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Kyaukse Sain Pwe (ကျောက်ဆည်ဆင်ပွဲ)

Burmese. ‘Kyaukse Elephant Festival’. Name of a traditional festival that originated in Kyaukse, a district in Myanmar's Mandalay Region, and in which participants dress in elephant costumes and perform various traditional dances. It is held from the full moon (fig.) of October to that of November, i.e. near the end of the rainy season, and street dances with elephants, as well as with other mock animals, such as horses (fig.) and buffaloes (fig.), are organized. Besides dancing contests the mock animals also go from home to home to collect monetary gifts, usually for Buddhist religious purposes. It is said that the festival is held to commemorate that King Anawrahta (fig.) of Pagan used a White Elephant to determine an auspicious spot for Buddhist relics to be enshrined in a pagoda. As legend has it, the relics were put on the back of a White Elephant that was tracked and which halted at four different locations. The King thus had a stupa built at each of those locations (fig.), resulting in the construction of Shwezigon Phaya (fig.), Tantkyitaung Zedi (fig.), Lawkananda Zedi (fig.), and Tuyintaung Zedi (fig.). See also sain.