Kachin Manaw Festival Myanmar

 The Kachin Manaw Festival is an annual celebration of the Kachin people in Myanmar (formerly Burma). It is held on the 10th of January to commemorate the founding of the Kachin state in 1948.

The festival originated in the 19th century as a way for the Kachin to preserve their culture and identity. It was first officially celebrated as a state festival in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, in 1948. During the festival, Kachin people gather dressed in colourful traditional costumes.

The main event is dancing around a decorated wooden pillar called a “Manaw pole” to the beat of drums and gongs. The festival also features traditional sports, musical performances, and feasts.

The Manaw Festival is the most significant event for the Kachin people, serving as a way to showcase their cultural heritage, foster unity, and pass on traditions to younger generations.

Kachin Manaw Festival Myanmar At A Glance

FactsExplanation
Festival NameKachin Manaw Festival
Type of FestivalCultural Festival
City of OriginMyitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar
Festival Etymology“Manaw” means “peaceful, joyful gathering” in the Kachin language
First Celebration1948
FounderKachin leaders and elders
Brief HistoryThe Kachin Manaw Festival started in 1948 as a celebration of the Kachin culture, bringing together different Kachin tribes for traditional dances, music, and sports, fostering unity and cultural pride.
City HistoryMyitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, is known for its rich cultural heritage, diverse ethnic groups, and strategic location near the Ayeyarwady River. It has been a significant trading hub for centuries.
Ethnic InformationThe festival showcases the diverse ethnic groups of the Kachin State, including the Kachin, Rawang, Lisu, and Jingpho people.
City LocationMyitkyina is in the northern part of Myanmar.
How to ReachFly to Myitkyina Airport or take a train or bus from major cities like Mandalay or Yangon.
Nearby CitiesBhamo (186 km), Putao (457 km), Mandalay (785 km)
Google Map LinkMyitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar
Main EventsTraditional Kachin dances, music performances, sports competitions, and cultural exhibitions are the main events of the Kachin Manaw Festival.
Famous AttractionsIndawgyi Lake, Myitsone Confluence, Hkakabo Razi National Park
Famous Food DishesKachin-style bamboo shoot curry, Shan-style noodles, Mohinga (fish noodle soup)
LandmarksMyit Sone (Confluence of Maykha and Malikha Rivers)
– Known as the origin of the Ayeyarwady River.
Related FestivalsThingyan Water Festival
Tazaungdaing Festival

History and Significance of Kachin Manaw Festival Myanmar

The Kachin Manaw Festival has a long history dating back centuries. It was originally celebrated as a way to honour the spirits of the land and to seek their blessings for a bountiful harvest. Over time, it evolved into a celebration of community and unity, with people from all over the region coming together to participate in the festivities.

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The festival is also significant because it is a way for the Kachin people to celebrate their culture and traditions.

Traditional beliefs and customs around the festival

The Kachin Manaw Festival is steeped in tradition and customs. One of the most important customs is the building of a Manaw pole, which is a tall, intricately carved pole that serves as the centrepiece of the festival. The pole is believed to represent the connection between the spiritual and physical worlds.

Another important aspect of the festival is the traditional dress worn by participants. Both men and women wear brightly-coloured embroidered outfits, which are adorned with beads and silver ornaments. The festival also features traditional music and dance performances, including the popular “Manaw dance.”

Overall, the Kachin Manaw Festival is an important celebration of culture, community, and tradition in Myanmar.

Preparing for the Kachin Manaw Festival in Myanmar

The Kachin Manaw Festival in Myanmar is a grand cultural event celebrated annually by the Kachin people. It is a time for unity and community as people gather to showcase and celebrate their unique traditions.

The festival has a long history dating back centuries and has now become one of the largest Carnivals in Myanmar.

Dates and location of Kachin Manaw Festival Myanmar

The festival usually takes place in January but can sometimes occur in February or early March. The location of the festival changes each year, rotating between the different Kachin states and regions in Myanmar. The festival is usually held in an open-air field or stadium to accommodate the large crowds that attend.

What to expect during the festival

During the festival, visitors can expect to see traditional dress, music, and dance performances, including the popular “Manaw dance.” The festival also features the building of a Manaw pole, which serves as the centrepiece. Visitors can also expect to see colourful parades and taste traditional food and drink.

Visitors should plan for accommodations, as the festival attracts a large number of visitors from around the world. Many hotels and guesthouses can become fully booked, so it is essential to make arrangements in advance.

Preparing for the Kachin Manaw Festival in Myanmar

The Kachin Manaw Festival is a major cultural event in Myanmar that is celebrated annually by the Kachin people. The festival aims to showcase and celebrate the unique traditions of the Kachin people, with a focus on music, dance, and spirituality.

Dates and location of Kachin Manaw Festival Myanmar

The Kachin Manaw Festival usually takes place in January, but it can occur in February or early March. The location of the festival changes annually, rotating between the different Kachin states and regions in Myanmar. Typically, the festival is held in an open-air field or stadium to accommodate the large crowds that attend.

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What to expect during the festival

Visitors can expect to see traditional dress, music, and dance performances during the Kachin Manaw Festival. The highlight of the festival is the building of the Manaw Pole, which serves as the centrepiece of the celebration. Visitors can also enjoy colourful parades, try traditional food and drink, and join in on cultural activities.

Accommodation should be planned as the festival attracts a large number of visitors from around the world.

Manaw poles and their significance

The Manaw Pole plays a pivotal role in the Kachin Manaw Festival. The pole represents the unity of the Kachin people and their belief in spirits and ancestral protection.

Through this festival, they pay tribute to their ancestors and seek their blessings for an abundant harvest, good health, and prosperity.

Meaning behind Manaw poles and their role in the festival

The Manaw pole represents a spiritual connection to the Kachin ancestral spirits and guardian deities. The act of building the pole is a communal effort that fosters cooperation, unity, and goodwill among people. Traditionally, each section of the pole represents important aspects of Kachin culture, such as music, dance, hunting, village life, and ancestral spirits.

Different types of Manaw poles and their design

There are different types of Manaw poles, each carrying its unique meaning. For example, the “sky-reaching pole” is the tallest and most prominent, representing the connection between the sky and Earth.

Other poles include the “rainbow pole,” the “dragon pole,” and the “elephant pole,” each symbolizing different aspects of Kachin culture and history. The poles are usually adorned with intricate carvings and colourful decorations that reflect Kachin’s art and design.

Traditional Kachin Costumes and Dance

The Kachin Manaw Festival is more than just building the Manaw poles and offering prayers to the ancestral spirits. The festival also showcases the Kachin people’s unique traditional costumes and dances.

Description of Traditional Kachin Costumes

The traditional Kachin costumes are intricate and colourful. Women wear long, brightly coloured tunics with high collars and black pants. They also wear a headpiece decorated with beads and feathers.

For men, their traditional costume consists of a long-sleeved shirt, dark pants, and a turban-like headband. These costumes reflect the Kachin people’s unique style and identity.

Different Types of Kachin Dance and Their Origin

Kachin dance is an essential part of the Manaw Festival. The dance forms vary depending on the region and the occasion. Some popular Kachin dances include:

  • Lahtaw Grawt: This dance tells the story of Kachin mythology and is performed by both men and women.
  • Nhtoi Grawt: This dance represents Kachin villagers’ daily life using props such as baskets and knives.
  • Shan Grawt: This dance originated in Shan State, and people perform it to express gratitude after a harvest.
  • Wai Grawt: This dance is to welcome guests and visitors.

The Kachin Manaw Festival is an excellent opportunity for visitors to witness and experience the Kachin culture’s rich traditions through their costumes and dance forms.

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Music and instruments of the Kachin Manaw Festival

The Kachin Manaw Festival is a celebration of the Kachin culture and traditions, including their unique music and instruments.

Musical instruments and their role in the festival

The Kachin Manaw Festival features a variety of traditional instruments, including the following:

  • Hkaung: A large drum used to create the festival’s rhythm and beat.
  • Hkawn: A small drum played alongside the Hkaung.
  • Gumsa: A wind instrument made from a bamboo tube and played using a reed.

These instruments play a crucial role in setting the mood and creating a festive atmosphere during the Manaw Festival.

Different types of Kachin music and their purpose

The Kachin music played during the Manaw Festival is diverse, with each type serving a specific purpose. Here are some examples:

  • Duphung Lum: A slow and soothing melody played during the opening ceremony to welcome the ancestral spirits.
  • San Pya: A joyful and lively dance tune played during the Manaw pole-raising and other festive occasions.
  • Jan Mung: A sombre tune played during funerals or as a tribute to military heroes.

Food and drink of Kachin Manaw Festival Myanmar

The Kachin Manaw Festival is not only known for its unique music and dance but also for its delicious food and drinks. The festival showcases traditional Kachin cuisine, which offers a blend of Burmese, Chinese, and Southeast Asian flavors.

Popular Kachin dishes and their ingredients

Some of the popular Kachin dishes that visitors can enjoy during the festival include:

  • Kachin-style barbequed pork: A succulent dish made from marinated pork grilled over charcoal and served with rice or noodles.
  • Jinghpaw-style chicken curry: A flavorful curry made from marinated chicken in a blend of spices, including turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chilli.
  • Kachin-style black bean soup: A hearty soup made with black beans, pork belly, tomatoes, and ginger.
  • Kachin-style fermented soybean salad: A refreshing salad made with fermented soybeans, tomatoes, onions, and chillies.

Traditional drinks served during the festival

The festival also offers a variety of traditional drinks, including:

  • Jinghpaw-style rice wine: A potent wine made from fermented glutinous rice, which is a signature drink of the Kachin people.
  • Tea with milk: A popular Burmese-style tea served with evaporated or condensed milk.
  • Ginger tea: A soothing tea made with freshly grated ginger and honey.
  • Fruit smoothies: Refreshing smoothies made with seasonal fruits such as mango, watermelon, or pineapple.

Photography and etiquette during the festival

The Kachin Manaw Festival is not only a celebration of music, dance, and food but also of cultural traditions. Visitors from around the world come to witness and capture the vibrancy of the festival through photography.

However, it is important to follow rules and etiquette when photographing and interacting with locals.

Rules and etiquette when photographing the festival

Visitors are allowed to take photographs during the festival but must be respectful of performers and other attendees. The use of flash photography is prohibited and visitors should avoid blocking the view of others or interfering with performances.

Respectful ways to interact with locals

When interacting with locals, visitors should be mindful of their customs and respectful in their approach. It is important to ask permission before taking someone’s photograph or participating in any cultural activities. Visitors should also take care not to touch any traditional clothing or accessories without permission.

Accommodation options and travel tips

The Kachin Manaw Festival is a unique celebration of culture, music, and dance that attracts visitors from all over the world. While attending the festival, visitors will need a place to stay and transportation to get around.

Understanding the available accommodation options and transportation choices can help make the trip more enjoyable.

Transportation options and tips for traveling to Kachin Manaw Festival Myanmar

Myanmar has an established transportation infrastructure that includes buses, trains, and taxis. Visitors can travel to the festival location in Myitkyina by air, land, or water. Flights are available from Yangon and Mandalay, while buses and trains can be accessed from various cities across the country.

Once in Myitkyina, visitors can hire a taxi or use public transport to get to the festival venue.

Accommodation options in Myitkyina

There are various accommodation options available in Myitkyina, ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury hotels. Visitors can choose to stay in downtown Myitkyina or opt for facilities closer to the festival venue. It is recommended to book accommodation in advance as hotels tend to fill up quickly during the festival season.

Travelers should consider their budget, location, and preferred amenities when selecting accommodation. Many hotels and guesthouses offer traditional Kachin cuisine, which is a must-try during the festival.

By understanding transportation options and accommodation choices, visitors can plan a memorable trip to the Kachin Manaw Festival in Myanmar.

Accommodation options and travel tips

When traveling to the Kachin Manaw Festival in Myanmar, visitors need to consider their transportation and accommodation options. Buses, trains, and taxis are available for transportation, with flights offered from Yangon and Mandalay. Once in Myitkyina, visitors can take public transportation or hire a taxi to get to the festival venue.

Various accommodation options are available in Myitkyina, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious hotels. It’s important to book in advance, as hotels fill up quickly during the festival season. Visitors should also consider their budget, location, and preferred amenities when selecting accommodation.

Many hotels and guesthouses offer traditional Kachin cuisine, which is a must-try during the festival.

The significance and beauty of Kachin Manaw Festival Myanmar

The Kachin Manaw Festival is a unique celebration of music, dance, and culture that attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s held annually in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State in northern Myanmar. The festival highlights the Kachin people’s history, heritage and customs, making it a significant cultural event.

During the festival, visitors can witness traditional Manaw poles being erected, browse the various stalls selling handicrafts and sample traditional Kachin cuisine. The festival culminates in a grand procession where participants dressed in traditional attire dance to traditional Kachin music.

By understanding transportation options and accommodation choices, visitors can make the most of their trip to the Kachin Manaw Festival in Myanmar.

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