The Kachins: Religion And Customs
Kachins are savage tribes found in the North and North-East of Burma. They call themselves Chimpows. They come from the North and are now masters of mountain ranges partly in Burma and partly in Yamuna (China). They comprise five principal tribes: the Marips, the Lathongs, the Laphais, the Mkhums and the Marans. The Lophais have a sub-tribe known as Kouris. The author of this volume was a Christian Missionary who was entrusted with the evangelisation of the Kouri tribe during the early decaes of nineteenth century. It goes to his credit that he made a most extensive study of the life and customs of the Kachins and recorded the same in this interesting book. The present book is a veritable encyclopaedia of all knowledge about the Kachins- their ways of life and customs, their wonderful mythology decline with the principles of their existence, their beliefs of the creation of the world, their rituals, their good and their ancestors. They worship a multitude of spirits which they call as ?nats? whom they offer continually sacrifices of animals in order to appease them and to secure their good will. Kachins have no writing. But on great feast day thing Jai-wa, the narrators of the tradition (resembling the old boards) transmitted to one another, by word of mouth, the legends about the origin and explanation of their customs and superstitions. The Jai-wa are also called ?grand fathers? by virtue of their old age, rank and ability to narrate mythological tales. On occasions of great feasts. The ground father or Jai-wa used to put on a long robe, covered his head with a helmet adorned with tusks of a wild boor and long feathers. He asked the good spirits and manes of his ancestors to come and sit down by his side to assist him in reciting the tales of the past. One such bard, the author found, narrated to him the ancient legends of the Kachins for four days and four nights. It is a highly interesting book which will not only interest the students of tribal lore and mythology but prove equally useful for anthropologists and also for those who are interested in the study of tribal history and culture.
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