Shinbyu or Noviciation Parade

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At some time or other, every Buddhist in Myanmar is expected to spend time in a monastery. Since long hair is the norm for women here, then if you see a young lady with short hair, it is likely that she has spent some time recently in a monastery, as the head must be shaved. Prior to spending time in a monastery as a youngster, there is a noviciation ceremony and we were lucky to bump into one as we left the hotel for a morning tour. The whole village is involved in this event as it is a sort of coming of age ceremony for the young children, especially the boys. They are dressed up as princes and protected by umbrellas, and paraded on horses, elephants and bullock carts. The parade we saw clearly had a wealthy donor given that there were three elephants! 

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The parade is noisy, with music blasting from loudspeakers and dancers to entertain. The guy in green plays the role of a jester, and I think he is supposed to be flirting with the young lady, or was it the other way around!

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This was such a lavish celebration that I have included many photos here. I hope you we see that the faces of the villagers are all quite different, even though they all come from the same village. Their costumes are various too. You might also notice how bored many of the participants look! I think this might be because they will have been up very early for this event and will not have slept well as even we could hear the sound of loud music all night long. And if you think the guy’s faces might looked distorted, it is probably because they are chewing betel leaf as a stimulant.

Here is the order of the procession as it went by….

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Later we saw another noviciation ceremony at Inle Lake, and you can see a water-based procession using this link.


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© Helen Gray 2020