There is a saying, “All Nat festivals are originated from Kyunpin Nat festival.” Kyunpin Nat festival is held in Mingun village in Sagaing Township. The famous Taungpyone Nat festival is held soon after the Kyunpin Nat festival.
In addition to the Kyunpin Nat festival and the Taungpyone Nat festival, there is another famous festival which is the Clay Pot Toy Festival, also known as the O-Poke festival in Shwekyin in Mandalay Obo. Locals have been holding O-Poke festival since many years well into the past. There is no exact date about the emergence of famous O-Poke festival.
According to the sayings, the O-Poke festival emerged as vendors from Kyunpin Nat festival stopped for a break near Obo ward in Mandalay before moving to the Taungpyone Nat festival in Madaya Township. Kyunpin Nat festival is teeming with festival goers even though it is not a Nat festival. Locals usually serve guests with home-made snacks.
Most of vendors at the O-Poke festival sell the colorful and custom designable toys. They sell them before the famous Taungpyone Nat festival on the 8th Waxing of Warkhaung ME, every year.
Now, the O-Poke festival become famous among travellers as it is an annual event held without fail so far. There is a sale of modern toys at the festival. But colorful and traditional toys are more attractive than modern toys. The snack made with sticky rice is said to be most selling, significant above others, festival snack.
Festival goers flock to the O-Poke festival to buy toys for their children while some others take photos and then post their photos on social media. The sure point is this festival can enable the people to remember their childhood life.
Ko Thant Zin Tun, a student from Mandalay Technological University said: “This festival should be held extensively in order to attract tourists.”
Malar Htwe, a toy seller from Tatgyi village in Amarapura Township said: “Toy sales have increased by double this year.”
Toy makers have to take two months to make toys. Prices for a toy is Ks-100 and Ks-300. The O-Poke festival is packed with festival-goers three days before the start of it.
Ma Yin Min Nwe Kaythi, a student from Mandalay University said: “The festival becomes famous. It is a credit to Mandalay natives.”
Ma Theint Theint Phyo, another university student said: “It is a happy festival. It can help low-income rural people generate incomes. I also can earn money for educational expenses as I sell toys after investing in toy-making tools.”
The O-Poke festival sees higher numbers of toy-lovers year on year as the people love the feeling of nostalgia of their childhood life.