Karen Traditional Clothing

This is how Karen girls wear their traditional clothing when they are single.

This is how Karen girls wear their traditional clothing when they are single.

Every culture has their own traditional clothing. Karen people also has their own traditional clothing. Before we turn fabric into clothing, we use cotton to make it into thread. Then we use thread to weave our clothes. Karen traditional clothing is very special for the Karen New Years and everyone have to wear it.

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Tin Htay is wearing the clothing she dances in with the Karen dance group in Lincoln. Young dancers will wear brighter colors and older dancers will wear more of black, orange, and green.

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Mue Gay Wah is wearing clothing of married woman. This clothes show that whoever wear it is married already.

This is an example of how Karen boys dress for school in Thai refugee camp.

This is an example of how Karen boys dress for school in Thai refugee camp.

Karen clothing has meaning. Not all Karen people wear the same clothing, they have identity with age. When they are young and have not already married, they used to wear a long dress. Once they marry they have to wear short shirt with skirt that is wrapped around at their waist. In their own culture if they didn’t obey this tradition, a tiger will come eat them or take them away. Most of the people in Karen village, they knew how to make Karen traditional clothing. Even kids learn how to do it.

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Mue Naw Gay and Myo Aung celebrated their marriage. Married woman wear short shirt and short skirt that tied around waist.

Right now it’s different from the past. Now people use those weavings to make it into pants and different designs of clothing. Most people forget about their own traditional clothing. The Karen traditional clothing now is not that traditional anymore since some people use it in the wrong way and wear it in an inappropriate way. Now, the Karen people are not loyal to their ancestors by not wearing Karen clothing. Some people do what they want because they have forgotten their tradition and the teaching of their ancestors. Since some people were separated from Burma, they haven’t wear their traditional clothing often. They wear more simple clothes like other cultures do.IMG_7364

This is how Karen people wear their traditional clothing now.

This is how Karen people wear their traditional clothing now.

 

Post written by Paw Spai Moo and Tin Htay.

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Quilted Conscience

The finished piece on display at Sheldon.

The finished piece on display at Sheldon.

Many people came to see the finished quilt piece on the Sunday of March 23rd. A group of students from Lincoln High worked on the quilted conscience project in the beginning of school year. There are about 16 students who were involved in the project who are from Burma and Thailand. We had been working on this project for one week in September, 2013. We did this to represent our dreams and memories. The first day we had to draw a picture and describe what’s the meaning of the picture. All of the students were very delighted to share about their memories and dreams. When we did this project, some of Quilters participate to help us how to sew the fabric. They were so kind and very helpful. The quilt included the weaving that the Karen parents did along with the piece that the student did. The quilt will be on display in the museum. On the final day everyone was invited to see the finished piece. Many people came to the event to see it. During the final day there were Karen traditional dancing and singing. The students introduced themselves and shared a few things about their piece. At the celebration some Karen students performed a Karen traditional dance called, “Don Karen Dance.”

Karen done dance

Karen done dance

When the quilt is finally displayed people will see the visual arts that the students had made from their memories and goals. When you look at the quilt it is as if you are reading many chapters of one book.

 

–Written by Paw Spai Moo and Paw Say.