On the full moon day of Thadingyut – which is still known as Abhidhamma Day – the Buddha descended back to the human realm from Tavatimsa. Some versions of the story say that Sakka, king of the celestials, created stairways made of gold, silver and rubies to facilitate the procession, while other accounts claim that the pathway was fashioned from the stars themselves. In any case, the procession is said to have included a host of brahmas and gods accompanied by the sound of Sakka wailing away on his mighty conch-shell horn. The people of the earthly realm set out bright lights to help guide the Buddha and to celebrate his return, a tradition that is maintained to this day.
Thadingyut is also a time for street fairs, one of the most popular of which is held along several blocks of Bogyoke Aung San Road in downtown Yangon.
Thadingyut is also associated with paying homage not only to the Buddha and his teachings (dhamma), but also to the order of monks (sangha), parents, teachers and elder relatives.