The Kachin people mostly live in the most northern part of Myanmar
around the areas where the Ayeyarwaddy and Chindwin Rivers begin. They
also live in neighbouring areas of China and India.
population is around 1.5 million and they are believed to have
originated from Tibeto-Burman people who migrated from the Tibetan area
into Myanmar. They are traditionally known for their disciplined
fighting skills, complex clan interrelations, craftsmanship, herbal
healing and jungle survival skills.
Kachin are also known as
Jinghpaw, which reflects the language spoken by the majority of Kachin
people. There are seven distinct languages spoken by Kachin people and
although the people of each language group have their own traditional
dress they consider themselves to be of the same ethnicity, all sharing a
group of last names and dancing festival traditions.
This is because
all Kachin belong to clans and Kachin people consider themselves related
to other Kachin whether it is by blood, marriage, family name, language
group or clan.
The majority of Kachin people are Christian,
mainly Baptist or Roman Catholic. Their conversion to Christianity
occurred as a result of the influence of American and European
missionaries who arrived in Myanmar in the late 19th century.
are keen on dancing and singing and are also well known for their
Festivals in Kachin State are colourful events when
people wear their traditional dress that is bright and heavily decorated
with silver and woven fabrics.
The Manau festival held in
January is the largest and most important annual celebration in Kachin
State when people celebrate the New Year. People wear their best
traditional dress at this time and dance collectively around the tall
Manau poles. The men wear woven shoulder bags and a silver sword in a
sheath and women decorate their predominantly red dresses with silver
all across the torso.