National Flowers of Myanmar
In fact, there is no official National Flower of Myanmar that is declared by States Constitution or any other laws). Traditionally, Burmese defined 12 different flowers as seasonal and festival flowers of Myanmar. Among them, two flowers are considered as national floral identities for Myanmar: One is Paduak and the other is Thazin. Read on to learn more about Myanmar’s pretty national flowers.
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Padauk (Myanmar rosewood flower)
The Padauk, also known as the Thingyan flower, is the favorite national flower symbol of Myanmar people. The Padauk blossoms in tiny fragrant yellow-gold flowers after the first showers in April, coinciding with the Myanmar New Year Festival and the Thingyan (Water Festival). Once in bloom, the entire tree turns gold overnight.
Facts about Padauk
• Scientific Name: Pterocarpusmacrocarpus.
• Found in: All over Myanmar and native to Southern Asia, Northern Australia, Western Pacific Ocean Islands.
• Color: Yellow.
• Time of blooming: April.
• Purpose: Ornamental, herbal.
• Symbolism: Strength, love, youth and romance.
Padauk has very important role in Burmese culture. The first month of the Burmese traditional lunar calendar starts from mid-April, when Padauk flowers bloom. So, it is closely associated with New Year Festival. During the festival, symbolisms of the Padauk can be seen everywhere, from big cities such as Yangon or Mandalay to other smaller city, town or village. The flowers are used to decorate all public places, temples, houses, and even vehicles. Women love to put the Padauk flowers on their hair or wear as long necklaces. When the flowers bloom, Padauk lovers go crazy and every household will offer the first bloom of flowers to Buddha, either at pagodas or to Buddha images enshrined at their homes. During the celebrations, people present gifts in the form of flower petals in a silver bowl to their deities. They also present flower necklaces to travelers showing hospitality and goodwill. That could be the reasons most of the people believe the Padauk to be the national flower.
Besides, it is a favorite flower of poets and artists. It is often depicted on pottery and ceramics or sculpted in stone as well. Therefore, the flower has long become a part of everyday life in Myanmar.
However, it is often mistaken with the Cassia fistula which is the national flower of Thailand. Both of them have large concentration of yellowish flowers in the trees during the blossoming period. The Paduak can be found throughout the country. The wood of the tree is also used for making furniture.
Thazin (Myanmar Orchid)
Thazin is the most coveted and appreciated flower Among Myanmar wild orchids. It blooms with tiny white flowers in graceful sprays that grow out of a small, bright-green, pear shaped bulb. It is traditionally designated as flower of the month of Nataw (the 9th month of Myanmar lunar calendar corresponds to December). Now, it is also considered as another national flower of Myanmar – just less popular than Padauk.
Facts about Thazin
• Scientific Name: Bulbophyllum auricomum.
• Found in: Thailand, Burma, Sumatra and Java in lowland seasonal forests.
• Color: White.
• Time of blooming: November, December & January.
• Purpose: Fragrant, decorated.
• Symbolism: Royalties and purities.
Myanmar ladies love to use Thazin to decorate their hairdo. In the long Bagan Period of over 3 centuries, 55 different styles of women’s coiffures were recorded in literature and mural paintings. Graceful Thazin shoots simply fit any hairdo of any time. Besides, Thazin flowers bear an elegant fragrance, just enough refreshing scent to the wearer and all round. Observe ear-boring ceremony or wedding of a Myanmar girl, you will see Thazin flowers gracefully adorned fittingly her hair coiffeur. Even though it is not the season of natural Thazin, paper Thazin will be use as the replacement.
Thazin flower was listed among the royal flowers in the days of Myanmar monarchy. As it was so rare, only royal members allowed to wear it. The special envoys had to go deep into the jungles in Rakhine Yoma mountain ranges to collect some of these orchids for ceremonial purposes. Nowadays, people grow it easily with bulbs collected from the jungles but even then, it is still an expensive flower.
The likability of this high – class flower can be seen in the Burmese cultures via songs and the literatures. An example is a love song of late Konbaung Period composed by Princess Hlaing Hteik Khaung Tin, the queen of Crown Prince Kanaung. Crown Prince was a philanderer, enjoyed having affairs with pretty ladies. So she composed Bawlei songs expressing her deep emotion of a forlorn lover. Thazin flower appeared in her song.