Shan is the second main ethnic group in Myanmar after Burma. Shan group is also a very important and powerful group. Most of the Shan people are live primarily in Shan State where is in eastern part of Myanmar and minority inhabit parts of Mandalay Region, Kachin State, and Kayin State.
Shan is characterized by tall, with light skin. Their estimated population is around 4-5 million. The capital of Shan State is Taunggyi, the fifth-largest city in Myanmar with about 390,000 people. Other major cities include Thibaw (Hsipaw), Lashio, Kengtung and Tachileik.
Shan people comprise of different ethnic group such as Shan, Yun, Kwi, Pyin, Yao,Danaw, Pale, En, Son, Khamu, Kaw , Kokang, Khamti Shan, Hkun, Taungyo, Danu, Palaung, Man Zi, Yin Kya, Yin Net, Shan Gale, Shan Gyi, Lahu, Intha, Eik-swair, Pa-O, Tai-Loi, Tai-Lem, Tai-Lon, Tai-Lay, Maingtha, Maw Shan and Wa. The majority of Shan are Theravada Buddhists. Most Shan speak the Shan language and are bilingual in Burmese. Shan people practiced Buddhism and they also call themselves “Tai”.
Shan men dress in shirts and traditional khaki jackets. Their baggy trousers are usually made of khaki. Every Shan man wears a headdress. Shan women wear with longyis, blouses, and headdresses.
Shan State is rich in natural resources, such as silver, lead, gold, tungsten, rubies, sapphires and teak. The Shan are traditionally wet-rice cultivators, shopkeepers and artisans. As traditional food, Shan noodle is famous.
In Shan State, have many festivals at different regions. At Inle Lake, Phaungdawoo Pagoda Festival is usually held with great magnificence and pageantry in October and this festival takes about 18 days. It is the biggest occasion held in the Inle Lake. And Kakku Pagoda Festival is held annually in March, on the fullmoon day of Tabaung (March) takes about 2 or 3 days. Next one Tazaungdine Lighting festival and Lu Ping Festival commonly known as Hot Air Balloon Festival celebrates by Pa-O Tribe. The most significant festival is held annually around October and November.
If you are willing to visit to the Shan State, you have a chance to explore their amazing traditional festivals, feel the scenery view and meet the pretty authentic local Shan people.
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