From the Manau ground in Myitkyina

The Manau Ground

- The first morning of the Manau festival.  Excitement is in the air.

This post is designed to showcase some of the colour and diversity of the Myitkyina Manau festival held to mark the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the Kachin State.  The images should provide illustrations of life in the middle of the Manau ground.  This is where a great deal of the official action takes place.  Completing the prescribed dances is integral to the success of the Manau.  Over the course of this Manau festival different groups took responsibility (and were honoured) by leading different dances.  These groups included the Central Kachin Traditional Committee, the Kachin Independence Organisation and the New Democratic Army – Kachin.  Each dance had a different composition of people.  Some included large numbers of Shan.  While others included many Rawang or Lisu.

I hope these images provide a solid overview of the formal action on the Manau ground.  As always, please don’t hesitate to offer comments or ask any questions that spring to mind.

The Manau poles

- The flag of the Union of Myanmar sits on top of the two central Manau poles.

Children at the ribbon-cutting on the first day

- School children stand ready to release their balloons when the Manau festival is officially opened.

Leading a Manau dance

- The ritual leaders of the Manau dances making their way around the Manau ground.  They follow a set pattern of loops and swirls around the ground for over 2 hours per dance. 

Jingpo Dancing Troupe from China

- Dancers from a Jingpo troupe that drove across to Myitkyina from Yunnan.

Dancing line

- Dancers, with a number of Rawang in front, make their way around the Manau ground.

Lisu footwear

- The footwear of some “Myitkyina Lisu” waiting to get in on the dancing action.

   

Dancing in front of the poles

- A line of dancers snakes back in front of the Manau poles.

Under the Manau poles

- Underneath the Manau poles some dancers are taking a rest while some singers belt out the standard Manau song.  A Burmese soldier stands in the foreground.

The dancing continues

- Dancers making their way in front of the Manau poles.  Soldiers dance in the background. 

The long line of dancers

- An art-house picture of a Manau dance in full-flight.

More dancers

- More dancers making their way.

Banging the gongs

- Banging the gongs that help keep the beat for the dancers.

SInging on the stage

- Singers on the stage in the middle of the Manau ground.

Young Kachin soldiers posing for a picture

- After the dancing is finished for the day a young Kachin soldier poses in front of the Manau poles. 

In my next post in this series on the Myitkyina Manau I plan to have more images and comments that highlight the crucial role of photography in the festivities.

About Nicholas Farrelly