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Published on Friday, 23 November 2012 19:41
Taunggyi is hosting the 67th annual fire balloon festival from November 21-28, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the country.
The fire balloon festival is held annually at the capital city of Shan State at the foot of the Sulamuni Pagoda.
During the eight-day festival, the contestants will compete in three categories: day-time balloons decorated in the shape of various animals, Sein Nar Pan (Diamond Earpiece) balloons lit with candle lanterns, and Nya Mee Kyi (Night Fireworks) balloons carrying explosive fireworks.
After the presiding monk of Kone Thar monastery organised the release of a fire balloon in 1941, the locals caught on the thrill of releasing fire balloons and organised the first fire balloon competition in 1945.
As the competition became a traditional festival, the number of fire balloons kept increasing over the years. According to the fire balloon festival sub-committee, 326 day-time balloons, 36 Sein Nar Pan balloons, and 86 Nya Mee Kyi balloons will compete in the festival this year.
Although the balloons are costly to make, they are the symbol of prestige and unity between the teams who spent many months in preparation for the festival.
Besides local teams, other teams from nearby towns of Ho Pone, Nyaung Shwe, and Aung Pan, and express bus services will also be competing in the festival.