Article written by: Mo Mo Cho Win
ASEAN-Korea blog correspondent, Myanmar
Each country has its own unique traditional clothing which represents its cultural and social status. The type of clothes worn by people is determined by the histories of their country, its climatic conditions, traditions, and ethnic groups that inhabited or inhabit it. Myanmar is a large country with diverse ethnic minorities in different regions. Hence, the traditional clothing of Myanmar varies from region to region. Myanmar clothes are comfortable, vividly colored, beautifully crafted and decorated with attractive accessories. Traditional Myanmar clothing is influenced by a combination of different races and their traditional style. Myanmar people care about their traditional clothing and wear it for special occasions or different celebrations, such as donation, wedding, national celebrations and graduation ceremonies. That time the costumes are decorated with jewel and many accessories.
Wearing traditional costumes at special occasions or celebrations
Also it is important to say that Myanmar is a very big country with different about 135 ethnic groups. Among them, the 8 major races are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Burma, Rakhine and Shan. They all have their own regions, dialect, tradition, culture, legendary, own folklore, tales and accents.
Kachin Kaya Kayin
Chin Mon Burma
Rakhine Shan 8 Major National Ethnic Races
Though the traditional clothing differs from one corner of the country to the other, but there are some common elements, such as the “Longyi” and the “Hta Mein” dress. Myanmar men and women still wear the “Longyi” on a regular basis. The dress is made out of breathable fabric with beautiful design and color. The “Longyi” and the “Hta Mein” are round and long, down to the ankles. They inspired the Myanmar costume.
The men wear a shirt which is traditionally without collar, Myanmar traditional over-coat and the “masculine longyi” the traditional lower garment known as the “Pa Soe”. The women wear a blouse that covers the shoulders and the “feminine longyi” (Hta-mein). The “Longyi or Hta-mein” is one of the traditional dresses of Myanmar women. This skirt cloth or lower body wrapper was worn by women during the Konbaung Dynasty (1752–1855) as a wrap-around skirt, or sometimes as folded clothing material placed “tightly across the abdomen slightly left center of the waist”. In comparison, a
Myanmar men wear the “Longyi or Pa Soe” around the hips; the men tie a knot in the front and women fold it and fix on the one side (right or left).
Myanmar men wear the “Longyi or Pa Soe” around the hips; the men tie a knot in the front and women fold it and fix on the one side (right or left.)
“Hta-Mein” for Myanmar women wear
And also many women prefer traditional Myanmar clothing. “Chiate Hta Mein” is the most common item in Myanmar. The Ethnic minorities especially in the mountainous and isolated regions still embrace their traditional costumes. However, you can see that Myanmar people with original traditional Myanmar attire throughout the country, where clothing for men includes shirts “Longyi or Pa Soe” and dresses made from inexpensive cotton to suit the sweltering climate and their occupational work.
Because of its tropical climate, Myanmar people avoid clothes made of light fabrics like cotton and viscose. These are some of the information about the traditional Myanmar clothing. The next time you visit Myanmar, please don’t forget to purchase some of the graceful traditional Myanmar clothes which will make your wardrobe complete.
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