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    The History of Tea Leaf

    Image depicts a statue erected on Mt. Loi Saing (Paddamyar Taung in Burmese), near Taung Pė Village, situated within Namsam Township, northern Shan State. The statue goes that when the Burmese king Alaungsithu travelled across his new kingdom around the 5th -6th century, he found Palaung people at Loi San Mountain in Southern Shan State. When he found them to be poor and struggling, he gave them laphet seeds believing it would help them find money for their family.

    Farmers and Loan Money “Amadaw Kyay” Under BSPP

    Daw May Myo Khine, 49 years old, who once lived in Sittwe, capital of Rakhine, and whose grandfather and father owned many rice farms explained that under the Burmese Socialist Programme Party, some farmers grew two different kinds of rice. They grew low quality rice, which they would sell to the government at the prescribed price and good quality variety, which they would eat themselves. The government gave farmers loans called “Amadaw Kyay”  for growing rice. In return, the farmers had to sell the harvested rice to the government.

    Woman Led Self-Reliance Family

    Woman Led Self-Reliance Family

    I would like to share something with you about an ethnic Lahu family in Southern Shan State, Myanmar. This is a women-led family and they are relying on their own farm for their family foods and income generation. She is Daw Thida Aung with 52 years old and her husband is a religious leader. The family consists of four family members with her husband, a daughter and son.

    Luntaya Acheik and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

    The techniques of weaving industry including luntaya acheik could be woven the locals proficiency.  It was the most flourishing period in Konbaung dynasty (1752-1885). In later times, the people had less interested in wearing acheik garment due to the political and economic difficulties.

    Problem of Yellow Color (Dye)

    This report released by the Ministry of Health states their persistent monitoring and testing of food products to ensure health safety and promote the well-being of citizens. It further explains that on lab examinations, 43 brands of tea (pickled) on the Myanmar market contained significant traces of Auramine O. Auramine O is a diarylmethane dye used in fabric coloring processes and despite lacking any immediate affect on consumer health, is hazardous and harmful to the kidneys and liver, therefore unsuitable for consumption.

    Traditional Soybean Cury

    Famous Traditional PaOh Soybean Cury

    This one of the most famous traditonal foods in our country, Myanmar, especially in Southern Shan State.

    The PaOh ethnic group has been used to this kind of food since their ancestors. Soybean cury and the PaOh ethnic people are inseparable from their society.

    They always use every ingredient (soybean, chilli, salt, tomato, peanut oil) in these foods from their local resources without buying from outsides.

    Practice for High Quality

    The first step in making steamed, pickled tea the traditional way is to evenly lay out the tea leaves on a reed or bamboo mat. Next, the tea is rolled out by hand. This is done by placing both hands side by side and gently pressing down on the tea leaves with the lower palm of both hands.The steady back and forth motion of the slowly rolls the tea leaves. More and more pressure is added as the tea leaves begin to roll and curl up. This process takes about 15 minutes. Locals may use tea rolling machines if they are available. 

    Tabaski Twenty Twenty (1)

    The feast of Aîd El Kébir or tabaski is a Muslim feast. It involves prayers and the slaughter of animals (preferably sheep). This year, it coincided with the Covid 19 pandemic and its consequences. This explained the soaring prices of sheep in the market. The animals were exposed in the parks and on the streets to customers. The prices varied between sixty thousand (60,000 F cfa) to four hundred thousand (400,000 F cfa and up). Because of the high price of sheep, within twenty-four hours (24 hours) of the event, some Muslims could not have the sheep of their choice.

    Tabaski Twenty Twenty (2)

    The first activity on the feast day tabaski is group prayer in the public squares. Otherwise it will led in the mosques by the Imams who will be the first to slaughter their animals. After the immolation of the Imams from each zone, the rest of the community starts to slaughter their animal. Following the mechanical skinning of the animals, the meat is distributed at three levels: firstly, the share of the disadvantaged first, then the next of kin and the third part is for the family. This meat is consumed in different dishes, at least within the families.

    Traditional Old Tea Tree

    Tea cultivation is one of the main rural livelihoods seen in Kyaukme Township, Northern Shan State. It can be seen in the many hills around the area. In Kyaukme Township, tea plants have been cultivated naturally for many years. Botanically speaking, tea belongs to the genus Camellia, species Thea and family Theaceae. Tea is a perennial crop. Most tea plants are not allowed to grow more than 3 feet high. This is because tea cultivators prefer to keep the plant low as it is difficult to pick tea leaves when the tree is tall.

    Tea Picking (Harvesting)

    Tea trees are kept small by tea growers and are evergreen throughout the seasons. In their natural state, they can grow to be up to 30ft tall. However, tea growers keep their tea tress to within 4-5ft in height. This ensures that the tea trunk remains thick and encourages more leaf and branch growth. Tea growers do so to get as much leaves as possible from their trees as the leaves are the sole product of tea trees. Keeping the tea trees short makes tea harvest easier to harvest. 

    Legendary Folktale Behind the Origin of the Ao Tribe

    Out of 16 recognised tribes of Nagaland, the Aos are considered as the second largest ethnic group. Chungliyimti, the watershed village in Nagaland holds the symbolic significance behind the legendary folk tale of the ancestry of the Aos. It is believed that the ancestors of the first tribe to embrace Christianity in Nagaland ; i.e the Aos emerged from the six stones which are still in the village of Chungliyimti.

    Edible Earth from a Mountain

    I arrived at place that has a mountain with the edible earth. I found that the wonderful mountain earth is eaten by PaOh ethnic elders especially for women and pregnant women. They often eat the edible earth in two ways; first is fresh earth and second is baking the earth. Usually they put the edible earth in the traditional oven to have a good smell and better taste. They believe that it is good for their health and it helps for pregnant women to get their energy. Nowadays most of young generations don't know about the edible earth.

    Orality

    Nagaland is home to nearly two million people consisting of 16 constituent major tribes that speak over 89 dialects (mostly mutually unintelligible between two tribes) and are without a common language and script.

    According to the most famous legend regarding the Naga script, it was given to the people on animal skin which, when nobody was looking, was eaten by a dog leading to the script being lost forever. Certain variations to the legend also claim that the Assamese script was given on stone for which it endured as against the Naga script on animal hide which perished.

    A Flag, a Story and a Nation

    One of the first women to ever weave the Naga national flag, Lathon Kemp, passed away on the 5th of January, 2021. The news of her death brings to mind the flag and the very important place it holds in the life of the Nagas. Although, it was hoisted for the first time on the 22nd of March in 1956 in the Parashen-Rengma region, the Nagas believe the flag to have a divine origin and not designed by any mortal. A red, green and yellow rainbow is spread out against a field of blue which represents the sky.

    The Introduction of African Rice in Suriname

    Genetic research into rice from the inlands of Suriname draws attention to the history of West Africans who were deported as slaves to this former Dutch colony. While there are many grains of Asian rice, Surinamese black rice, ‘Blaka aleisi’, turned out to be almost identical to rice farmed by Mande-speaking farmers in West Ivory Coast according to research by Tinde van Andel. This rice was rarely eaten but instead was sacrificed to ancestors and used in spiritual herbal baths.

    Surinamese Children's Songs Are a Reminder of Slavery

    Faya Siton, meaning hot stone, is an old song from Suriname that is sung during a specific children’s game. Children sit in a circle and pass on a stone – in reality often a pit – and rub it on the ground so that it turns hot. While cheerful the song is about Master Jan from Holland who brands people and kills children. The lyrics go “Faya siton, no bron miso, no bron miso. Agen masra Jantji e kir sma pikin”, which means “Hot stone, do not burn me so, do not burn me so. Master Jan has killed someone’s child again.”

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