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Thailand's Karen Long Neck Hill Tribe People
The Karen Padaung
Native to the hills of Northern Thailand, and across the border in Burma, the Karen Padaung are famous for the women of the tribe wearing neck rings from a young age, resulting in the stretching of their neck as they grow older. They are more commonly known as "long neck" hill tribe people, and tourist from all over the world travel to Thailand to see them. Most of the approximately 50,000 Karen Padaung people fled Burma due to persecution from the Burmese government in the 1980s.
The government of Thailand granted them refugee status, however they only allowed them to say in certain areas. Since then they have been exploited, with bus loads of tourists ferried in to catch a glimpse of the "long neck freaks". Foreign tourists pay anywhere from 10-20USD for a chance to see the women with the elongated necks. Travel agents in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Pai all offer to sell tours to the Karen villages. These villages are run like a circus, with the women of the tribe being the main attraction of these "human zoos".
Hill Tribe Culture The Hill Tribe people of Northern Thailand are farmers, they grow their own rice and vegetable, and they raise chickens and pigs that often live underneath their modest wooden houses. In the past they used elephants to help them clear the land for farming, and they have since developed a reputation as skilled mahouts, or elephant trainers. The Hill Tribe people have always been believers in ancestral worship, and in the past they would practice the custom or arranged marriages. Although they have their own beliefs and traditions, many of them have been converted to Christianity by American missionary groups.
They are also well known for their traditional colorful clothing, handmade by the women of the tribe.Traditional hill tribe costume includes a variety of colors, white for unmarried women and reds and blues for those who have husbands. It is common that Asians treasure gold, however the hill tribe people have no use for gold. The Karen people have long been wearing traditional silver jewelry that they make by hand.
Hill Tribe Arts And Crafts In order to earn money to support their villages, the hill tribe people have fine tuned their skills as craftsmen and women, and for years they have been coming down from the hills and selling their wares to the city folk and the tourists. They sell handmade clothing, bags and handicrafts in the markets, on the streets and in the bars and restaurants of Chiang Mai and Northern Thai cities. Over 50 years ago, Thailand's Royal Family introduced policies to educate and train the hill tribe people in order to discourage them from growing opium. One of the most successful aspects of this was the training of the Karen people in the art of crafting silver jewelry and ornaments. Today hill tribe silver is well known and highly sought after, because of its 99.9% purity and the expert craftsmanship.
- Thailand's Human Zoos, Karen Padaung Long Neck Hill Tribe People
The Karen Padaung believe that a long neck is a sign of beauty, and they use neck rings made of brass to stretch the neck of the women of the tribe. It is said that in the past, these rings were applied in order to protect the women from tigers that
- Fair Trade Arts And Crafts Of Thailand's Karen Hill Tribe People In Chiang Mai
In recent years, the people of the Karen Hill Tribes have had to be creative in thinking of new ways to earn money. They have applied their skills of craftsmanship and working with their hands, and have started making quality handicrafts from wood, b
- The History Of Thailand's Karen Hill Tribe People
The Karen can trace their background to what is now present day Tibet, and China's Gobi Desert. It is said that during the 18th century the Karen began to move south, across the Salveen River from Burma (Myanmar) as far as Northern Thailand. Karen le