Kachin people celebrate New Year

Jan 12, 2009 (DVB), Kachin ethnic people from across Burma and those living in China celebrated the Kachin New Year with a festival held in the Kachin state capital of Myitkyina from 5 to 11 January.

The festival, which was organised by the Committee of Kachin Traditional Culture, also incorporated celebrations for Kachin national day on 10 January.

Locals said the event, also known as Kachin Manaw festival, was held on the festival grounds in Sitapu ward in the northern part of Myitkyina and featured many famous bands from Rangoon, including Iron Cross.

Traditional dances by many different Kachin tribes were also performed at the festival, one local said.

Local authorities also gave permission for gambling halls to open on the premises for a fee of 70,000 kyat, but they later ordered organisers to close them down after it was announced that some senior government officials were to attend the event.

A Kachin girl student who attended the Manaw festival said members from ceasefire groups such as the Kachin Independence Organisation and the New Democratic Army-Kachin had also attended the event and joined in the traditional dancing in their combat uniforms.

Reporting by Nam Kham Kaew

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