock fighting sport. When the father ordered to fight at fronter area, he absent on it. Then the king angry and killed him. he become Nat.
Pan Taung Pyi
King Min Hla Si Thu + Queen Ku Ni Si Devi
crown prince( Koe Myo Shin )
Princess Pale Yin
Major Min Kyaw Swa
When king Min Hla Si Thu's friend Mine Pyin Shan chief Saw Khun Kyi was attacked by Kyaing Taung Shan chief saw Thi Ha, the king his son and Major Min Kyaw Swa sent to Shan State. Before Koe Myo Shin
arrive to Shan State, Saw Thiha kill Saw Khun Kyi and Koe Myo Shin took two sons Khun cho and Khun Tha to capital. The King passed two sons to Koe Myo Shin and Pale Yin for adobt it. The king prize Major Min Kyaw Swa as Mayor of Pakhan town. From that time the name become Pa Khan Min Kyaw Swa or PhaKhan U Min Kyaw.
Later Khun Cho Khun Tha back to Shan State and live for 3 years there. After that U Min Kyaw coup the palace and killed king and queen. Koe Myo Shin and sister paleyin escape away. Then U Min Kyaw call back Khun Cho Khu Tha and ask to kill Koe Myo Shin. Ater Koe Myo Shin suside himself and Khun Cho Khun Tha back to U Min Kyaw, U Min Kyaw kill them on the way. Later U Min Kyaw die by falling the tree. (Sagawa)
Paleyin married to Ko Mg Latt, got one daughter call Thel Thel; Koe Myo shin kill Paleyin, by spirit pull out, Paleyin kill her daughter by making shock to her daughter and Mg Latt die by sorrowness. they all are becomes Nat in this group.
1. Ko Myo Shin
2. Pale Yin
3. Khun Cho
4. Khun Tha
5. Thel Thel
6. Mg Latt
7. Ko Gyi Kyaw are become Nats.
Mei Daw Nat (Yinmabin Town, Monywa district)(4 sisters Nat)
1. Ashe Mei Daw (great mother meas Mei Daw) ( East Mei Daw )
2. Anout Mei Daw (Amay Ye Yin) ( West Mei Daw )
3. Taung Mei Daw ( south Mei Daw )
4. Myout Mei Daw ( North Mei Daw )
The most famous is Amay Ye Yin Mei Daw. The peoples held the festival at Yinmabin town, Monywa district in early March. There they have one Ye Yin creek. Normally dry but during the festival the creek becomes wet and full of water. The surronding area such as Sa Lin Gyi, Pale and Yin Ma Bin enjoy the festival with full of more than 5000 bullock cart annually. Some beleif that the 4 mei Daws are the Younger sisters of Ba Done Nat (or) Alone Bo Taw Gyi Nat. Some time Amei Ye Yin ate the
fire during the festival.
Amei Jan Nat
She is rude in talk. She came from normal people's life. She was killed became of rude speak. She Want to bless the poor peoples. She kind to normal life's peoples. She talk with loud speaks not clear in her back ground history.
Pyay Le Pyin brothers and sisters
Not clear at their back ground history. But many peoples belief that they are Shans.
Nankarine Mei Daw
The Mon indigenous peoples belief that The two brothers king Thamala and wimala who found the Mon Kingdom are the back ground history of Nankarine Mei Daw Nat. Nan Karine is the name of female Bufflo when the younger brother secrificed his brother, the son of the king escape with his mother and grow up amoung the hard of the bufflo. The Nankarine female bufflo feed her milk to young prince.
When the India invade to Mon Dynesty, the king ask the prince to attack the Indian troup. The prince got the power from May Khala angle and win the invation. But he promise to offer the bufflo head to Maykala angle. The Nankarine female bufflo killed herself and give the head to adobted son. But the prince very sorry and make the imitation of the bufflo head for his own worship. From that days, the peoples are worship the NanKarine Mei daw up to now.
The Aung Naing Nat (or) Bufflo attended
Keep close to Nankarine Mei Daw. It is famous for the countery peoples. Many farmmers are worship him. They always pay attention to Aung Naing NAT. When they enter to their field work.
The Sea Owner U Shin Gyi NAT
Mg Shn is from Bago region call Ka Sin Village. He is skill in harp playing who learned from his father. After his father passed away, they are needy, thet why he fallow with a group of boat man to collect the banboo and some wood to Main Ma Hla Kyun. (island)
When they arrived there, Mg Shin took duty to cook and wait the boat,as he is still young and can not be work from cutting the bamboo and tree. At that island the poacher's U Gtaw's daughters are killed by tiger and becomes nat spirit at there. Mg Shin lonely and play his harp or the boat, the lady Nat spirit are become love to Mg Shin.
When Mg Shin's group want to leave from the island, the boat can not more from there, when they offer the spirit they need to left person for spirit, when they vote Mg Shin is the man who have to left. Then the head of boat man throw Mg Shin into the water. He became sea owner spirit, call sea owner U Shin Gyi. Many peoples belief if they offer U Shin Gyi during their trip to sea, it is sound and safe for their trip.
The Bo Htaw or Ah Boe NAT
He is a hunter, he lived at Kyun Nyo island. Bo Htaw history is earler than U Shin Gyi. He lost during the hunting time. Then he became
Ah Boe Nat. When they offer the U Shin Gyi Nat. They add the Ah Boe nat too. When they offer Ah Boe Nat, They have to call loudly to Ah Boe because he is not good in hearing.
Pone Ma Kyi Shin Ma Nat
Many farmers belief on this nat because she help the farmers. For the back ground history of Pone Ma Kyi have bad manner. When she became last life the great Buddha call her and give the sermon, then she become good manner. She take care the farmmers and give the farmer to better farm land. That why many farmers offer to Pone Ma Kyi nat.
Koe Thein Shin Nat (3 Shan Nats)
Bagan king Anowyahta marrid Shan prices Saw Mon Hla, later Shan chief sao Naung present his two daughter Saw Aung and Saw Nan when the king visit Shan region on the way back to Bagan, King Naw Ya Hta camp at 9 district of farm Land (properbly at around the Pam Long rivers and Zaw Gyi river at central Myanmar.) When the king built the big dam at Zaw Gyi river, it is can not make finishment of dam.For that to finish of the dam, queen Saw Aung offer to herself to do this scrification. Her younger sister Saw Nan also shock on it and die.
Their elder brother Shan chief also die when he heard about his two sister happing. Later they all are became Nats and got the place to guard the 9 district farm land.
Maha Myaing Nat (or) Visanu Princess
The back ground history of Maha Myaing Nat is come from Seriketra Dynestry. (now prome region) The queen pantwa from visunu (now Taung Twin Gyi region)was die and become Nat of Maha Myaing. She do not like the husband overcome on life. She take care the woman who skill in weaving. She hate man and monk.
Shan Ma Aung Phyu (or) rolled mat
During the Bagan Dynesty, price Thoe Myo Shin built the Thayawady city. When they built the entrance of the city, they cannot lift the pole of the entrance wall. When the profect let then know to sacrified a woman who is a sunday born lady. Finally they got Ma Ang Phyu, who her husband was inprisonment and she try to go and see him. The king's guards killed her at entrance of city wall. When she come and see her husband she bring a mat for ther husband use. After killed and become Nat, She won the mat too. Many people call her the mat nat Ma Aung Phyu.
Moe Kaung Kyaw Swa Nat
This nat is relatedwith flurorish of Bagan Dynesty. The king Narathu get angery with Kyaw Swa who got some blessing from monk Shin isagona (formaly known as Shin Ma Htee).
The king kill him and his son Wun Tha because of not reply the king where the monk Shin Ma Htu live. Monk Shin Ma Htee got special power by means of eggiya (practice alchemy) and help the Bagan peoples to become rich by means of his egyiya (practice alchemy) technical know how. At that time Bagan have 8.3 million Pagoda built by Bagan peoples. The Bagan dynesty was broke by draught and Mongo TarTar chinese invation.
When Kyaw Swa was killed by king and became Nat as he hate king,he move the cloud by his special power, that why Bagan became to draught. Many peoples worship Kyaw Swa nat to get rain up to now, and they held the Tug of war sport to get rain.
“Transvestites – the surprise at Burmese Festivals"
I have just come back from an amazing festival in central burma. Imagine a tall transvestite beauty, dressed in a purple silk sheath, and dancing to music of traditional instruments, surrounded by crowds of local people sitting cross-legged and watching with evident pleasure. S/he was just one of dozens of dancers at this extraordianry festival. It celebrated the life of a spirit, or “Nat.” The religion of the nats is older than buddhism but has become entwined with it in Myanmar (Burma). The Nats are still regarded as powerful in Mynamar today – there are Nats who care for forests, and for sailors, and Nats who were once historical figures. Each Nat has an earthly representative, who inspires him or her. These Nat mediums are often transvestites, and they come together at the festivals to dance. The festival I went to is only once a year, but there are others. It’s an unbelievable experience, and only one other westerner was there among thousands of local people.
A traveler note.