Kachin Communities Commemorate Thanksgiving As Conflict Continues

Kachin celebrate Thanksgiving in Kachin state, northern Burma

This week Kachin communities marked their gratitude for the harvest and celebrated Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving festival is locally known as Nlung N’nan Sha Poi, or the occasion on which “new rice” is eaten, signifying a successful crop.

Chying Htawng Pa village in Waingmaw Township’s Sadon sub-township was among those who celebrated Thanksgiving from November 11-12. Residents cooked for the community using rice, vegetables, and fruits grown in the area, as well as chicken, pork, and beef raised locally.

With civil war ongoing in Kachin State since the breakdown of a ceasefire between the Kachin Independence Army and the Burma Army in 2011, rural communities in conflict areas have had to forgo the celebration for many years.

“We have not been able to hold this kind of traditional event in a traditional way because of political instability. We are trying to maintain our traditions as much as we can,” Rev Dashi Brang Awng of the Kachin Baptist Convention told KNG.

More than 100,000 people have fled their villages and sought refuge in internally displaced people’s camps, largely along the Kachin-China border.

Some 200 people from Hpakant, Myitkyina, and Waingmaw joined locals in Chying Htawng Pa’s Thanksgiving. Kachin singers commemorated the event, and competitions were held around rice pounding and dance.

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