Kayan People of Myanmar & Neck Ring Women

What do you know about Myanmar? The country has been mysterious and intriguing for many people around the world. Myanmar or Burma has a rich history and fascinating traditions. The country has over 135 ethnic groups with unique customs. You can see monks, nuns, pagodas, and temples along the busy streets of Myanmar, as its main religion is Buddhism.

There is one particularly interesting tribe called Kayan also known as Padaung. They are a sub-group of Karen people of the Tibeto-Burman minority. Women of this tribe are famous for wearing neck rings. The brass ring has to be worn around their necks for as long as possible or even their entire lives. It is believed that the longer the neck, the more beautiful the woman is. Girls can start wearing the rings at the age of 5 years old. Over the years, more rings are added as the neck becomes stretched. The rings are quite expensive, so, actually, not every family can afford them.

There are different versions of the origin of this tradition. Some people say the rings were used for protection from tigers or they would keep other tribes from abducting the women, or maybe when the unusual appearance of local women started to attract tourists, it became the reason to keep and grow this custom. Another interesting aspect of these people’s lives is their religion, called Kan Khwan. The belief system is based on the idea that the Kayan people originated from a union between a male human or an angel and a female dragon. This is just one of many different aspects of life, culture and traditions of people of Myanmar.

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