The padaung custom

The rings are added on every two to three years starting from a very young age until a certain age of twenty and above. The rings holds the neck stiffly that it restrict any movements of the neck. If the rings are removed, it will kill the women almost instantly.

The padaung custom

Contact Author A small group of women belonging to the Karen tribe are willing to stick their necks out and defend their tradition despite the fact that their bodily modification has caused heated debates and outcries of disapproval.

They are what the rest of the world refer to as the "giraffe ladies" or the "long necks". They practice the art of "neck stretching". I am not referring to part of a daily exercise routine where you stretch your neck muscles for a minute or to in order to relax. The Karen Padaung neck stretching involves permanent bodily modification which takes years to accomplish Young Karen woman of the Paduang trip living in a village near Chiang Mai, Thailand Image: Initially little girls will be made to wear a single coil of heavy brass around their neck.

This will continue over a couple of years until a limit of 20 rings have been added although there are reports of some women who wear as much as 25 coils but this is more the exception.

The weight of the coils will eventually place sufficient pressure on the collarbone to cause it to deform and create an impression of a longer neck. Young Padaung Girl Origin of the Tradition There are many diverse explanations as to the origin of this tradition the most rational being for its aesthetic value.

The beauty and grace of a long neck is exemplified by the addition of heavy golden jewelry depicting both wealth and beauty. Other explanations include to protect the ladies from evil spirits and another rumor is to disfigure them so that other tribes will find them unattractive.

I think I'll stick to the first and most obvious explanation. Despite the fact that the elongated neck is illusionary it certainly is convincing and to outsiders gives the women an abnormal appearance. It is for obvious reasons that they are referred to as the "giraffe ladies" Women of the Padaung tribe use brass rings - up to 25 for an adult - to progressively stretch their necks.

Rings are worn also on the calves. Image and desciption cortesy Hoorab - Flckr Other Traditions of the Padaung Women Much less publicized is the tradition among the Padaung women to wear carved elephant tusks in their ears to indicate that they are married.

A Padaung woman weaving bw photo Thailand Photo Luca Tettoni The Bridgeman Art Library This photographic print leverages sophisticated digital technology to capture a . The Padaung, or Ka-Kaung as they call themselves, are a sub-group of the Karen. Ka-Kaung means 'people who live on top of the hill'. Padaung women are often referred to as 'giraffe' or 'long-necked' because of the custom of placing brass rings around their . Life of the Padaung Skip to entry content One of the most striking ethnic tribes in Myanmar are the Padaung (also called Kayan Lahwi), a sub-group of the Karen .

When a Padaung women gets married her ears are pierced and a piece of elephant tusk is inserted into her earlobes. The first pieces are reasonably small, ranging between one and four centimeters in length. The earlobes are eventually weighed down by the pieces of elephant tusk and as they stretch larger pieces of tusk are inserted into the lobes until the women's earlobes become elongated and floppy.

The padaung custom

This tradition is restricted to married woman and unmarried woman may not wear any ear pieces. The Padaung women also wear metal coils on the calves of their legs and this practice is followed by both young and older women.

Why Padaung Women get Negative Reactions There are several factors that have given rise to the negative reactions and outrage that the art of neck stretching among the Padaung women have received in recent years.

The fact that the protesters are not equipped to decipher truth from myth was probably partly to blame. Their concern was triggered by the fact that a rumor was spread that should a Padaung woman be disloyal or offend her tribe her neck rings would be removed and that this could cause her to choke to death as a result of her crippled respiratory muscular structure.

These women however do not choke and die when they remove their neck rings.

The padaung custom

Just as well as they remove them for their first wedding night.(CULTURAL FACTS) Whatever the origin of the custom, one of the more common reasons it continues today, particularly in Thailand, is tourism.

Although the Padaung have migrated to Thailand from Burma in only the last ten year), they have become the most popular "attraction" for hill-tribe trekking tourists. The practice of neck stretching is a strong belief of the Padaung women and this custom is an expression of feminine beauty at its best.

The brass coils these women wear are fitted at the age of 5 and as the young girl will grow, more large coils will be added. Feb 02,  · The Padaung, or the Long Necks, are a minority group within the Karen tribe - one of the largest hill tribe groups in Southeast Asia.

However, the Padaung themselves are mainly located within the Kayah State of Myanmar. The Padaung, or Ka-Kaung as they call themselves, are a sub-group of the Karen.

Ka-Kaung means 'people who live on top of the hill'. Padaung women are often referred to as 'giraffe' or 'long-necked' because of the custom of placing brass rings around their .

Ma Ja, a year-old Padaung woman living in one of three so-called "long-neck" villages near Mae Hong Son in northern Thailand, is proud of her tradition, but she hates the life that it .

The Padaung is one of the eight ethnic Karen communities (in Myanmar, the Karen is known as Kayah) living in the Kayah state in southwest Myanmar.

Padaung < Karen < Society and Culture