Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Myanmar, “the Golden Land” was once Burma until her name was officially changed in 1989.
Often overlooked and underappreciated by many, Myanmar is strategically located at the most northwest of the Southeast Asian lands, strategically located nearby important Indian Ocean shipping lanes.
When one thinks or mentions Myanmar, we think of Aung San Suu Kyi or the military junta that once ruled the nation with an iron fist. But there is so much more Myanmar has to offer. With a population of 53.7 million and new leadership, the country is slowly looking forward to a hopeful future.
Meanwhile, here are 20 interesting facts about Myanmar that will definitely surprise you.
Ranging from the oldest teakwood bridge in the world to having an interesting and complex naming system, these are the little things of Myanmar that have gone unnoticed.
1. Thanakha -- a cosmetic paste made from tree bark
Thanakha, traditional Burmese beauty secret
The trees that thanakha is made from are often grown to a minimum of 35 years to reach the perfect maturity to produce good-quality cuttings. Some locals even use it as an ingredient in traditional medicine as it is believed to contain medicinal properties. Thanakha is really cooling and provides protection from sunburn. If you ever get the opportunity to try it, don’t miss out -- it’s believed to smoothen your skin!
2. Burmese Calendar
The Burmese have their own calendar, which follows lunar months for its months and sidereal years (the time taken for the Earth to orbit the sun). Although not used officially, it still marks important dates to celebrate holidays like the Burmese New Year. Currently, the year is 1382. (http://www.mmcalendar.com)
3. Thingyan festival
Children throwing water at passers by, Ayewardy Delta
Kirsten Henton, The Culture Trip
This is the festival celebrated as the Burmese New Year, usually in the middle of April. It lasts four or five days, depending on the Burmese calendar as mentioned earlier. During this festival, you will see temporary water-spraying stations lined up along the roads. People will travel in open-roof cars and tour the streets to get doused with water. Youths will order barrels of ice to splash unsuspecting passersby with ice-cold water.
4. No surnames
Bogyoke Aung San Family
The Burmese naming system is structured very differently from how we know names are formed. In fact, there isn’t any structure at all to the Burmese naming system. Up until the mid 1800s, Burmese names only had a single syllable. For example, Aung San Suu Kyi’s grandparents’ names were Pha and Suu.