Myanmar National Races
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The Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma) is an ethnically divers nation with 135 distinct ethnic groups officially recognized by the goverment. There are grouped into eight "Major national Ethnic Races"

1. Kachin
2. Kayah
3. Kayin
4. Chin
5. Mon
6. Bamar
7. Rakhine
8. Shan


The "major national ethnic races" are grouped primarily according to region rather than linguistic or ethnic affiliation, as for example the Shan Major National Ethnic Race includes 33 ethnic groups speaking languages in at least four widely differing language families.

1. Kachin Tribes

kachinThe Kachin people are recognized as a "Major National Ethnic Race" comprising six ethnic sub-groups. The Kachin reside in the northern most region of Myanmar bordering India and Tibet. They live in north part of Myanmar, such as Putao, Sumprabon, Sadone, Kamine, Bamaw, Shwegu, Seinlone, Moekaung, Naungmong and Myintkyina Township are the Kachin resident. Some worship various gods as well as the spirits of their ancestors.

They are good looking in body structure and stout. They always wear the turban man and woman, men wear black long pant or big block strip Long Gyi (long scurf) with white coat. Women wear black shirt decorated with silver coil, silver necklace silver ear rings were set.

Kachin celebrate a number of fetes and festivals. But the Mawnaw Festival is the biggest and the most important annual celebration in which all Kachin enthusiastically participate. The highlight of the Manaw Festival is dancing around a bonfire in front of the multi-colour painted poles and strings of small colourful flags. The Manaw Festival holds on every January.

 

2. Kayah Tribes (Women with remarkable necks)

kayahThe Kayah people are recognized as a "Major National Ethnic Race" comprising 19 ethnic sub-group. The Kayahs comprised the largest ethnic group in the region. Most Kayah people live in Loikaw Township a little far from Kalaw.  Although spirit workship is still practiced, most Kayahs converted to Christianity in the last century.

Kayah is well-known for its long neck women or Padaung people. One special feature of their culture, which makes them outstanding and quaint, is the tradition of adorning their women, the bronze rings around their necks, ankles and legs. The brass necklaces of Kayah Padaung women which usually wear at their necks and calves can also be observed. The most important annual festival in the Kutobo and Flag Mast Festival, held sometime between March and May.

 

3. Kayin (Karen) Tribes

kayinThe Karen people are one of the ethnic group in Myanmar. The Kayin people are recognized as a "Majoy National Ethnic Race" comprising three ethnic sub-group (Shwe Karen, Pwo Karen and Bwe Karen). The Kayins were most probably among the earliest inhabitants to descend from China down the Ayeyarwaddy, Sittaung and Than Lwin Rivers into Myanmar. But over the centuries, they retreated into the mountains of the south-east and the forests of Ayeyarwaddy Delta.

Traditionally Karen people practiced Animism (spirit workship). There are cave shrines at Kawgun in Karen State that are almost one thousand years old, and most Karen people have also practived Buddhism since this time. Shaw Karen are Christians and Pwo Karen are Buddhists. But the both are a very open religion and coexist happily. Kayin new year in January, Kayin state day in November are the most famous. Other such as harvest festival and drinking water arrangement festival at villages are popular among the Kayin people.

 

4. Chin Tribes

chinChin are one of the ethnic group in Myanmar. Chin State is located in the southern part of northwestern Burma (Myanmar), bordered by Bangladesh and India to the west, Rekhine State to the south. Mt. Victoria or Nat Ma Taung is the highest mountain in the Chin state, reaching a height of 10200 feet or 3100 meters above sea level.

The majority of Chins are Christians, with most belonging to Protestant denominations, especially Baptist. The Chin people are one of the large ethnic minority groups in Burma.  The most popular sub-groups of Naga are also Chin Ethnic. The chin people in Southern Chin Hills used to have the custom of tattooing on the face of the women (called by Burmese people “Payae”). The Chin women usually wears Traditional drum and shaped silver earrings. Among the ethnic chin tribes, ladies with tattoos on their faces are a unique sight of the Chin State.

 

5. Mon Tribes

monThe Mon, a distinctive branch of the Mon-Khmer peoples, were probably the earliest of modern day inhabitants to settles in the plains of Myanmar. They are related to the early inhabitants of Thailand and Cambodia who also spoke Mon-Khmer languages. The symbol of the Mon people is Hintha a mythological swan. The famous Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, an extraordinary golden rock perched precariously on a mountain outcrop is in Mon State.

 

6. Bamars Tribes

bamarThe Bamar people are recognized as a "Major national ethnic race" comprising nine ethnic sub-groups.  The upper and central plans of Myanmar are the traditional home of the Bamar. The rich cultures of the Bamars are staunch Buddhists and reflect the influences of Indian civilizations. These include Pali script (derived from Sanskrit), cosmology, philosophy and statecraft, art, edicine and architecure. Myanmar language is widely use in the whole Myanmar and can be said also official language to communicate for every tribes. Buddhism related festival are held every month.

 

7. Rakhine Tribes

rakhineThe Rakhine are the majority ethnic group in Rakhine State and have long been influenced by their proximity to India and have formed trading links with the sub-continents. They claim a long history of independence and ruled their own kingdom at Mrauk U until 1784 AD. The Rakhine speak a dialect of Barmar that myanmar scholars believe is the earlist form of the language, and they are very similar to Bamars in culture and dress. Other minority group include the Thet, Khami, Daignetand Maramagyi, who live in the hills. Men practice the Tattoos on the body, Novice ceremony and other religious festival are same as Myanmar Buddhist. They use the long drum when held the novice ceremony. They sing the Ya Tu (typical ode on the season or love). They co-operate at social welfare.

The Rakhine water festival is famous for its joyful activities. They fill the water into a big long boat and throw the water both side of man and woman who row along the big boat.

 

8. Shan Tribes

shanThe Shan are the second largest ethnic group in Myanmar after the Bamar. They live mainly in Shan State, which is the biggest state in Myanmar with a population approximately six million and is a meltin pot of over 35 races and tribes. Most Shan are valley-dwellers. Most Shan are ardent Buddhists. The life of most communities is centered on the temple and its rituals. The cultural heritage of the Shan is rich and unique. Agriculture is the Shan's main focus, although other company professions include craft-making and shop-keeping.

 

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