At some point in early January, during the 7 days of the colourful Kachin Manaw Festival, the local Kachin tribes – such as the Kharku, Thaisan, Lacheik, Rawang, Thaikhamt and Lisu – adorn themselves with their best traditional costumes and dance around Manaw poles that have been erected at the center of the festival ground are decorated with folk-art.
The festival focuses on paying gratitude to ancestral spirits, and praying for future prosperity. It’s also the celebration of the New Year, of victory in battles, and a reunion of the tribes. The Manaw feast meanwhile serves dishes that include buffalo meat, pork or wild boar, beef, chicken, rice and copious pots of rice wine.
This festival is held in Myitkyina and Putao, in the Kachine State, and to some onlookers the erected Manaw poles appear quite similar to the totem poles of North American Indians. Some Manaw festivals in the past have attracted more than 300,000 visitors and participants.