31 imagesThe Taunggyi Balloon Festival is an exuberant celebration with roots that pre-date Buddhism. Revelers light off fireworks and float elaborate paper balloons—some the size of a house—fashioned in the shape of elephants, fish, dragons, ducks, oxen and lanterns. Many are elaborately painted. At night some are lit to wondrous effect with hundreds of votive candles. As the balloons float away the candles eventually light the paper, which in turn sets off a payload of fireworks—a spectacular sight. Festival events also include live music, singing, and traditional dancing.