Photo Essay: 5-Day-Market in Taunggyi
© Saw Yan Naing
The market is called “5-Day-Market” held in Taunggyi. The local people rotate between 5 different locations over a 5-day-period including Nyaung Shwe, Heho, Taunggyi, Mine Thauk, Shwe Nyaung. But these are just 5 main locations. 5-day-market is also held in other places.
The real meaning of this special market is based on former history. Shan state had many Shan princes. Therefore, the 5-day-market would allow all Shan princes to collect taxes rather than just one. Depending on which area the market took place, one or some of Shan princes who ruled the area would gather taxes.
Today, although Shan princes are no longer, the 5-day-market system still prevails, creating a unique culture point in Myanmar.
In the 5-day-market, the assortment of vegetables is amazing, from tomatoes, eggplants, scallions, peppers, betel, beans, garlic to cheroots. There are some people selling lacquerware, Buddha statues, carvings, longyis, Shan bags, textiles, ornamental objects and other hand-made goods for both local use and trading. It will be very interesting to get in the market in the early morning.
The 5-day rotating markets offer a great opportunity to meet many different local tribes like Intha, long-neck Padaung and Pa-O. Numerous different hill tribes descend from their mountain houses to join in this colorful congregation. Every group has their own religion, culture, language, and way of trading. But they still attain the same voice via the national language, Burmese. Coming to this local market is to observe how they trade and discover original cultural points.
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Location: Taunggyi. Shan, Myanmar.