March 27 – Armed Forces Day in Myanmar (aka Burma)

Posted on March 27, 2016

The nation that much of the world calls Myanmar is still called Burma in the United States. But that leads to a lot of confusion, because sources that reach people all over the world (like, you know, the internet!) often choose the label Myanmar for articles and information, and that isn't even close to Burma in an alphabetized list!

The government of the United Kingdom refers to the nation as Burma. But the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) refers to the nation as Myanmar. The official U.S. policy is to call the nation Burma, but the U.S. State Department website lists the country as Burma (Myanmar), and President Barack Obama has referred to the nation with both names.

Why all the confusion?

The military government that took over in the nation changed the name from Burma to Myanmar. But a lot of people in the nation do not accept that the military powers-that-be have any right to rule the nation, and they CERTAINLY don't have the right to change its name.

In order to honor those people's complaint, many nations in the world have followed those people's resistance to the name change...

Armed Forces Day, in whatever-you-call-it...

This holiday originally celebrated Burma's resistance to Japanese forces, which had taken over the area during World War II. The Burma National Army rose up against the Japanese on this date in 1945, all over the country, and the anti-fascism forces worked with the Allies to rout Japanese forces out of the nation. They largely succeeded in doing so by May of that year. Japan surrendered from World War II on September 2, 1945.

Did you know...?

  • There are only three metric “holdouts” in the world – only three nations that still have not moved to the metric system: Myanmar (Burma), Liberia, and the U.S.

  • Both men and women wear a “cosmetic” made from the bark of the Thanakha tree and “skirts” called longyi. The cosmetic is a yellow paste that acts as a sunscreen. The longyi are pieces of fabric that are wrapped around the body; men wear them tied in front, and women wear them secured at the side.

  • The traditional “sport” of Myanmar (Burma) is a cooperative game called chinlone. The chinlone itself is sort of ball woven out of rattan. It makes a pleasant clicking sound when it is kicked. 
To play, players form a circle and keep the chinlone in the air as long as possible by kicking it from player to player. It's a bit like soccer – any body part can be used to “kick” the ball except the hands.  
The people of Myanmar (Burma) play today...
as their ancestors played for centuries!

Instead of the focus being on the score, the focus is on who beautifully the game is played. Note that there is no opposing team!

Speaking of "beautiful," there are some beautiful things to see in Myanmar / Burma / whatever-you-want-to-call-it:

Also on this date:

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's birthday  

Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day

Plan ahead:
And here are my Pinterest boards for:

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