September 21, 2015

nat worship

no discussion of Buddhism or religion in Myanmar would be complete without a mention of the nats.  it's something else that is singular to the country, although the manifestation of evil spirits is common to all religions.  there's a specific list of nats like there are saints.  usually a nat is a human that has met a violent death and they are worshiped in much the way a saint would be venerated.  

ask a national about the nats and you'll get something similar to a 'ghost story' with the same passion and creepiness that goes along with the western tradition.

mt. popa is the largest of the shrine sites and hosts a festival on the full moon in December.  i did not visit mt. popa ... it's a day trip from Bagan because the other travelers i knew were a bit disappointed with the experience.  it is more actively practiced in the rural than the urban areas but they are everywhere and i saw the box below on a tree along the river in Yangon.  there is also an easy to find and quite impressive Nat Shrine in Hsipaw, to the north.

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