"Mei Om Law"
In everyday Life of K'Cho Society, the word " Mei Om Law" is a formal welcoming greeting of K'ChoLand. The Kcho people usually say this social greeting to their special guests when they are visited. The direct meaning is that someone is invited to come and join as a family and to make him/her comfortable with the fire at the fireplace because the weather is usually cool in K'ChoLand.
The informal term of "Mei Om Law" is "Om Law". The kcho people say "Om Law" to their close friends or relatives in a friendly way. There are lots of different ways of greeting in KCho Language which depends on occasions and customs.
You can see the difference of greeting of the world. It depends on the people's culture and custom, the special occasions or the weather.
Where is KChoLand ?
The K'cho land is the area of Mindat and Kanpetlet townships where the KCho people particularly live. Mindat and Kanpetlet Townships are situated in Southern Chin State Of Burma bordering with Thilin,Kyawk-htu, and Saw township of Yaw Valley in the east. Paletwa township in the West, Matupi township in the North, and Minpya township of Rakhine State in the South. Who are K'Cho People? "Kcho" or "Cho" people are the inhabited ethnic group around Mindat and Kanpellet from Southern Chin State Of Burma ( Myanmar ). There are three ethnic groups. They are "Müün, Dai and M'Kaang ". They call themselves K'Cho or KCho. K'Cho people speak Kcho dialect. Among Chin Dialects in Myanmar, K'Cho dialect is unique. It stands uniquely and does not mixed with other Chin Languages. Commonly, one type of Chin dialects can be communicate with another type of Chin dialect ( Haka dialect can be understand by Htantlang, Tiddim dialect can be use to communicate with Ton Zang dialect etc...). For some reason Kcho dialect is hard to learn and it is a little bit similar hear and there with all other Chin dialects. K'Cho is their native language and they speak Myanmar as a second language. The people of Mindat and Kampetlet are called K'Cho as well as their language is also called K'Cho. The K'Cho Chin group is composed of smaller linguistically diverse groups of Müün, Dai and M'Kaang. Although the K'Cho Chin group is composed of smaller linguistically diverse groups of Müün, Dai and M'Kaang , K'Cho language is used as a common language in the area of Mindat and Kampetlet. The Kcho are known for their honesty and Braveness. During civil war K'Cho and Chin army saved the Country from Communism. Nevertheless, later when the military regain the power they remove, dislodge, take off the Chin Army so that they can contain their power. Chin state is the Only state that not having strong rebellious army, they all love Peace and Democracy. K'Cho people were well known for their fighting spirit and zeal as well as for their faithfulness.
The K'cho land is the area of Mindat and Kanpetlet townships where the KCho people particularly live. Mindat and Kanpetlet Townships are situated in Southern Chin State Of Burma bordering with Thilin,Kyawk-htu, and Saw township of Yaw Valley in the east. Paletwa township in the West, Matupi township in the North, and Minpya township of Rakhine State in the South.
Who are K'Cho People?
"Kcho" or "Cho" people are the inhabited ethnic group around Mindat and Kanpellet from Southern Chin State Of Burma ( Myanmar ). There are three ethnic groups. They are "Müün, Dai and M'Kaang ". They call themselves K'Cho or KCho. K'Cho people speak Kcho dialect.
Among Chin Dialects in Myanmar, K'Cho dialect is unique. It stands uniquely and does not mixed with other Chin Languages. Commonly, one type of Chin dialects can be communicate with another type of Chin dialect ( Haka dialect can be understand by Htantlang, Tiddim dialect can be use to communicate with Ton Zang dialect etc...). For some reason Kcho dialect is hard to learn and it is a little bit similar hear and there with all other Chin dialects. K'Cho is their native language and they speak Myanmar as a second language.
The people of Mindat and Kampetlet are called K'Cho as well as their language is also called K'Cho. The K'Cho Chin group is composed of smaller linguistically diverse groups of Müün, Dai and M'Kaang. Although the K'Cho Chin group is composed of smaller linguistically diverse groups of Müün, Dai and M'Kaang , K'Cho language is used as a common language in the area of Mindat and Kampetlet.
The Kcho are known for their honesty and Braveness. During civil war K'Cho and Chin army saved the Country from Communism. Nevertheless, later when the military regain the power they remove, dislodge, take off the Chin Army so that they can contain their power. Chin state is the Only state that not having strong rebellious army, they all love Peace and Democracy. K'Cho people were well known for their fighting spirit and zeal as well as for their faithfulness.
Even today Chin State is highly inaccessible - in the rainy season the rivers gush down steep valleys and the roads and tracks become nearly impassable. The K'cho have traditionally lived in scattered villages along the mountain tops in the south of the State. They have practiced swidden field agriculture there, and engaged in trade with surrounding areas.
The K'cho language, lifestyle and worldview have been tied in closely to the seasons and the land. Even now if you are to make a well constructed sentence in the language about where you are about to go, you must add to the verb a term which states whether it is upwards, downwards or away from your present location.
The people themselves are reknowned for their sense of family and clan, their hospitality, 'zu' beer drinking, and personal courage. In colonial days, K'cho men along with other Chin became prized by the British army for their physical consitution, bravery and loyalty.
Other Names for K'cho
( While performing K'Cho Traditional Dance )
Our Objection to The Name "Chinbok"
We all were born in Mindat and Kapetlet Townships. We have never heard of Chinbok. There is no sub-ethnic group as Chinbok or there is no village named as Chinbok. For this reason, we strongly give objection to the Name "Chinbok" to Mindat K'Cho Chin People. We are not Chinbok but We are the KCho.
General Meaning of KCho
In our kcho daily speaking, KCho can be the high rank, in the high position, in the high place, the noble people, the noble position and the North direction.
What is K'Cho?
The K'Cho is a proper noun meaning "Royal". The kcho people believe that they come from a Royal family or community.
( Müün Lady with Pipe )
A brief K'Cho Generation background
Many Years ago, K'Cho developed their Language. In the late century, their migration to other part of the world, that made them lost their main language because of natural disasters, the people and the war.
For this reasons, K'Cho People never try to write down the very important facts or history on the paper and start reading by heart generation to generation. We the new generation are asked by our grandparents to take all history by heart. Most of the time, the important history are made as a story called "Bu Ma" , it is like a bed time story. So the generation can learn very easily. Some kcho people noted down as a song all along history or their background history, those songs are like "Rap or Hip-hop" today. Anyhow, those kind of history are very different from normal daily kcho speaking.We need to know the terms they use the words in the story or songs so that we can understand what they mean. In this way, their background history is protected using special terms of usage.
Here is some facts of K'Cho Generation
In the 1st Generation, there were maily three ethnic groups such as Kan Khaw Ngkhang ( the people born from Heaven ) , Twie Li NgKhang from Pai Tha Li ( The people born from the Sea or Water ), the kcho people seem to call the Sea as Pai Tha Li and Kom Ma Ket ( the people related to Bear or the deep forest ).
Among these three groups, Kom Ma Ket, one of the three had no more generation in the history. The rest two groups make K'Cho Generation continuously.
In 2nd generation, the kcho people are divided into three groups again such as Phaw Lon , Phaw Htun and Phaw Ma.
The generation of Phaw Lon became two groups as Lon and Ma, nowadays they are named themselves as the K'Cho.
The generation of Phaw Htun are now the people from Yaw Villages, Yaw Valley such as Taung Thar and Yaw Thar. Yaw Valley is situated around Pondaung and Ponnyar Mountains.
The generation of Phaw Mar was known as Mar Htat but this generation is no longer in the history.
New Generation as K'Cho
Nowadays, the K'Cho become the newest third generation. K'Cho is a proper name for the whole chin called by Mindat and Kanpetlet chin people, southern Chin State of Burma, Myanmar.
The K'Cho is composed mainly of three clans as Müün, Dai , Makang. The ways we speak and our accents are slightly different among us. The Muum language is used as a common language among these tree clans.
Müün Clan is again composed of many sub-clans such as Lung Du , Ni Du , Ki Hlaw, Daihlaw and so on.
In KCho Language, the generation is called " Pakhui", therefore, the Müün is composed of Lung Du Pakhui ( Lung Du generation ), Ni Du Pakhui ( Ni Du Generation ) and so on.
( Note : In this field, the more studies on Clans and the more delta collection is needed )
A Brief Kcho Clan Identity and Ancient Administration
Pronunciation of 'K'cho'
The K' is used for initial stress, it sounds like "Q or Ka". K'Cho sounds like "Q'Cho"
Actually, in the K'cho language the initial 'k' letter represents a closing of the glottis and a build up of air. The 'ch' sound (with the pronunciation mentioned above) is then released with more than usual force and friction.
As you can see it's the kind of word that needs to be heard to be pronounced correctly!
The K'Cho Chin
Chin is a name with an unclear history. Some have said it comes from the word for 'basket', since the Chin are known for their skills in weaving. Others have said that it originates in the Burmese word for 'friend' and reflects the favorable relations that the two peoples have shared over time. Little more can be said than this now. Conclusive evidence simply has not been found that would prove where the name comes from, and it may well be lost in history.
These days there is a misplaced, but increasingly publicized notion that all Chin refer to themselves as 'Zo', or 'Zomi'. This is not true, and although it is possible that the many terms used by the variousChin tribes to identify themselves may be related historically, i.e. Mizo, Asho, Lai, Hyou etc., it is not correct nor helpful to claim one name for all Chin who so clearly have their own ways of referring to themselves.
The K'cho call themselves and all other Chin 'Kcho'. To this they add place names to distinguish tribes from each other when necessary, e.g. Hakha K'cho ( Hakha Chin ), Batu K'cho to Chin People from Matupi townships, Tidim K'Cho to the Chin from Tidim Townships, Yopa K'cho to all northern Chin People etc.
Khaung (Indigenous Beer) or KCho Yu
Kcho Yu is know as Khaung Yay with Burmese people. Among kcho chins, it is called " Yu or Zu". It is pronounced as "You" in English. Kcho Yu is a traditional brewed drink. Kcho people drink at annual festivals and serve the guests with it. It is made of red millet. The fermented drink contains some alcohol. One can be drunk if he drinks a lot of it. Kcho people drink from their childhood. It is said to be good for health. Myanmar people entertain guests with plain tea but kcho people with "Kcho Yu".
The Kcho Chin live in the mountainous regions of the southern Chin state in western
The Kcho and Animism
( More field studies is needed from elder kcho chin on Animism )Farmers spend more money in a year on their religion or tradition than on their family's schooling, health, and clothing. Nowadays, the Kcho people become educated and trying to upgrade their living standard and the Christian mission is working so hard for the kcho chin development in the area of Mindat and Kanpetlet.
KCho Lady with tattooed face
Facial Tattoo is traditionally practiced by Kcho ladies around Mindat, Kanpetlet , Asho Chin and the chin people from Arakan state.
The chin people in
In north and central Chin state, there had been no practice of tattooing on their face. Only Mindat and other south Chin villages still maintain this tradition. Especially young women of the Munn tribe in
( Muum Lady )
Munn’s tattoo is a line of small circles along the neck, straight lines making half moon shape for the cheeks.
( Dai Lady )
Dai and Makang put a lot of dots all over the face. Dine females are also said that they used to be slaves and its evidence was a ring shaped tattoo around the ankles which they still have today.
( Makang Lady )
Another tribes of Chin group in Arakan state uses a spider-net pattern tattoos which are not found around Mindat.
( Spider tattooed face Chin )
The Chin Bon, Kcho chin and Layhtoo chin are the Southern Chin Clans, which are distinguished by different facial Tattoos, which consist of dots and lines.
In Mindat in western
As hill chin people, they have been isolated and to this day little is known of their animistic culture. The Chin are highly regarded as skilled hunters and weavers. Due to rugged terrain and near isolation, these tribes and villages have remained fairly untouched. Meet the gorgeous Kcho Chin women with their distinctive facial tattoos, hand woven textiles, silver belts and amber beads.
A background history of facial tattoo
The Chin women are famed for their tattooed faces, a tradition that began when they put ink on their faces. The ink for facial tattoo is made from some special plans with dark green color and soot.
It is said by Kcho elder people that the purpose of tattooing is to avoid being chosen as concubines by the Burmese kings. Burmese kings and nobles used to come to
The Chins have more than forty sub groups distinguished by their unique facial tattoos and customs. The customs of Tattooing originated almost a thousand years ago when neighbors men found of the pretty chin ladies so attractive and captured for slavery and wife.
Under that fear the chin women began to Tattoo their faces, both to make themselves unattractive, to protect from intruders for slavery and to ensure that Chin Men would recognize them if they were captured and carried off. Tattooing the ladies nowadays becomes traditions of the Chin tribes.
As soon as a girl enters the age of puberty, tattoo is applied onto her face as they grow the design stretches across their faces creating different features, which closely resemble a spider web or a sunrise. The Chin women usually wears Traditional drum and shaped silver earrings.
The process of facial tattooing is quite painful and dangerous. Some even died of infection. The practice has been outlawed since 1960s, but some still practiced until around 1980s. The youngest women with a facial tattoo are around 26 years old. The facial tattooing is no longer practiced anymore, even in the remotest areas of Chin Hills.
Among the ethnic chin tribes, ladies with tattoos on their faces are a unique sight of the
The value of Facial Tattoo in Kcho society
In KCho Language, facial tattoo is called “Mang Gruke”. Mang means a sign good Luck or Richness. Gruke means “ They make themselves beautiful or They mark themselves. Thus , the kcho ladies believe that they are beautiful with these facial tattoo and they are very proud of themselves for wearing tattoo before kcho gentle men. The kcho elder used to give much favor to those kcho ladies with facial tattoo and take her for his wife but the kcho ladies without facial tattoo did not attain social acceptance. For this reason, kcho ladies in Mindat and Kanpetlet were keen to do this customs to attain social acceptance.
You can learn obviously what the difference is between the kcho ladies with facial tattoo and the ladies without facial tattoo. The Ladies with facial tattoo look younger than the ladies without facial tattoo when they are at the same age or they are getting old. That is the main difference and the benefit of facial tattoo. I personally find them, they are getting older , they are getting prettier.
Where is Chin State ?
Where is Chin State ?
Location: Chin State is located in the west of Myanmar Naing-Ngan It lies between North Latitude 21 ° 0' and 24° 15' and East Longitude between 93 ° 15' and 94°0'. India is to its north and west; Rakhine State, to its south; Sagaing and Magway Division are to its cast. It has an area of 13.907 sq. miles.
Climate: Chin State has a mild hot, wet climate. April and May are the hottest months of the year. Average temperatures of the months range from 60°F (15.5 Degrees Centigrade) to 70°F (21 Degrees Centigrade). Average temperature in the cold season is below 40°F (4.4 Degrees Centigrade). In the cold season, temperatures fall as low as freezing point of water in the higher parts of towns like Haka, Foshaik and Kanpetlet.
Average annual rainfall is 80-100 inches. The southern part of Chin State gets more rain due to the storms that come from Bay of Bengal.
Where is Mindat Township?
Old Name of Mindat is "Mang Dat". Direct translation of Mindat is "King's Army" and Correct meaning is "King's Village".In Colony time when British army preparing to attack "Lung Tu or Chum" Village they stayed in Mindat.They created strong earth bunkers at 16 Miles above Mindat. Until today that earth bankers are still near 16 mile Station. Nowadays 75% of the population is Christian and the rest are traditional Animist plus Buddhist.
Mindat District is a district of the Chin State in Myanmar. It consists 4 towns and 840 villages.The district contains the following townships: Mindat Township, Matupi Township, Kanpetlet Township , Paletwa Township
Mindat town with bluish green backdrop is situated in north-west of Myanmar. It is on the western Yoma. It has temperate climate. The township is 33 miles wide in east-west and 37 miles north-south. It has the total area of over 1,219 square miles.
Click on the link to view the Map Of Mindat Township
A View Of Mindat Town on YouTube
( Mindat is a Township of Southern Chin State Of Burma )
The People Of Mindat
Chins belong to the Tibet-Burma group. There are 52 sub-tribes ( some say 42)among the Chin. Many Chins living in Mindat and Kanpetlet tend to call themselves Kcho. There are mainly three tribes called “Muun , Makang and Dai”. The Kcho women are famed for their tattooed faces, a tradition that began when they put ink on their faces to avoid being chosen as concubines by the Burmese kings.
The Name as “Chin”
The name is given to them of Chin is by no means recognized by all the tribes, the title in fact being a Myanmar corruption of the Chinese word Fin or Yen, which simply means "Man". In Myanmar Language chin means basket and were called chin people because of the baskets they used to carry their goods.
In the hilly Chin state farming is done at the terrace fields. It is also recommended as terrace fields will strengthen their land and prevent deforestation. In their mountain areas, cattle farming are difficult. There is no large-scale market because it is too hilly for people to walk long distance and gather at one place for daily needs. The kcho grow corns, rice, beans, potatoes, mustard, coffee, mandarins, apples, mulberry, and grapes.
In southern villages of Chin state, some has more than 20 houses and a single tribe chief governs the whole village, whose position is inebriated only by his son. On the other hand, most villages house as little as 15 to 20 units in the southern region and they all belong to the same family, thus family head governs the others. Even today Chin villages in the
Culture and Custom
The kcho depend on lowland for trades and carry their goods in baskets. In Myanmar Language chin means basket and were called chin people because of the baskets they used to carry their goods.
Most of the terrain occupied by Chin is Mountainous and settlements are generally found between 3000 and 7000 feet above sea levels. Where the people live by slash and burn agriculture. The kcho are also skilled hunters and animal sacrifice plays an important role in animistic ceremonies.
Kcho women have traditionally participated in all tasks in the village. Although some chins retains their animist or traditional spirit religion. A majority of kcho began converting to Christianity at the end of the 19th century, when British colony ruled the country , the Catholic and Americans missionaries began work on both sides of
In Mindat, the best season to visit and explore the mountain ranges is in November, December, January, February, March, April after the rainy season ends in
In the southern Chin regions in Mindat, stone tables and Y-shaped wooden poles catch eyes of the travelers. They are often found by the road in the forest and mountain area villages and used for the ceremonies as an place to put a cow and so on. Naga also use the very similar type of Y-shaped poles. There are pictures of those items in this web site.
( While Dai lady playing flute with nose )
Nose Flute Men of Dine plays this very unique musical instrument when he asks a woman to marry him, as a means of proposes! Dai women also play the nose flute as a token of her acceptance to get married. Dai people around Mindat are famous for their unique musical instrument play flute with their nose.
Around Mindat, there live 3 tribes of Chin called Munn, Makang and Dai. They used to burn the dead corps and put its ash into a jar, then bury it under a low, stone-made table. Thus These tables are used as tombs, especially for their family member or friend. All these traditions are done by the kcho people who practice animist or traditional spirit religion. Some kcho people who believe in Buddhist also continue practicing Animist. The Christian kcho, nowadays, are no longer practicing this tradition
Travelers will see them on the way to
K'Cho Traditional Festivals
Chin National Day
The Chin National Day is celebrated on (February 20th ).
Animist traditional Ceremony
Some kcho people hold a traditional ceremony (Animist or traditional spirit religion ) and dedicate a cattle for their God but the animism festivals are hardly seen today. Yet there still lives several shamans in southern Chin, one of which is said to be as old as more than 100 years old.
K’Cho Traditional New Year ( Kom Tai )
In Mindat , the Muum tribes usually celebrate New Year between in March and April before they start hill farming called “Taung Ya” in
The New Year festival ( Kom Tai ) in Kcho Language is social as well as one of animist ceremonies, but it is also to exchange previous year experiences, to make plans for the coming year and to discuss how to overcome difficulties. They pray for abundant crops and domestic animals and to have good weather.
Another aspects of this festival is reunion of relatives, who are away from home. They worship to their deities by scarifying the animals. The festival is usually in January.
At the same time , the kcho usually celebrate one of animist ceremonies called “ Kom Thee” in Kcho Language. The aspects of this celebration is that they are asking the God for the seeds which will be the best to grow in their farm for the coming year. This tradition celebration can be from January to April. The kcho usually start sowing seeds in their farm before the end of April.
"Lon Yu" Ethnic Festival
Participate in the Lun Yu festival, where giant stones are pulled by locals in a contest of strength, and cows and pigs are sacrificed for a huge feast. Take part in a massive celebration, with plenty of rice wine and dancing to make for a most memorable evening.
Birth right Kcho Chin have a great respect for birth, and bestow a natural reverence on the man who, by right of birth is chief of the tribe, clan or family.
"Lon-Yu" festival celebrated after the end of cultivation month, which in early March. Normally they celebrated in April. The latest date is in May.
Aim and Objective
Chiefly to be nobleness and a place for a store of " Bone Pot" to be buried when expired.
Glory and Nobel
The celebration of "Lon-Yu" festival is great and glory with nobleness. Distance relatives are invited or it is a kind of tribal re-union of celebration.
" Lon-Yu" is a mission of greet and grand for a Kcho Ethnic Minorities. We can see to its as mile-stone of Kcho culture and tribes to survival for a living in a long distance hilly region of our Myanmar North-Western Frontier.
Geographical Description of K'Cho Land
The K'cho land is the area of Mindat and Kanpetlet townships.Mindat and Kanpetlet townships are in southern Chin State bordering with Thilin,Kyawk-htu, and Saw township of Yaw Valley in the east. Paletwa township in the West, Matupi township in the North, and Minpya township of Rakhine State in the South. The Southern Chin Hills is between 20° 60° and 21° 80° of north-latitude and 94° 10° of east- latitude. The second highest mountain of Burma called "Mount Victoria "(10008 ft/ 3336 m) is there. At the foot of this mountain, there are two small towns " Mindat " in the North and " Kanpetlet " in the South that are at the top of two different mountain ranges.
The K'cho land is the area of Mindat and Kanpetlet townships.Mindat and Kanpetlet townships are in southern Chin State bordering with Thilin,Kyawk-htu, and Saw township of Yaw Valley in the east. Paletwa township in the West, Matupi township in the North, and Minpya township of Rakhine State in the South.
The Southern Chin Hills is between 20° 60° and 21° 80° of north-latitude and 94° 10° of east- latitude. The second highest mountain of Burma called "Mount Victoria "(10008 ft/ 3336 m) is there. At the foot of this mountain, there are two small towns " Mindat " in the North and " Kanpetlet " in the South that are at the top of two different mountain ranges.The land of K'Cho people is mountainous as it is part of the western mountain ranges of Myanmar. Khawnu or Victoria peak, one of the tourist attractions for hiking , bird seeing, observing of various rare birds and orchid species, is the highest point in Chin State. Vast stretches of mountains are still covered with virgin forest teeming with a wide variety of native orchids and flowers, rare species of birds in the world. But forest from large areas of the region has depleted or degraded due to the practice of subsistence shifting cultivation locally called Taungya, a common farming for the daily food of local people.There are big forests left only in the area of Khawnu National park strictly restricted to cut the trees for no reason.