MARKET DAYS
(OR)

LONG CHERISHED AND THRIVING CULTURAL HERITAGE

Inhabitants of Myanmar’s rural areas cherished the concept of collective selling. People living in scattered farm houses and small villages got around to meet at a certain place where they could sell their products and buy what they wanted from others. People from the surrounding areas managed to get together regardless of unfavorable weather or rugged terrain for their intended activities. Keeping company with each other in difficult situation was preferable. And so the practice of collective selling emerged since then. Myanmar nationals of all ethnic groups were accustomed to this practice.

With the population growth and production development, people found better ways to solve the problem of simple trade. People produced food and other commodities according to their traditions and individual skills. Their products had to be sold to whoever wants them. In return they bought needy things available in the market.


Buyers and sellers in harmony

In olden days it was not necessary to open markets every day and everywhere. So, the local chiefs designated market-places and market days for them. Each market place had one market day. These markets were commonly known as one market in five days’ or a bazaar day held once every five days, a system local people never complained. This system remains in force to date. Going to a market place once in every five days is a normal practice. People gathered around to sell their products and to buy something they need. As the locals enjoy coming to the market place on a market day the roving marketers benefit from this practice. They used to bring along products from other places and sell them at the market. In return the roving marketers buy local products to sell at other markets.

People from distant locality used to arrive the night before the market-day. As the number of over night sellers grow, some food and drink shops also emerge. Then old friends and strangers started to get acquainted . Soon after the dawn breaks on the following day nearby people start to arrive and prepare for the market day activities.


Buyers and sellers in harmony

Seasonal fruits and vegetables of different variety and forms along with some preserved food stuff, such as ham, sour-pork, sour-beef etc, are put on sale by the local inhabitants. People from more developed places bring in hard wares, house hold utilities, clothes, ready made clothes, fancy goods, medicines etc. Although products made available by the local people remain unchanged the roving marketers’ merchandise varies from time to time, introducing new commodities to the people of rural areas.

This market day in five-days entices local producers and roving marketers to do business in an easily manageable fashion. Thus this traditional market becomes famous in each region because it is practicable and beneficial to all interested individuals. Unquestionably this resembles an elementary Trade Fair style. And it is thriving.


Bargaining prices

As time goes on with the growth of population, more towns and larger villages develop. People in those towns and villages create regular daily markets. Since these markets sellers and buyers are generally own town’s people or own villagers, merchandise available for sale would be of local and foreign made, to satisfy the needs of would be buyers. This daily market system becomes common and convenient to the public. For such a market to grow bigger depends on its local populace and more importantly, their economic situation.

However new market styles develop, old fashioned one market in five days remains. This particular form of market is the pride of the region because of its pleasurable and productive potential.

The ‘One market in five days’ tradition is being observed widely in Shan and Kayah State and partly in Kachin State and Mandalay Division .These markets are attractions to visitors in search for native life and souvenirs. Visitors enjoy watching local men and women in their colourful costumes as they roam about in the market place.


Market day in action

In addition to this tradition, there is another form of trade fair peculiar to our own nation. Needless to say that Buddhist religion is predominant inMyanmar, certainly Buddhism has great influence on daily life of our people. Fullmoon day of each month of Myanmar calendar has its own festive occasion which is of some what related to religious affair. Myanmars also love festivals and entertainment. And each month has a festival of some sort. In fact festivals form Myanmar social and religious activities. Myanmar has many famous pagodas in all parts of the country. It is our custom that pagoda festivals are held for each particular pagoda all over the country.

The festival time coincides with full moon days. Festivals are full of pageantry and ceremonial splendour. The festivals used to last 7-10 days or may stretch up to a month. Besides participating in religious activities people from nearby and far away places come round to enjoy the festival. Food stalls, shops with various consumer good, and commodities plus the products of local specialties inlarger quantities, movie shows and dramas all these complement the splendor of a festival.


Market day in action

At these festivals local people put on sale their premium products of all sorts, buyers generally intend to purchase at this fair considering the quality and the price.Just about everyone who visits such festival enjoys spending money and taking back a souvenir of some sort. So the festival becomes virtually a trade fair of a particular place. It is a sentiment we all share and make efforts to take part in the festival one way or another.

Generally local people wait for these festivals to sell their various products or to buy things they need at these fairs. And sentimentally, they used to recall what they did or what happened to them during certain festival time.

They have sentimental attachment to the festivals. People engaged in trade usually made gains at these festivals. Thus, form of festival rover merchants emerged. The whole year round they wander from one festival to another buying and selling all they could to contribute their economic well-being. No matter what changes in trade pop up, this tradition of trade fair ancient Myanmar style will remain undisturbed.

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