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The Story of Ana's jewellery products

Our product from Karen Hill Tribe in Thailand

The Karen Hill Tribe in Thailand are the largest ethnic minority group, with an estimated population of around 1,000,000.  They originated from Tibet, moving south to Myanmar and northern Thailand. Today, the Karen Hill Tribe live in proximity to areas alongside the Thai-Myanmar border such as; Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and some in central Thailand.


Religion

Traditionally the Karen are animists, with a strong belief in the spirit world.  The most important, are the spirits of “Land and Water” who control the productivity of the land and call upon the rice to grow. Traditionally much of Karen Hill Tribe life is dictated by the spirits, and they are a highly superstitious people. The village chief is highly a revered figure, who conducts rituals and must be consulted upon when setting dates for any ceremony or event in the village. After all, there are auspicious and inauspicious days for almost everything.

Today as many as 30% of the Karen in Thailand, have been converted to Christianity by missionaries throughout the years.  For the converted, animism still plays an important part in village life though, with all villagers participating in spirit festivals.

Karen Hill Tribe Villages

Karen villages are scattered across the countryside of northern Thailand. They can be found in just about every province and district in northern Thailand, such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son. The Karen Tribe are unrelated to other ethnic minorities and hill tribes in Thailand and Burma. They settled in what is now called Thailand, centuries before the Thais arrived (when the country was part of the Mon-Khmer Empire). They are believed to originated from Tibet, migrating southwards through China, to Myanmar and Thailand. Christian Missionaries began arriving in Karen territories after Burma was annexed by the British in 1826. They converted many Karen people to Christianity and Romanised their language.

Karen Hill Tribe Silver

The Karen are renowned for their silversmithing skills, and famous for producing high quality silver beads and jewellery, that is exported all over the world. Karen Hill Tribe silver is a sizable cottage industry in Chiang Mai and across northern Thailand.

Culture and Lifestyle

The Karen are the only Tribe in Thailand to own and work with elephants. They have a long standing history and relationship with elephants, who they used to work in the forests. They are famous as highly skilled mahouts, and in fact, most of the mahouts in the elephants camps in Chiang Mai today, are Karen Hill Tribe.

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