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The Identity of the Indus people : Part 4

Author Rajshree Last Updated: Friday, 25 August 2017 (14:04 IST)
Goddess figures 
 
Goddess Phu Bi Yaw (jav) is the goddes of the harvest and grains. She presides over the cultivation of the paddy. To honor her, offering is placed at the the entrance of a crabs' burrows. The Karen believe that she took once a form of a crab.
 
Significance of stones: 
 
Many Karens keep stones in their houses that they suppose possess miraculous powers, and which seem to re- present the gods of the ancients. After sometime they throw stones away.

Facts, Customs, Traditions, Rituals 
 
They keep record of the time. It was 739 BC when they settled in the new homeland Burma. 

They have legends that their culture was once great. They believe they once had a written language which somehow disappeared. 
 
They believe there are seven heavens and seven earths.
 
The first mountain that was created was Lwie-nya ; and the first rivers formed were La-ko-meu, Lie-la-sho, and Mai-e. The river Lie-la-sho had its sources among the mountains of Eako-sho.
A super natural being called "T'nu" will come to exterminate the wicked. He is represented as going about with a huge crossbow.
 
A beautiful female name ‘Saro’ would destroy wicked people. 
 
No important measure is undertaken, till a favorable response has been obtained from the fowl's thigh bones. There are many peculiarities known only to the elders. 
 
After most of the ritual, it is customary to tie a spun cotton string on the wrist, so gods know who performed the offering. 
 
Wrist tying ceremony: Traditionally the festival takes place at the time of the August full moon, when the Karen tie white threads around the wrists to ward off illness.
 
Marriages are arranged. They believe marriages are set in the havens. A Karen couple who wants to marry against the wishes of their parents just has to disappear into the forest for one night, and when they return in the morning the village will organize their immediate marriage.

Marriages are prohibited in November-December. 
 
They have a strong belief in sexual morality, and severely punishes those who break their laws. 
 
When a Karen is about to do anything, if he happens to sneeze on the occasion, it is considered a bad omen, and the thing commenced is avoided at once.
 
Karen people’s bronze drum are famous. They beat drum to please the lord of land. They have frog rain song. They beat drum for every occasions including funerals.
 
Their songs are called ‘Tho da’. Men and women both love music and play harp. They sing in very soft and sweet voice. Young lovers sing and make poetry to each other.
 
Husband and wife don’t call each other by name. Husband is called ‘ve’. It is interesting that after they have first child, they address each other by the child’s name.
 
A common Karen greeting is Aw mee wee lee ar– “Have you finished eating?” 
 
They are good elephant driver and hunter. 
 
A curious tradition of moving out from the village after a headman’s death: The death of the headman led to a lineal breakdown into branches. In the Karen society, the nuclear family is the primary social unit. The headman’s death means the disappearance of the pivot of the lineage. Some join another village, and some established their own village with a new headman-usually the son of the late headman. 
 
They are the only ethnic group in northern Thailand who have a tradition of growing paddy rice in the valleys, and are the most productive farmers.
 
[ Photo creadit : Biplov Bhuyan / Indus Images ]
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