Karen Hill Tribe, Chiang Mai
STOP 5 on TRIBAL TOUR
Still continuing on back roads our next stop was the Karen Long Neck village.
The long necks live here, we saw their homes in the distance. Instead of visiting these, we were taken across rice paddies to an area that was set up with tourist stalls. Some of the Ladies were weaving and others were just by their stalls hoping that you would buy.
Our guide told us that their necks aren't stretched, that is an illusion. This row of brass rings actually squash the vertebrae and collar bones.
A woman generally has about twenty or more rings around her neck. This neck ring adornment is started when the girls are 5 or 6 years old.
We were given one to hold, and it is quite heavy, 5kg! Imagine wearing that!
I didn't know that they had rings on their arms and legs. However, these rings are just as important.
The rings on the arms are worn on the forearm from the wrist to the elbow.
Those on the legs are worn from the ankles to the knees, and cloth coverings are kept over most of these rings, from the shins down to the ankles.
I bought some postcards, but that was all I wanted. Hardly anybody on tour bought, and the Long Necks had such sad faces, what can you do, you can't buy from all!!
It was interesting being with a guide and learning about their culture. It was a pity, that we couldn't have a look at their home area, like the other two we had previously visited, that is so much nicer.
The 3rd photo is being used with my permission in a Vietnamese travel magazine
You can see one of the interesting Karen traditions in the village – When a daughter is born in the family, a pig will be raised under the house, until the day she gets married. So you could see quite a few pigs lying around happily.
Karen cloth is hand-woven on back-strap looms and is predominantly red with white, blue or brown vertical stripes. Stitching is clear and decorative.