Out of the extra-ordinary characteristics in Kachin State ceremonies traditionally held annually, according to their cultures are very interesting. Among them are Manaw ceremony and Htaung-Kar dancing ceremony of Jimphaw, exciting festival of Lisu nationals, “Climbing a ladder with sword-blades used as stairs,” The Rawang New Year Celebration and Festival and Soon-offering ceremony to Sanghas at the New Harvest Season of Hkamti Shan are unique among the festivals in the Kachin particularly in Putao.

The Manau Festival

The Kachins believe that Manau was first celebrated by birds, fish and butterflies. This festival was first introduced to the people by Jawa Rumja (Tingli Yaw) who married a woman descendant of the Madai Spirit (Shy Spirit). Jawa Rumja inherited this festival from his father-in-law and celebrated the Manau at “Hkrang Hku Major” for the first time. His grandson Sut Madau again celebrated Manau at “Nau ra yang ga” for the second time. A 100 years after the second Manau, Kumja Magam celebrated the festival at “Ningrang Ga” for the third time, followed by Matsaw “N Hkum Wa” at the same place. Following this tradition Kachins have been celebrating this festival right up to the present time. The Manau feast is nothing but a worshipping ceremony of the ancient Madai Spirit. When the Madai Spirit conveyed this worshipping tradition to the people, he also mandated many promises to be kept. The worshipping ceremony to the people is accompanied by the Manau dance, whenever it is performed. The public dance along with drums and gongs is a sign of happiness and celebration. Fasting for a day after the festivals is a must. The Madai Spirit is invited as the main participant of all spirits and when the festival is over all of them must be sent back to their original places. It is celebrated strictly either for four days or eight days. The Manau must be celebrated only by those who have the right to worship the Madai Spirit. To celebrate prosperity – Sut Manau; at funerals – Ju Manau; to forge allies or friendship to wage war, it is called “ Ningtau Manau “ ; in times of victory – the Padang Manau “. At times of separation or parting of companies, it is the “ Kumran Manau “. The “ Dingshawn Manau “ is danced at house warming ceremories, the “ Htingrau Manau “ , to celebrate unity among tribes, and the “ Nau Sawt Manau “ is a casual Manau. The steps of the Manau dance is the same for all occasions, with the dancers in a long line forming several curves around decorated ceremonial poles or totems. These lines and curves relate the Manau history.

The Rawang New Year Celebration

Traditional Rawang ceremonies are common in Putao but the five-day homecoming festival was the first of its kind to be celebrated by the group in the city. An estimated 30,000 people attended, including Rawang from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the United States, as well as China. The Dulong, as Rawang are known in China, were invited to attend the festival as a cultural exchange. “We might be separated by the border, but there is no border in our hearts,” a representative of the Dulong said in an opening statement at a meeting between the two groups.

The Lisu New Year Celebration

Lisu Traditional New Year Festival [Khawshi] is held in January. “Over Sword-Like Mountain and Across Flaming Sea,” will be included, to which the State Leaders and responsible officials have been invited. Those who will participate in the climbing ceremony have to pay respect two times a day—once in the morning and once more in the evening, wishing their prayers for the success of the festival. Their traditional gods include “the god of iron” and “the god of fire.” Just prior to the end of one-month period, the agents of séance have to offer a medium-sized swine and a hen to the gods by reciting their traditional talks. Before celebrating the festival, those who will participate in climbing the ladder of swords firstly must undergo the test of walking barefoot over a bed of hot embers. Only the persons without any blisters after passing fire are chosen for climbing. After the festival, swords are unfastened after giving respects to the guardian of iron and the guardian of the fire. After that the occasion of taking auspice is held. The climbing festival of ladder of swords is not held every year, only once every three years. Lisu nationals believe that holding the festival can bring about peace and stability, health and happiness, abundance of crops, development and prosperity.

The Hkamti New Year Celebration

Soon-offering ceremony to Sanghas at the New Harvest Season of Hkamti Shan are unique among the festivals in the Kachin particularly in Putao.

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