Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thailand's Karen Hill Tribes

We had a wonderful tour and hike about an hour outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. This bridge is on the way to a tiny hill tribe village where we learned the background of the Hmong Peoples. Our guide shared their origination and customs. In fact, the girls in this tribe get to do the proposals! Then the chosen boy must work for her parents for 2 years. The hike was a tough one up a rigorous path for 45 minutes. Oh so worth the view and the new knowledge of the people that lived there! Oh yeah, and we did it in the warm rain! Our biggest surprise?

Mountain crabs. No, not river or ocean...Mountain! I thought it was a giant spider-took a leap back and slipped in the mud. It turned out to be crabs way up high on the mountain path!!!

This is my daughter on the top of the mountain in front of the huts that held the trinkets. We found wonderful woven water bottle carriers, silver jewelry, sarongs, and small trinkets like bracelets and amulets that were very interesting and well made.

This is a White Karen woman. She's weaving a scarf. She does this 8 hours a day on that table. The reason she is called White Karen (pronounced Kah-wren) is that all the women where white until they are married. That's how the unmarried boys know who to talk to at village events. Most of the young people meet at funerals or special ceremonies that don't happen that often. Then they have to be interesting to the girl so she'll pick the boy. Additionally, the girls are married between 13-17.

The young woman's family must have 3 pigs for every daughter for the bride to take into her marriage. The pigs live under the stilted house. Here's some other views of the village.

I plan on showing you our exciting elephant ride with the Karen Tribe elephant drivers tomorrow :-D And if you are planning a wedding, do you have your 3 pigs for your trouseau? They can be very useful tools, you know. The Biblical use in ancient days was as the original garbage men. Every night, pigs would be driven through town to clean the streets. So the Karen brides have a ready made garbage system! Pretty good tool for any bride :-)
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