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In Myanmar, there are about 135 ethnic groups. Among them, the major races are Bamar, Shan, Kayin, Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Mon and Rakhine. They all have their own dialect, tradition, culture, legendary and traditional costume.

The traditional costume consist “longyi” (sarong) and “eingyi” (blouse) & (shirt)
Centuries ago, people came from India, Tibet and Mongolia into Myanmar. The way of the dressing of our earliest people “Pyus” was like Indian culture.

Bamar men wear ankle length patterns of checks, plaids or stripes “Longyi” in any kinds of colour. Kayin traditional “longyi” has solid reds bordered with horizontal stripes at the middle. Rakhine patterns fracture a thick, high relief weave in light, reflective greys and blues. The Kachin longyi consists of checks of black, green and deep purple. Mon longyi is in small checks on red, bordered with horizontal stripes at the middle looks something like in Kayin “longyi”. Chin “longyi is like Bamar “longyi” But it has a column.

Shan and Kayah men’s traditional costumes are quite different, because they wear loose trousers. Shan trousers have light brown, brown, terracotta or grey colour but Kayah trousers are only in black.

To wear, they tie them, they gather the front of the “longyi” to create two short lengths of material, then twist them into a half knot, tucking one end in at the waist, while allowing the other to protrude from the knot. Shan men tie their trousers like “longyi” Kayah men tie them pink band at the waist on their trousers.

Their white “eingyi” looks like shirt has mandarin collar. Bamar, Kachin, Mon, Shan, Kayah and Rakhine men wear traditional jacket called “teik-pon “on their “eingyi”. It has white, grey, black or terracotta colour. But Kayin and Chin men wear their long dress instead of “tiek-pon”. They put the “gaung-baung” turban on their head and for footwear, simple rubber or velvet slippers.

Bamar women’s calf-length “longyis” are in solid colours, flower prints and many kinds of designs. One of the famous designs feature wavy or zig zag “acheig” patterns. Rakhine women traditional “longyi” is also in “acheig”. The Mon “longyi “has red base colour, on it partial stripes and very small checks design. Kayin and Kayah “longyis” are in horizontal stripes on red or green colour. Kayah women tie them beautifully with very long band in front of them, at the waist. Shan “longyi” has horizontal or vertical stripes at the middle part. Upper and lower parts are in plain colour. Kachin “Longyi” has the “manaw” columns, on the red or black colour base.

Bamar, Kayin, Chin, Kayah, Mon, Rakhine and Shan women’s “longyis” are nearly the same and made by cotton. A black waistband is stitched along the waist end, to wear; this waistband is folded in front to form a wide pleat, and then tucked behind the waistband to one side.

The Kachin “eingyi“ has only black colour and it is very beautiful because it is decorated by many pieces of silver. Kayin women wear a long dress called “thin-dai” decorated by many threads. Bamar, Mon, Rakhine, Chin, Kayah, and Shan women’s” eingyis” are nearly the same .It has a form-fitting waist length blouse. Kayah women tie this traditional shawl on their “eingyi”. It is embroiled of male and female royal birds of them called “Keinayee & Keinayah”. Bamar, Rakhine and Mon women put the shawl on their shoulders.

Kayah, Kayin, Shan, Kachin, and Chin women tie a lovely band on their head. Bamar, Mon and Rakhine women wear beautiful flowers in their hair. The footwear is simple slippers of leather or velvet.



Mon Rakhine Shan Kayin


Myanmar has many ethnic groups and hill tribes and they wear a variety of traditional dress. The pictures below shows the great diversity of costumes. Click on thumbnail to enlarge



19th Century Drawings

These images depict costumes in Myanmar (Burma) in the late 19th century - Reference The History of Costume by Braun & Schneider c 1861 -1880

Click on thumbnail to enlarge


Buddhist Ceremonial Costumes - Click on thumbnail to enlarge


Other Burmese Costumes
Bamar Kachin Girls Ahak Dance

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