In the oil lamp dance, the traditional oil lamp offered to the Lord Buddha is a lighted wick of cotton soaked in an oil-filled earthenware saucer is the centerpiece of the dance. A lighted candle now usually substitutes in its place. The Rakhine people of western Burma incorporate the oil lamp dance in many of their traditional dances, mostly devotional, to the Buddha.
The performer’s hands are always upturned (to retain the oil). Elders who remember performing with traditional lamps say that the secret is to not let the lamp drop while, at the same time, conveying particular expressions with various attitudes of the hands and legs. "It is almost an ordeal", they added.