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Kachin State is in the extreme north of Burma and shares borders with China and India. There are six different ethnic sub groups: each has its own colourful traditional dress and each has its own dialect but Jinghpaw is the lingua franca.
Formerly animists, the vast majority of Kachins have converted to Christianity since missionaries first arrived in the mid nineteenth century. But animist practices still survive e.g. in the Manau Festivals which originated as part of the ‘Nat’ or spirit worship of the past.
The Manau dance is a huge celebratory dance around the Manau structure, which follows symbolically the steps of the ancestors when they migrated to Burma from the Qinghai Tibet plateau. The dance can last anything from 1-3 hours up to 4-8 days!
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