Chin people do not have a first, middle or last name as it is common in many ethnic groups. However, a name can reflect achievement of grandparents or future wishes of a grandfather for a child.
A gentle handshake is a usual greeting in Chin culture. Eye contact is sometimes regarded as the act of challenge rather than a sign of politeness or attentiveness. Therefore, most Chin will not look a speaker directly at eyes as they have a conversation.
Chin culture is rich in dances, music and fold tales. Until the introduction of writing system, Chin traditions were preserved and kept by storytelling to transmit to next generations.
Fabric weaving is a traditional craft of Chin people that the production is highly limited, and the products are much sought frequently by fabric collectors. Normally a woman tries her best until a cloth is accomplished, working stably all daylight hours in shade of a bamboo dwelling. Using traditional "yakan" looms – a backstrap method of weaving, is similar to that utilized by the Naga. Only natural dyes are used by taking extracts from local trees such as the Burmese lacquer tree, wild almonds, mahogany and indigo. Chin fabric is made manually with high standard. Cotton threads are spin by hand and motifs are diamond shape.
Zu is a traditional alcohol in Chin hill, which is regarded as a status symbol. Zu is home-made and supplied at villages feasts and celebrations. Only the males withy the highest status is enabled to take the first drink at a gathering.
Likewise, tobacco is considered as a status symbol, a sign of wealth. The traditional meaning of “smoking” is via the use of a nicotine juice called "thibur". It is used mainly by elders, who keep this juice in their mouths, finally spit it out. "Thibur" is made by the way that nicotine is smoked in a water pipe which produces "thibur" drippings.
In these days, Christianity is the major religion of the Chin. They live in high elevations in the Chin Hills.
Chin women are usually identified by a complicated spider web covering their faces, called as “facial tattoos”. Usually, a women tattoos when she was just about 9 - 12 years old. The process lasted about 1 day to be accomplished and was extremely painful, particularly tender eyelid area. Tattooing face is an archaic custom so as to prevent invaders from stealing away the local women. Other stories said that it could help young Chin girls avoid being attacked by wild animals, or keep prettiest girls away from being caught into harem by ancient kings.
Each Chin state's region has a different tattoo pattern. Thus, it is possible to realize where a woman comes from by designs on her face.
Chin villages are near the Myanmar's border areas with India and Bangladesh. Several Chin villages can be reached including Panort, Kyar Aie Nu, Man Long and Che-ahaung.
Trekking and being homestay are great ways to discover the culture of a race. Trekking to Chin villages, travelers can learn about Chin daily life and understand more about facial tattoo. The villagers make a living by fishing (by bamboo nets), farming and handy fabric weaving.
In Chin village, you can watch their traditional dances like threatening monkeys dance (to protect crops), dance in funeral, ritual offering dance, frightening evil dance, etc; or their traditional instrument performances like playing bamboo flute by nose.
Some special constructions of Chin tribes like wooden poles, stone tomb, shaman’s house and ancient-styled huts will reflect parts of their culture.
Trekking trails will lead travelers to deep forests, fields or suspension bridges with spectacular views.
Suggested Myanmar tours to meet Chin people and discover the fantastic culture of this country.