‘Dancing in the manau is important because it shows the unity of the Kachin community. No matter who you are, no matter where you come from you can participate in the manau and you can enjoy the dance.’ – Seng Pan, 26

For Kachin people in north-eastern Burma the annual manau festival, held on Kachin State Day, is an opportunity to celebrate their shared history and culture in difficult political times.

During the festival thousands of Kachin people come together to dance. Through their festival dress Kachin people display their diversity and through the dance, their unity.

Manau people in colourful festival clothing

Young people in Kachin State and living in the UK told us about the importance of the manau festival to themselves and their community.


Brighton Museum has one of the largest collections of Kachin objects and records in the world and has been working with the Kachin community for over a decade. The gallery includes contemporary outfits commissioned from weavers and designers in Burma.

Burma is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world with at least 135 different ethnic groups and over 100 languages. It was ruled by a military dictatorship until 2011.

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