The Long Neck Women - Padaung Tribe of Myanmar and Thailand [Short Facts]
We see weird cultural traditions all around the world influenced by peculiar beliefs or legends. Today in Short Facts, we will discuss one of the most unique and weirdest traditions found in the South-Eastern region of the world. The Padaung tribe, found in Northwestern Thailand and the Southeastern region of Myanmar is known for its long neck women.
Long Neck Women - Padaung Tribe
Padaung or Yan Pa Daung is a term used in the Shan language, the native language of the Shan people living in the Shan State of Myanmar. The term Padaung is used for the people of the Kayan Lahwi group, whose women wear brass rings around the neck, often reffered as the long neck women.
The women of this tribe try to force their necks to grow longer artificially. You will always find all the Padaung females wearing multiple coils around their long necks. These coils are heated and bent to fit around their necks from a very young age. Since childhood only, around the age of 5-9, the first coil is put around a girl’s neck.
Long Neck Women (Padung)
As she grows older, more coils are added in order to force the neck to grow upwards and hence, longer. It is assumed that by the age of 45, Padaung women have about an average of 32 coils and a strangely longer neck. These coils weigh about 15-20 Kg. Due to this, while an average human being has an 8-10 cm long neck, Padaung women have a length of about 19 cm held by these coils.
This weird tradition and forceful lengthening of the neck leads to various health hazards. These women’s jaw and teeth aren’t able to develop properly, and it causes respiratory and cardiovascular problems. There are high chances of an early death as well. It is often seen that when the coils are removed from their necks, it become so weak that it is unable to hold the weight of the head.
Although the Kayin Lahwi people lived in Myanmar, many migrated to Thailand and settled in areas along the Myanmar border.
Given the health risks and adopting a more modern developed culture, the Myanmar government has begun to discourage this neck ring tradition.
The result is that people are also realizing this and many women in Myanmar have started breaking this tradition. But still, many elderly women and some young girls in remote villages wear these brass rings around their necks.