About Myanmar

Myanmar officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a sovereign state in the region of Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west, Thailand and Laos to its east, and China to its north and northeast. To its south, about one third of Myanmar's total perimeter of 5,876 km (3,651 miles) forms an uninterrupted coastline of 1,930 km (1,200 mi) along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. The country's 2014 census counted a much lower population than expected, with 51 million people recorded. Myanmar is 676,578 square kilometers (261,227 sq mi) in size. Its capital city is Naypyitaw and its largest city and former capital city is Yangon (Rangoon). Myanmar has been a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 1997.

Capital Naypyitaw
Largest city Yangon (Rangoon)
Official language and national language Burmese
Area 676,578 km2 (261,228 sq mi) (40th)
Total Water (%) 3.06
Population 51,486,253
Currency Kyat (K) (MMK)
Time zone MMT (UTC+06:30)

Demographics

The provisional results of the 2014 Myanmar Census show that the total population is 51,419,420. This figure includes an estimated 1,206,353 persons in parts of northern Rakhine State, Kachin State and Kayin State who were not counted. People who were out of the country at the time of the census are not included in these figures. There are over 600,000 registered migrant workers from Myanmar in Thailand, and millions more work illegally. Burmese migrant workers account for 80% of Thailand's migrant workers.[289] Population density is 76 per square kilometre (200/sq mi), among the lowest in Southeast Asia.

Largest cities or towns

1. Yangon 2. Mandalay
3. Naypyidaw 4. Bago
5. Hpa-An 6. Taunggyi
7. Monywa 8. Myitkyina
9. Mawlamyine 10. Magway

Languages

Imagine how can 45 Million of people discover and use 111 languages to each other? That is not supposed to be taken as a mere probability as that is actually happening in the great country of Myanmar! Around 80% of the overall population of Myanmar speaks in Burmese, the official Myanmar language. This percentage though, still speaks in different pronunciation that varies from area to area. The Burmese language is a monosyllabic language. It is also tonal, just like any other Tiberto-Chinese languages.

The official Myanmar language’s alphabet is made up of 10 vowels and 32 consonants. These are derived from the early scripts of Phavi from the South of India. Most of the formed words used in Myanmar language are loaned from other languages. All of these were acquired from the many different conquerors and colonizing parties that have plunged in Myanmar. It cant also be denied that the time when Burma as known in those years were used as a part of the overland route from China to India, different words and languages were taught or just passed to the natives.

Religion

• Theravāda Buddhism 87.9%
• Christianity 6.2%
• Islam 4.3%
• Other 1.6%

Many religions are practiced in Myanmar. Religious edifices and orders have been in existence for many years. Festivals can be held on a grand scale. The Christian and Muslim populations do, however, face religious persecution and it is hard, if not impossible, for non-Buddhists to join the army or get government jobs, the main route to success in the country. Such persecution and targeting of civilians is particularly notable in Eastern Myanmar, where over 3000 villages have been destroyed in the past ten years. More than 200,000 Muslims have fled to Bangladesh over the last 20 years to escape persecution.

A large majority of the population practices Buddhism; estimates range from 80%[ to 89%. According to 2014 Myanmar Census, 87.9% of the population identifies as Buddhists. Theravāda Buddhism is the most widespread. Other religions are practised largely without obstruction, with the notable exception of some religious minorities such as the Rohingya people, who have continued to have their citizenship status denied and treated as illegal immigrants instead, and Christians in Chin State.

According to 2014 census, 6.2% of the population identifies as Christian; 4.3% as Muslim; 0.8% as followers of tribal religions; 0.5% as Hindus; 0.2% as followers of other religions; and 0.1% follow no religion. According to the 2010 estimates of the Pew Research Center, 7% of the population is Christian; 4% is Muslim; 1% follows traditional animisticbeliefs; and 2% follow other religions, including Mahayana Buddhism, Hinduism, and East Asian religions.Jehovah's Witnesses have been present since 1914 and have about 80 congregations around the country and a branch office in Yangon publishing in 16 languages.A tiny Jewish community in Rangoon had a synagogue but no resident rabbi to conduct services.

Although Hinduism is practised by 0.5% of the population, it was a major religion in Myanmar's past. Several strains of Hinduism existed alongside both Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism in the Mon and Pyu period in the first millennium, and down to the Pagan period (9th to 13th centuries) when "Saivite and Vaishana elements enjoyed greater elite influence than they would later do.Burmese folk religion is practiced by many Bamars alongside Buddhism.

Culture

A diverse range of indigenous cultures exist in Myanmar, the majority culture is primarily Buddhist and Bamar. Bamar culture has been influenced by the cultures of neighbouring countries. This is manifested in its language, cuisine, music, dance and theatre. The arts, particularly literature, have historically been influenced by the local form of Theravada Buddhism. Considered the national epic of Myanmar, the Yama Zatdaw, an adaptation of India's Ramayana, has been influenced greatly by Thai, Mon, and Indian versions of the play. Buddhism is practised along with nat worship, which involves elaborate rituals to propitiate one from a pantheon of 37 nats.

In a traditional village, the monastery is the centre of cultural life. Monks are venerated and supported by the lay people. A novitiation ceremony called shinbyu is the most important coming of age events for a boy, during which he enters the monastery for a short time. All male children in Buddhist families are encouraged to be a novice (beginner for Buddhism) before the age of twenty and to be a monk after the age of twenty. Girls have ear-piercing ceremonies at the same time. Burmese culture is most evident in villages where local festivals are held throughout the year, the most important being the pagoda festival. Many villages have a guardian nat, and superstition and taboos are commonplace.

British colonial rule introduced Western elements of culture to Myanmar. Myanmar's education system is modelled after that of the United Kingdom. Colonial architectural influences are most evident in major cities such as Yangon.[348] Many ethnic minorities, particularly the Karen in the southeast and the Kachin and Chin who populate the north and northeast, practice Christianity. According to The World Factbook, the Burman population is 68% and the ethnic groups constitute 32%. However, the exiled leaders and organisations claims that ethnic population is 40%, which is implicitly contrasted with CIA report (official US report).

Festivals

Myanmar is a country popular for its historical richness, elegant architecture, and cultural diversity. Apart from the beauty and the religious sanctity the country enjoys, Myanmar is also rich in providing some of the most exciting yearly festivals for its people. If you happened to be in this country during the festival season, you can surely enjoy the uniqueness and traditional values, celebrated with feasts and dances.

Most of the Burmese traditional festivals are celebrated according to the Burmese calender and dates are calculated on the basis of the moon phase. Burmese cultures are more apparent in villages where rural people celebrate these yearly festivals with full spirit and thus make the experience of the people exploring the festivity and the best tourist destinations in Myanmar memorable. The Myanmar celebrates different festivals and all are marked with their own sense of uniqueness and spirit that is bound to make your travel in this country truly enthralling.

Climate

Much of the country lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. It lies in the monsoon region of Asia, with its coastal regions receiving over 5,000 mm (196.9 in) of rain annually. Annual rainfall in the delta region is approximately 2,500 mm (98.4 in), while average annual rainfall in the Dry Zone in central Myanmar is less than 1,000 mm (39.4 in). The Northern regions of Myanmar are the coolest, with average temperatures of 21 °C (70 °F). Coastal and delta regions have an average maximum temperature of 32 °C (89.6 °F).


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