Mon State Govt to Provide Funding for Ethnic Karen Celebration

The Mon State government has budgeted 55 million kyats (nearly US$36,000) for traditional Karen wrist tying ceremonies.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Mon State government has budgeted 55 million kyats (nearly US$36,000) for traditional Karen wrist tying ceremonies to take place throughout the state, according to officials.

The ceremony, which pre-dates Buddhism and Christianity in the community, is carried out by elders. It involves the tying of a white string on the wrists of young people to protect them and ensure that their spirits will remain with those of their parents and other relatives. It is typically held in August. This year, it will be held in more than 100 villages in 10 townships in Mon State.

“The government needs to provide assistance for preserving the traditions and customs of ethnic people,” Saw Aung Myint Khine, the minister for Karen ethnic affairs in Mon State, told NMG.

The total funding of 55 million kyats will be divided into 1.5 million kyats per township ($981) and 350,000 kyats ($229) per village. According to Saw Aung Myint Khine, the government began providing assistance for the wrist tying ceremony in 2017.

Karen local Saw Chit Than explained that he saw the funding as recognition from the state government of Karen traditions and customs.

“Other ethnic people will come to participate in our traditional celebration, so they will understand our culture and traditions. We are so happy for that,” he said.

The Mon State government says that it provides financial assistance for the promotion of the literature and culture of ethnic Mon, Karen and Pa-O in the state from the April-September budget for the 2018 financial year.

According to its financial records, the state government has allocated 100 million kyats ($65,400) to the Mon and Pa-O ethnic groups, and 150 million kyats ($98,100) to the Karen.

Karen people live in all of Mon State’s 10 townships, with larger concentrations of the community in Thaton and Belin. There are an estimated 300,000 Karen in Mon State. The total population of the state is estimated between 1.7 and 2 million.