We were in Mandalay, Myanmar for Thingyan water festival and were delighted to discover that our hotel was hosting nightly puppet shows for the duration of the holiday at the rooftop restaurant and bar.
The puppet show was awesome, and there are a few around town – specifically during Thingyan. High energy and raucous music make this all sorts of fun. The puppeteers are crazy talented.
This type of string puppetry is called yoke thé in Burmese. (Remember, Myanmar was formerly Burma.)
This show told the outline of each mini-story in English before the action started so it was easy to glean what was going on. By the end of the week we had seen the same stories repeated, but each show was a little different and we loved them every time.
The puppeteers pay great attention to detain in the costumes, as you can see. From royalty to demons to peasants, it’s easy to discern a character’s role by the way they are dressed. The traditional costumes seem well researched and represented
There’s also an amazing amount of acting through the body language of the puppets. The movements the puppeteers create can be very subtle but communicate so much. Then some are absolutely comedic. While the faces are painted and static, the body language they show reveals a huge amount of expression and emotion.
The Thingyan puppet show is a cultural event not to be missed.
Hopefully Myanmar will resolve it’s political issues for the better and tourism will be viable again soon.
Pro Travel Tip for Thingyan
When choosing a hotel for Thingyan, ask if they have a puppet show planned, or if they know of one nearby, as these are common during Thingyan and well worth seeing.
To learn more about Thingyan, Myanmar’s Buddhist water festival and why it was so fantastic to be in Mandaly for the event, check out our vital information blog post here: https://bit.ly/3nMfuHa
To watch our YouTube short on Thingyan, click this: https://youtu.be/fwQ1gZXYyoY