Myanmar people - Burmese people


Burmese women wear "Thanaka" on their face as a make up and suncream

About Burmese people

Burmese people are a mix of Indo-Aryans (700 B.C) and Mongolian invaders (13th century), thought to be the earliest ancestors of Myanmar people who are well known for their gentle ways, generosity and surprisingly open-minded attitude towards change.

You will often find Burmese people ever willing to strike a friendly conversation with foreigners which highlights their kindness.

Myanmar people are also a fun-loving nation who knows how to enjoy a can of beer over a friendly chit chat.


Clothing of Burmese people

The existence of different stages of development and exposure to the outside world is best reflected in the vibrant Burmese clothing. Though the 'longyi' and 'Hta Mein' (round and long sarong like cloth reaching down to the ankles, made out of a fabric of beautiful design and color) are popular among both sexes in the country, Burmese people in western clothes is not a rare sight. You can also see a slight variation in clothing when traveling from one area to another within the country.

  • Attire of Men
    • Their attire consists of a collarless shirt, a traditional over-coat and a masculine longyi (Pa Soe- a traditional lower garment). When wrapping the longyi, men tie a knot at right center front of the lower body.
  • Attire of Women
    • Women wear a garment consisting of a blouse covering the shoulders and a feminine longyi (Hta-mein) which originates from the body wrapper worn by women during the Kobaung Dynasty (1752-1855). Unlike men, women wear the longyi or the hta-mein as a wrap-around skirt or folded and placed on left or right side of the waist.
    • Thanakha, Another uniquely Burmese habit is for the women and the children to wear a powdery facial paste made of ground bark called “thanakha”. Due to its cooling properties, this is considered as a substitute for sun tan and insect repellent.

Religions in Myanmar

With a minority of Christian, Hindu and Islamic followers which has led to ethnic clashes from time to time, and a majority of Theravada Buddhists, the country boasts of religious diversity. Buddhism has a central role to play in the life of an average Burmese, where many young boys willingly take up the robe for short periods of time to get a taste of a monastic life. Their pure devotion can be seen by the tens of thousands of stupas and pagodas that are scattered in and around the country.

  • Buddhists - 89%
  • Muslims - 4%
  • Christians - 4%
  • Hindus - 2%
  • Animists - 1%

Ethnic groups in Myanmar

Myanmar boasts of 135 ethnic groups and sub groups, out of which Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Bamar, Rakhine and Shan make up the main groups.

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