“Mingalarbar” is a word of greeting in Myanmar that came into wide usage only after the country regained her independence. In former days the usual greeting was “Kyan gan thar lo mar yet lar.” or “Mar bar yet lar”. or more informally “Nay kaung lar” which the nearest in English means “How are you?” or “How do you do” to which one replies in like manner without the necessity of going into a long story of one’s state of health. It is the same almost for the Myanmar equivalent. but if someone should take you literally to give a reply in the affirmative it is also acceptable.
But then the second person can in turn ask the same question as a form of politeness. Today however “Mingalarbar” has come to be the accepted form of greeting and it is widely used by schoolchildren to greet their teachers. It is also on the lips of tourists and other foreign guests since it has found its way into English-Myanmar conversational phrase books. It is easier said and easier to remember than the cumbersome “Nay kaung bar lar” for those who do not know Myanmar. but wish to use a Myanmar greeting. How this word of greeting originated is still obscure (at least to me!) but it is indeed a most fitting word because the word “Mingalar” has. aside from its religious background. great cultural import in Myanmar society. Some interesting topics are listed as follows.
- National Flag
- Communication Services
- Myanmar Food
- Seasonal Fruits
- Historical Background
- Myanmar Calendar
The dominating color of the national flag is red. The rectangular space at the upper left corner is blue. In it could be seen the figure of a paddy stalk and a pinion encircled by 14 white stars of uniform size. The paddy represents the peasants while the pinion stands for the workers who form the majority of the people in the country, 14 uniform white stars symbolize the equal status and union spirit of the 7 States and 7 Divisions that constitute the Union of Myanmar. The white in the flag signifies purity; the red indicates bravery and upright nature of the people; and the blue stands as a symbol of peace and stability in the country.
Myanmar, a republic in South-East Asia, bounded on the north by Tibet Autonomous Region of China; on the east by China, Laos, and Thailand; on the south by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal ; and on the west by the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh, and India. It is officially known as the Union of Myanmar. The coastal region is known as lower Myanmar, while the interior region is known as upper Myanmar. The total area of the Country is 676,552 square km (261,218 square miles)
A horseshoe-shaped mountain complex and the valley of the Ayarwaddy (Irrawaddy) River system are the dominant topographical feature of Myanmar. The mountains of the northern margin rise to 5881 meters (19,296 ft) atop Hkakabo Razi, the highest peak in Southeast Asia. The two other mountain systems have northern to southern axes. The Arakan Yoma range, with peaks reaching more than 2740 meters (about 9000 ft), forms a barrier between Myanmar and the subcontinent of India. The Bilauktaung range, the southern extension of the Shan Plateau, lies along the boundary between southwestern Thailand and southeastern lower Myanmar. The Shan Plateau, originating in China, has an average elevation of about 910 meters (about 3000 ft).
Generally narrow and elongated in the interior, the central lowlands attain a width of about 320km (about 200 miles) across the Ayarwaddy-Sittaung delta. The delta plains, extremely fertile and economically the most important section of the country, cover and area of about 46,620 sq, km (18,000 sq. ml). Both the Arakan (in the northwest) and the Tenasserim (in the southwest) coasts of Myanmar are rocky and fringed with island. The country has a number of excellent natural harbours.
Myanmar is an all year round destination. Hilly regions in the north and northeast enjoy cool temperate weather. Rainfall is also very low in central regions the rainy season.
The term Myanmar embraces over 135 ethnic groups living together and speaking their own dialects. The major ethnic races are Kachin, Kayah, Karin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine & Shan who are descendants of three main branches: The Mon- Khmer, the Tibeto- Burman, and the Thai- Chinese, live in seven states and seven divisions in Myanmar.
Over 80 percent of Myanmar embraces are Theravada Buddhism. There are Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists.
Predominantly Myanmar (Bamar) and ethnic minorities speaking Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Shan and other 135 hill-tribe dialects and also Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindustani, Urdu Spoken Chinese and Indian Immigrants. Being once a British Colony English is also widely spoken.
Myanmar have 220/ 230 volts AC, 50Hz; two-pin flat plugs are in use. It is advisable to have torchlight in the hand baggage as power cuts frequently occur throughout the country.
GMT + 6 ½ hours
30 minutes behind Thailand
1:39 hours behind Singapore, Hong Kong and China
Postal Service – The Yangon Central Post Office, located at 39, Bo Aung Kyaw Street, is open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm., Monday through Friday. Major hotels provide mail boxes; and postage stamps are available at the Reception Counters.
Telephone – International phone calls can be made by International Direct Dialing (IDD) phone or through operators from most hotels in Yangon, and from some hotels at major tourist sites.
E-mail – People in Myanmar started using Internet e-mail in January, 2000. Now there are about 3600 e-mail users in Myanmar, and they send and receive approximately 13,000 e-mails daily. The e-mail service is provided by Myanma Post and Telecommunications.
Internet – Myanma Post & Telegram and Bagan Cyber Tech provide Internet and Intranet services.
The basic Myanmar food is mainly rice and curry Mohinga, rice noodles with fish gravy; and Ohn-No-Khaukswe, noodles with coconut and chicken curry, are popular Myanmar dishes for breakfast and light meals.There are a variety of desserts like San Nwin Makin (Myanmar sweet cake) and Kyaukkyaw (Sea weed jelly), Jaggery and Laphet (the pickled tea leaves).Myanmar is also a country of seafood, Crabs, prawns, lobsters and other shellfish are among the popular dishes available at most Myanmar and Chinese restaurants in Yangon, Mandalay and in other parts of the country.Typical Myanmar Restaurant serve both meat and vegetable dishes. Most restaurants in Myanmar serve Chinese and Indian food. Other Asian food includes Thai, Japanese, Korean and Singapore-style. European food is served mostly at the hotels and there are a couple of restaurants in Yangon serving Italian and French cusine. Meals and drinks at International Hotels are considerably expensive.There are several fast food centres and snack bars in Yangon and Mandalay.
Myanmar has a variety of vegetables and fruits, both tropical and citrus, all year round or seasonally. This most common ones are avocado, banana, durian, jackfruit, grapes, mango, mangosteen, orange, papaya, pomelo, pineapple and watermelon.
Most hotels have IDD lines, but please be aware that the costs are very high with average cost of a call to Australia, Europe and USA approximately USD 8 per minute. So, if you wish to call home, our suggestion is to call and ask the other side to call you back. Your mobile phone can be brought in freely, but there is no roaming services in Myanmar.
Myanmar has a long history and its greatness dates back to the early 11th Century when king Anawyahta unified the country and founded the first Myanmar Empire in Bagan more than 20 year before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The Bagan Empire encompassed the areas of the present day Myanmar and the entire Meanm valley in Thailand and lasted two centuries.
The second Myanmar Empire was founded in 16th Century by King Bayinnaung Styled Branginoco by the Portuguese. King Alaungpaya founded the last Myanmar Dynasty in 1752 and it was during the zenith of this Empire that the British moved into Myanmar wars in 1825. During the world war , Myanmar was occupied by the Japanese from 1942 till the return of the Allied Forces in 1945.Myanmar becomes a sovereign independent state in January 1948 after more than 100 years of colonial administration.
The Myanmar calendar subscribes to both the solar and lunar months, thus requiring an intercalary 30-day 13th month every second or third year. Therefore, the full moon days may change from one month to another in the usual calendar.
The Myanmar months are :
- Tagu – March/April
- Kason – April/May
- Nayon – May/June
- Waso – June/July
- Wagaung – July/August
- Tawthalin – August/September
- Thadingyut – September/October
- Tazaungmone – October/November
- Nadaw – November/December
- Pyatho – December/January
- Tabodwei – January/February
- Tabaung – February/March