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The Palaungs, who mainly live in the Kalaw area in Shan State, belong to the Mon-Khmer stock. It takes about two to four hours through the hills to the village of the Palaung tribe. At first a steep track leads down into a narrow valley where the Palaung cultivate cheroot, tea, damsons and mangoes on the hillsides. The track across the valley floor and then climbs very steeply again to the Palaung village of Pinnabin, which sits on top of a hill.

Palaung costumes feature bright and saturated color, with married women wearing cane rings around their waists to indicate marital status. Most Palaungs in the village prefer their traditional way of life, and live in the long houses unique to their tribe. Six Palaung families live together without separation in this 30-metre-or-so long house, in which all daily activities take place - weaving, cooking and child caring. Tiny chambers are set up for some degree of privacy. The village has an interesting long houses for eight families. Observe tribal village life and how the Palaung people drying cheroot in a specially designe doven. The Palaung originate from Mon-Khmer stock. They mainly live in the mountains and are mostly Buddhist.

The Pa-O also known as Taungthu and Black Karen form an ethnic group in Myanmar, comprising approximately 600,000. The Pa-O form the second largest ethnic group in Shan State, and are classified as part of the "Shan National Race" by the government, although they are believed to be of Tibeto-Burman stock, and are ethnolinguistically related to the Karen. They populate Shan State, Kayin State, and Kayah State.

The Pa-O settled in the Thaton region of present-day Myanmar about 1000 B.C. Historically, the Pa-O wore colorful clothing, until King Anawratha defeated the Mon King Makuta, who had established his reign in Thaton. The Pa-O were enslaved, and forced to wear indigo-dyed clothing, to signify their status. However, there are regional variations of clothing among the Pa-O. Many have adopted Bamar clothing, while men may wear Shan baung-mi (long baggy pants). The majority of Pa-O are Buddhists, but a written language was created by Christian missionaries. The Pa-O predominantly engage in agriculture, cultivating leaves of the thanapet tree (Cordia dichotoma) and mustard leaves. The Pa-O have largely assimilated into Bamar society, adopting many Bamar traditions and wearing Bamar clothing.

More than 560,000 Taungyo people live in central Myanmar. At the time of the most recent census held in Myanmar (then called Burma) in 1931, the Taungyo numbered just 22,296.1 They are ‘primarily located in mountainous valleys of southwest Shan State and southeast Mandalay Division. They border the vast dry zone to the west and the mountains and forests of the Shan State to the east. The Taungyo share their homeland with several other groups indigenous to the area, including the Pa-O, Palaung, Shan and Danau. Most of the area they inhabit has been deforested for agricultural use. The centre of the Taungyo homeland could be said to be the town of Pindaya in Shan State.

Pindaya contains a population of 25,000 people, the majority of whom are Taungyo, while most of the villages surrounding the town are also full of Taungyo people. It is common for two to three generations of the same family to live together under one roof. In many respects the Taungyo do not have a strong sense of self-identity as many other peoples in Myanmar do. They see themselves as linked to the Burmese people, with their main differences being cultural.

Linguistically, the Taungyo language is a variety of Burmese, but the people differ ethnically and culturally. When the Taungyo speak Burmese, they do so with a very strong accent. One source says that they have been ‘infl uenced by the culture and speech of the Shans and Pa-Os among whom they live. . . . They may have been refugees from Tavoy in Mon State, south-east Burma, or have been brought as slaves to Shan State, where they soon intermarried with locals. . . . Taungyo men wear a costume similar to the Shans, but the women are easily distinguishable by their heavy silver earrings and bracelets.

They also wear heavy brass coils on their legs. If they are married, the rings are worn just under the knee; if they are single, they wear silver rings around the ankles. Almost all Taungyo people believe in Theravada Buddhism. In rural areas they also practise nat (spirit) worship. Often the practitioners of this form of animism walk deep into the forests, where they conduct rituals to call on certain protective spirits. Some spirits are considered benevolent, while others are malevolent. Most of the festivals that the Taungyo celebrate coincide with the Buddhist calendar in Myanmar.

The Taungyo do have one festival in March each year that is unique to their group. During this time the people are expected to make donations to the local monks and monastery. Less than one per cent of Taungyo people believe in Jesus Christ. Because of their linguistic relationship with Burmese, missionary organizations have not found it worth while to produce Taungyo-specific Scripture translations or media. One researcher has stated, ‘Of the unreached groups of Myanmar, the Taungyo are one of the most readily accessible. Foreigners are legally permitted to travel to Pindaya, the city of highest Taungyo concentration, and home to a budding trekking industry.