Karen Tribe

Karen is the most numerous tribes among the hill tribe in Mae Hong Son province scattering in every district. This is because the western territory of Mae Hong Son area bordering Kaya State of Myanmar which is the original domicile of Karen. Karen has evacuated to settle down in Mae Hong Son province for the period of not less than 200 years already. Setting the villages scattered in all districts. There are 2 big groups of Karen living in Mae Hong Son province, Pwo Karen and Sagaw Karen, the clear distinction between two of them is woman’s dress such as the ornaments, the colors of dress, and the designs of weaving. Pwo Karen women are more popular in decorative jewelry than Sagaw Karen. Both tribes of single girls will wear long white shirt adjacent down to the shin, the dress of Karen people, each tribe has its own characteristics that differ obviously. Therefore, the style of dress is the part that can clearly indicate the uniqueness of Karen each tribe. Karen people usually settle their houses along the valley in the altitude 500 m. above sea level. Houses of Karen people are high platform wooden houses and the Karen’s family usually consists of single family, there are only a father, a mother and unmarried children, Karen living by planting rice farms, other plants and vegetables planting, a current farm besides still feeding pigs, chickens, oxen, buffaloes and elephants for consumption, doing rites, selling, working for wages. Most of Karen people faith in spirits worship doctrine, and some of the others believe in other religions which depend on the relationship with lowland community.

Karen New Year Celebration.
The Karen will celebrate their new year just before the growing rice time; it is generally about February of each year.  The right time of celebrating the New Year’s Day will be selected by a village witch-doctor. When the time arrives the witch-doctor will begin the ceremony by binding every villager’s wrist with holy thread. After that the head of each family will bring their own boiling and distilling spirit to give to the witch-doctor. The first glass of the spirit will be kept for an offering to the guardian spirit of the forest that be invited by the witch-doctor to join the ceremony for protecting all the villagers in the village and helping the growth of crops. Later everybody joins drinking together. When finishes the ceremony at home the witch-doctor has to do the same thing to all the houses in the village. On the New Year’s Day they will kill lots of buffaloes and pigs to celebrate the New Year among them.


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