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Manau dance (Kachin)

The manau dance is a traditional ceremony of the Kachin (or Jingpo) people of northern Myanmar (Burma), Yunnan, China and Arunchal Pradesh, India. The manau is one of the cultural traditions that binds the six Kachin tribes together as one nation.
     Although the majority of Kachin people are Christian, the manau has its roots in animistic religion. The manau ground where the ceremony takes place is the cultural center of Kachin communities.
     Manaus can be held throughout the year, but the biggest manau dance, the sut manau, is held in January. Many Kachin towns hold manau dances, with the largest celebrations taking place in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State in Myanmar, in Laiza, the capital of the Kachin Independence Organization, and in Ruili, a center of Kachin culture in Yunnan, China.
     During the manau, a senior official leads a procession of dancers in circles around the sacred manau poles, which are decorated with diamond symbols and curved lines. Loud drums provide a beat for the dancers to follow. The manau leader wears a traditional headdress decorated with hornbill feathers.
     Male dancers hold a traditional Kachin sword called a N'htu during the dance.

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