Religions in Myanmar (Burma)
Myanmar is hidden gem of Southeast Asia, the country was closed for over 3 decades and just opened recently to the World. There are lots of things in Myanmar are still the mystery to regular travelers. With over 60 million population from 135 tribes, Myanmar really is the diversified culture a multi-religious country. There is no official state religion, but in practice Burmese people show preference for Buddhism. There are also significant minorities of Christians, Islam and Muslims as well as some Animists and Hindus. Some of them are non-religion.
The believe in Buddhism is very strong in Myanmar where people would donate of major part of their income to pagoda, where they built amazing Shwedagon Pagoda mostly from the donation of community. The lower part of the tower is said to be covered with 8,688 solid gold bars, and the upper part with another 13,153 bars. The top of the tower is inlaid with 5,448 diamonds; 2,317 rubies, sapphires and other precious stones; 1,065 golden bells; and a single 72-carat diamond at the very top.
Buddhism in Myanmar is predominantly of the Theravada tradition. The practice of Theravāda Buddhism is unique in Myanmar for it incorporates spirit (nat) worship, which involves the placation of spirits who can intercede in worldly affairs.
The monk’s practice in Myanmar is similar to Thailand, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia: monks do not stay at the temples but at the monasteries. They go for alms every morning and are allowed to eat only from sun rises until noon time. Then, they cannot eat until the next morning. Myanmar has many monasteries – where Buddhists come to pay respect and offer food, money, robes and supplies to the monks.
Monks, collectively known as the Sangha, are venerated members of Burmese society. It is commonly expected that males will enter the monastery twice in their lives as a rite of passage – the novitiation ceremony (shinpyu). This happens for a period of time as a child and again as an adult. The education as a novice can last for a few months.
Myanmar has thousands of temples, pagodas and stupas scattered throughout the country. It is a reason why Myanmar is also known as a country of pagodas.
Christianity is the second largest religion in Myanmar. Its followers mostly belong to indigenous ethnic minorities as Kachin, Chin and Naga. It is also practised widely among the Karen and Karenni ethnic groups that converted through European missionary work in their regions. The biggest traditions are Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.
Officially, more than 2 million of population is Muslim. The highest concentration of Muslims resides in Rakhine State, where Rohingya Muslims form the majority in some northern areas. Many citizens of Myanmar believe Rohingya Muslims to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, although many Rohingya have lived in Rakhine for many generations. There is strong anti-Muslim sentiment throughout many layers of Myanmar society.
Hinduism is practiced by 300 thousand populations. Most Hindus in Myanmar are Burmese Indians.
Hinduism arrived in Myanmar in ancient times, and its influence can still be found in Burmese culture today. Despite the country’s strong Buddhist majority, the names “Myanmar” and “Burma” are both derivations of “Brahma”, a Hindu deity with four heads. Furthermore, the king of the nats, Thagyamin, is based on a Hindu god named Indra. Many Hindu gods are likewise worshipped by many Burmese people. Burmese literature has also been enriched by Hinduism
Nowadays, most Hindus are found in the urban centres of Yangon and Mandalay. Ancient Hindu temples are present in other parts of Burma, such as the 11th-century Nathlaung Kyaung Temple dedicated to Vishnu in Bagan.
Animism is a belief that spirits exist and may live in all things. Although Buddhism has blended with native animism over the years, folk religion still persists in some corners of Myanmar.
There is a small number of community is non-religion. This amount is about 60 thousand people and they are negligible compared to the rest of community.
Myanmar now opens the door to welcome travelers from all over the World. Visit Myanmar today, visitors could discover the spectacular untouched nature, taste the delicious local cuisine, meet and talk to the friendliest people in the World, stay in the qualified hotels & resort and uncover the amazing diversified culture and strong believes in their religions. Contact Myanmar Travel if you need any further travel information or any travel services.