Karen Beehive Smoking Competition returns after 5-year hiatus

The traditional Karen beehive smoking competition will be held again in Yangon region after five years’ break, said Mann Than Win Oo, chairman of Karen Literature and Culture Association.

This competition will be held as part of Karen New Year Festival on 11 January in Union ethnic village, Thaketa township, Yangon region, and the first, second, third and special prize winners will receive K 200,000, K 150,000, K 100,000 and K 50,000 respectively.

“Many competitions have been held in Karen state. It is not very common here. A competition has been held in five tiered pagoda (Sawbwagyikone). Later, no more competition was held there. This will be the first time that such a competition is resumed. I think it has been almost five years since the last competition,” he said.

The tradition letwei and cultural dances will be held together with beehive smoking competition at the Karen New Year festival in Union ethnic village.

“In the competition, two persons carry the bamboos. One has to climb on the bamboos and circle around the two persons. He can’t touch the ground. If he does, he loses. The winner is the one who can circle the greatest times in five minutes. According to an old Karen tradition, if a person marks a knife cut on a tree in the jungle to smoke out the beehive, other people will not gather honey from that tree. This is a traditional rule. Trees with beehives are usually tall, and smoking out them requires stamina, teamwork, unity and perseverance. As the bamboos are being tossed up and down, the competitor who is circling must also be in balance,” he explained.

Htet Oo Maung/ZN

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