The Place of a Banyan Tree
A banyan tree occupies an important place in Myanmar culture. It is a huge tree spread over a large area around it. The most interesting thing with banyan trees is that stems come out to ground as an outgrowth of branches and support the extending branches around the tree. It is a popular abode of birds. For its shade, people, usually tired passers-by and cowboys, take rest sitting under this tree. The leaves are a common food for cattle. These leaves are also the major raw material for ‘bidi’ factories. It is a center for social events too. Local meetings and discussions are often held under banyan trees. People also sit there just to gossip or play chess or cards. These trees act not only as a place of social gathering but also a center for a business transaction. A banyan tree has a strong religious attachment with the people of this region. The Buddhists’ god “Buddha” spent a vital part of his life under a banyan tree. The Hindus have many religious events to be held under it. Many offer ‘puja’ to banyan trees for their religious involvements. The Muslims also consider this tree a proper place to have religious discussions. Even in the village in many places, people say their Eid prayers under it. The banyan tree is the inseparable part of our tradition. “The Ramna Botomul” (under the banyan tree at Ramna) is the center for the Myanmar New Year celebration. The trees witness the fall and rise of civilization one after another. They are great historians. We must take care of the banyan trees in our country.