Never forget the following taboos in Myanmar in order to avoid culture shocks when travelling there.
Myanmar is well known as the “Sleep Beauty” among the noisy and chaotic Indochina. It remains itself the traits of the antiquity, modest and especially the friendliness, all of which compound the charm of Myanmar. Nevertheless, those instinctive traits sometimes result in the obsolete conception and bad practices.
#1 Gender discrimination
The male chauvinism is deeply rooted in Burmese people. In some spiritual temples, people even prohibit women from approaching Buddha statues. In Myanmar, women are not allowed to step in the area for men as well as to caster gold to the surface of sacred statues in the temple. Perhaps, women in Myanmar receive the worst disadvantages in comparison to those living progressing countries in the South East Asia. They are even not allowed to lay their head on men’s arms, because people believe that those men will lose their strength, spirit and sanity.
#2 Never touch other’s head
In the Burmese mind set, the top of one’s head presents for his/her egos, they, therefore, never allow other to touch this sacred area. For this reason, while you can rub a cute kid’s head in Vietnam and other countries, this action is forbidden in Myanmar.
#3 Use the right hand to give, to receive food
In Myanmar, receiving food or giving anything to other must be used by the right hand instead of the left hand. Because according to the people here, using the left hand is an indecent act, the left hand is for the toilet only.
#4 The Burmese’s preference for the East
The Burmese believe that the east always bring the lucky and the goodness to their lives. They rationalize that the East is where the Buddha dwells, which explain why the altar worshiping the Buddha is always located in the East wall in any Burmese family. Another thing to note is that the Burmese think the West is the place of death, which has the origin way back to the ancient time when the Burmese governor ordered a lot of prisoners beheaded in the western port.
#5 Avoid Wedding from April to July
According to Myanmar customs, the period of time between the middle of April to to middle of July is supposed to be the time for the monks meditating, thus not allowing the people to hold their wedding. In addition, the 9th,10th and 13th of each month are avoided for any wedding to take place, because marrying in these day may lead to break-ups or bad career. However, this belief has now only existed in some remote rural areas.
Above are all sharing about some taboos in Myanmar. Hope it will be useful for your trip to Myanmar. Have fun and enjoy every seconds of your journey!