Arakan, The Land of Father
Arakan, The Land of Father
Arakan's earliest traces of human activity date back Neolithic Age (12,500-9500 BC or 12,000-9500 BC) has evidently proved as Neolithic artifacts that crudely made axe heads (locally recognize as thunder axe), chisels and polishing tools. The first inhabitants of the Arakan were Neolithic people known as Raksa (ogre)>Rakkha>Rakhine. The term of Rakhine/Arakanese probably comes from Sanskrit and Pali name Raksa and Rakkha and the land of Arakan which means 'Rakkhapura' in Pali and in Sanskrit 'Raksapura'. According to the latest DNA tests of some Arakanese, the orign and migrations of their ancestors are Haplogroup L 180,000 years ago> Haplogroup L3 65,000 years ago> Haplogroup N 59,000 years ago> Haplogroup R 57,000 years ago from Africa. Also origin of Arakanes ancestors are Haplogroup A 275,000 years ago > Haplogroup F-M89 76.000 years ago > Haplogroup H-l901 54,000 years ago.
Ptolemy, Alexandrian georapher, knew that Arakan as Argyre, the land of silver in the first century AD and the seven century Chinese Buddhist pilgrims knew it and its area with east Bengal as A-li-ki-lo or Harikela.
Arakan/Arakanese also known as Rakhine Pray/ Rakhine is called Rakhan by Tibetan historians, Rachanni by Sri Lankan, and Rachani and Aracan/Arakan by Portuguese. Thai people have known Rakhine as Yakkine and Rakhine also known as Marama in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh and Mog in Tripura, India. Rakhine who were titled this name in honor of preservation on their national heritage and ethics or morality (Amyo and Sila).
Past dynasties included Danyawady, Vesali, Laemro and Mrauk-U. The golden days of Mrauk-U in 16th and 17th centuries were contemporary to the days of Tudor kings and the Moguls from India, the Ayudya kings of Thailand and Ava, Taungoo and Hanthawaddy kings of Burma. Arakan has an over 5000-years old language and rich culture.
The natives of Arakan trace their history as far back as 3325 B.C., and give a lineal succession of 227 native princes down to modern times. According to them, their empire had at one period far wider limits, and extended over Ava, part of China, and a portion of Bengal. This extension of their empire is not, however, corroborated by known facts in history. According to recorded history, a kingdom called Dhanyawadi arose in the Arakan region between the 34th century BC to 4th Century AD. The famous Mahamuni Buddha (located in Mandalay) was cast in Dhanyawady in around 554 B.C.
Map of Dhannyawadi
Ancient Dhannyawadi Lying, west of the ridge between the Kaladan and Le-mro rivers. Dhannyawadi could be reached by small boat from the Kaladan Via the its tributary, the Tharechaung. Its city walls were made of brick, and form an irregular circle with a perimeter of about 9.6 kilometres, enclosing an area of about 4.42 square kilometres. Beyond the walls, the remains of a wide moat, now silted over and covered by paddy fields, are still visible in places. The remains of brick fortifications can be seen along the hilly ridge which provided protection from the west. Within the city, a similar wall and moat enclose the palace site, which has an area of 0.26 square kilometres, and another wall surrounds the palace itself.
Map of Vesali
At times of insecurity, when the city was subject to raids from the hill tribes or attempted invasions from neighbouring powers, there would have been an assured food supply enabling the population to withstand a siege. The city would have controlled the valley and the lower ridges, supporting a mixed wet-rice and taungya (slash and burn) economy, with local chiefs paying allegiance to the king.
Map of Mrauk U
From aerial photographs we can discern Dhannyawadi's irrigation channels and storage tanks, centred at the palace site. Throughout the history of Arakan, and indeed the rest of early Southeast Asia, the king's power stemmed from his control of irrigation and water storage systems to conserve the monsoon rains and therefore to maintain the fertility and prosperity of the land. In ceremonies conducted by Indian Brahmins the king was given the magic power to regulate the celestial and terrestrial forces in order to control the coming of the rains which would ensure the continuing prosperity of the kingdom. The oldest artefact, stone image of Fat Monk inscribed "Saccakaparibajaka Jina" in Brahmi inscription comes to the date of first century A.D.
An ancient stone inscription in Nagari character was discovered by renowned Archaeologist Dr. Forchhammer. Known as Salagiri, this hill was where the great teacher came to Arakan some two thousand five hundred years ago. Somewhere from eastern part of this hill, a stone image in Dhamma-cakra-mudra now kept in Mrauk-U museum, was found earlier in 1923. This relief sculpture found on the Salagiri Hill represents Buddha preaching King Chandra Suriya belongs to 4th century A.D.; five more red sandstone slabs with the carving were found close by the south of this Salagiri Hill in 1986. They are the same type as the single slab found earlier in 1923. These carving slabs of Bhumispara-mudra, Kararuna-mudra, Dhammacakra-mudara, and Mmahaparinibbana-mudra represent the life of Buddha.
These sculptures provide earliest evident about the advent of Buddhism into Arakan; during the life time of the Buddha and these discoveries were therefore assumed as the figures of King Chandra Suriya of Dhannawadi, who dedicated the Great Maha Muni Image. These archaeological findings have been studied by eminent scholars and conclusion is that the Maha Muni was made during the king Sanda Suriya era.
The kingdom of Waithali (Rakhine: Wai-tha-li) was the successor to Dhanyawady from the 4th century AD.
The founder of Vesali city, King Dvan Chandra carved Vesali Paragri Buddha-image in 327 A.D and set a dedicatory inscription in Pali verse
"ye dhamma hetuppabuava / Tathagato aha / tesan ca yo niyodho / evamvadi Mahasamano."
That Buddha-image is carved out by a single block and the earliest image of Vesali.
The meaning of Ye Dhamma verse is as follow.
"Of these dhammas which arise from causes / The Tathagata has declared causes / Lord Buddha preached about the causes / And the effects gained by the causes / And that which is the ceasing of them, Nirawda Thitesa / This the great ascetic declares."
The verse, which is considered as the essence of Theravada spirit, bears testimony to the fact that Buddhism flourished to an utmost degree in Vesali. The relationship of Vesali with foreign countries especially Ceylon would be established for Buddhism.
The stone inscriptions are of Sanskrit, Pali, Rakhine, Pru and Arabic languages. Anandacandra Inscriptions date back to 729 A.D. originally from Vesali now preserved at Shitethaung indicates adequate evidence for the earliest foundation of Buddhism. Dr. E. H. Johnston's analysis reveals a list of kings which he considered reliable beginning from Candra dynasty. The western face inscription has 72 lines of text recorded in 51 verses describing the Anandacandra's ancestral rulers. Each face recorded the name and ruling period of each king who were believed to have ruled over the land before Anandacandra. Archaeology has shown that the establishment of so many stone pagodas and inscriptions which have been totally neglected for centuries in different part of Arakan speak of popular favoured by Buddhism.
Arakan reached the zenith of its power in the Bay of Bengal during the Waithali (Vesali), Lemro and Mrauk U periods, but the country steadily declined from the seventeenth century onwards. Chittagong, which was part of Arakan, was invaded and occupied by the Mughal Empire in 1666. Internal instability and dethroning of kings was very common. The Portuguese, during the era of their greatness in Asia, gained a temporary establishment in Arakan.
On the last day of 1784, the Arakan was finally cccupied by the Burmese. The famous Mahamuni Buddha image was taken as a war trophy by Crown Prince Thado Minsaw to Amarapura. (The image was relocated to Mandalay by King Mindon in 1853 when he relocated the capital to Mandalay). The Burmese, after conquering Arakan, came directly into contact with British interests in east India. Burmese seizures of Arakan's neighbouring states of Assam and Manipur and the assault on Shinmaphyu Isle, which was a British outpost in Bengal, were the instigating causes of the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824 to 26). Under the Treaty of Yandabo (1826), Burma ceded Arakan and Tenasserim to British India. Arakan was thus one of the first Burmese territories to be ceded to the British. The British made Akyab capital of Arakan, and retained the traditional divisions of the country into the districts of Akyab, Kyaukpyu and Sandoway (Ramree) with a district officer in charge of each.
With independence and the formation of the Union of Burma in 1948, the three districts became Arakan Division, on equal footing with the majority Burmese administrative divisions.
From the 1950s, there was a growing movement for restoration of Rakhine independence. In part to appease this sentiment, in 1974, the Burmese government of Ne Win constituted Rakhine State from Arakan Division giving at least nominal acknowledgment of the majority Rakhine ethnic group, the Arakanese nationalities.
Dhannyawadi - BC. 3325 - AD. 326
The First Dhannyawadi
BC. 3325 - 1483 King Marayu
The Second Dhannyawadi
BC. 1483 - 580 King Kanrazagree
The Third Dhannyawadi
BC. 580 - AD. 326 King Chandra Suriya
Gautama Buddha, Himself, visited Dhannyawadi and the Great Image of Mahamuni was casted, and Buddhism began professed in Arakan. Currency system by coinage is said introduced in Arakan economy.
Vesali - Lemro - AD. 327 - 1430
Vesali Kyauk Hlayga
AD. 327 - 794 King Dvan Chandra
AD. 794- 818 Prince Nga Tong Mong (Saw Shwe Lu)
AD. 818 -1430 King Nga Tone Mun
This period was the highest civilization in the Bay and highly prosperous with busy international trade with the west. Pyinsa, Purain, Taung Ngu and Narinsara, Laungkrat cities were flourished and gold and silver coinage was used in trade relation in Arakan in this period.
Golden Mrauk-U - 1430 - 1784
First Golden Mrauk-U
1430 - 1530 King Mun Saw Mwan
Second Golden Mrauk-U
1530 - 1638 Solidified by King Mun Bun (Mun Ba Gri)
Arakan reached at the zenith of the national unity and of the time of most powerful in the Bay in this period.
Third Golden Mrauk-U Period
1638 - 1784 King Mahathamada Raza
In the modern, Arakan is being still one of colonial states of Burma ( Myanmar )and it is absolutely ruled by Burmese successors or Burmese successive government without rule of law. Their system or policy maintains to oppress to the people of Arakn with the Burmese extra-chauvinism. Due to Burmese subjection, the people of Arakan now face serious problems: social discrimination, economic exploitation, and political suppression.
First, the social discrimination is one of the violations of the Burmese government which has racially ruled Arakan. The authorities always treat the Arakanese people as second class citizens. There are no equal opportunities; all high-level administrators and officers are Burmese, and there is no chance of getting jobs for the indigenous people of Arakan. When the Burmese government built many factories and heavy industries in Burma proper, Arakan was still ignored by authorities. This caused an increase in unemployment and poverty in Arakan. According to UNDP’s Burma report, “Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey in Myanmar (2009-2010): Poverty Profile,” Arakan (Rakhine State) is one of the second poorest states of Burma after Chin State. Looking for better job, many Arakanese—migrant labors-- went to Thailand, Malaysia, and other countries (“Burmese Migrants Struggle in Malaysia”). The people of Arakan have no opportunity to get jobs for their families to survive due to Burmese government’s discrimination policy. Second, human rights violations are widely spread in Arakan. Myanmar authorities, especially the Myanmar Army, systematically violate the local people. They have confiscated many lands from the native people of Arakan without compensation. For the Shwe Gas Field Project and the Arakan-China Pipeline Project, the authorities occupied many farmyards in Kyauk Pru Township. The farmers have not received any compensation. At the same time, authorities block fishing in the gas project area. Both farmers and fishermen have faced hardship. During the construction of the ‘Shwe Gas Project,’ the Burmese Army used forced labor. The Burmese Army committed harassments and rape of Arakanese teens, and they forced marriages of Arakanese people. Similarly, Burmese authorities have violated both Arakanese and Chin through the ‘Kalandan multimodal transport,’ which helps Burma through India, which is concerned about China’s growing influence. And India wants to gain access to the natural gas reserves off the Arakan coast (Johnson, Kazmin, and Mcgregor). Arakanese people have met every type of violation of human rights by Burmese authorities. Also, educational opportunities in Arakan are unacceptable because of the Myanmar Military Government’s discriminations policy. Eighty percent of people who live in rural areas do not pass the primary level. They totally depend on Monastic Schools. Arakan’s educational standard is shown in the lower 75%, according to the UNDP’s report in June, 2011 (UNDP 89).
In addition, there is no medical insurance. Myanmar Medicare Systems takes free care of children under five. The Myanmar People’s Hospital provides free surgery for emergency patients and free medication to maternal patients, according to Dr. Daw Thein Thein Htay, Deputy Minister for Heath of Burma (“Measures Being Taken for People to Enjoy Medicare System”). There are many shortages in facilities. Patients depend on foreign made medicines. Prices are very expensive. The medicine is illegally brought to the country from Bangladesh, India, China, and Thailand. In the People’s Hospital, the patients who are poor and who come from rural areas are always discriminated by doctors and nurses. The rights of patients are nothing in Burma (“Myanmar Patient Pay the Price”).
Arakan is one of the richest archaeological sites in Myanmar. Despite this, the Myanmar Military Government declared the old cultural heritage zones of Dhanywadi, Vesali, and Mrauk U to be turned into rail-road crossings, which has systematically destroyed historical sites, including city walls and pagodas. These three sites are officially recognized as “Protected and Preserved Zone (PZ)” (Han 40, 41, 42). These are totally violated by Burmese government.
The second major problem of the Burmese Military Government is that it set up a policy that economically exploits Arakan. Arakan is abundant in natural resources: natural gas, oil, marble, and timber. The government sold Arakan’s natural gas to China: Burmese workers are building what is being called "one of the most lucrative foreign-funded development projects in the country's history." The twin oil pipelines will stretch from Burma's west coast to its northeast border and into China. The pipelines are expected to earn Burma about $1 billion per year, however, not everyone is a supporter. (“Foreign Investors Back Burma Pipeline)
According to “Pipeline Project Seal Chinese Links with Burma,” the local people are worried because
this gas belongs to all people of the region. It should not be taken without benefitting the people. The
Burmese army will get the money, and they will use it to purchase weapons to kill people (Jenkins).
This project—gas pipeline and crude oil pipeline led by China National Petroleum Corporation with other
companies from Burma, South Korea and India-- has a 30 year period of MoU with China, and Burma
signed to sell 6.5 trillion cubic feet (cf) of gas from the Shwe gas fields of the Arakan coast. The Burma
government will earn at least $29 billion before transferring to Burma (“No Blood for Gas 2”). However,
the people of Arakan have no benefit in this project. When the Burma regime sold the gas, the people of
Arakan faced a shortage of electricity.
On the other hand, the Burmese Military Government has started a multi-million dollar project with the assistance of India since 2010. This multimodal transport project has constructed a road and inland waterway from Sittwey (Akyab) port in Arakanto Mizoram and Calcutta in India. This project will supply gas from Arakan to north-eastern India. The Kalandan Movement, an alliance of Arakan River Network (ARN), the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) in Burma, and the Zo Indigenous Forum (ZIF) and several other civil society groups express their deepest concern about the lack of benefits to the local people of Arakan and Chin (“Kaladan Project should benefit India, Myanmar: Pressure Groups.”). Arakan is totally dependent on agriculture, fishing, and forestry which are the major Arakanese industries. Rice is the main crop in Arakan State, and rice cultivation takes up the 85% of total agricultural land. There are estimated 70% farmers, 20% fisherman, 5% traders, and 5% government servants. Fresh-fish, shrimp, lobster, and dried-fish (salt-fish) are mainly exported out of state. Coconut and toddy palm plantations are also important businesses. And bamboo, fuel wood, and timber productions are also the main earning for local businesses. Crude oil is traditionally produced with primitive methods. However, all major business are still controlled by the Burmese Military Government and their cronies,and they have taken all business opportunities, including Arakan’s trade (Min 8, 9).
Finally, the most important problem is political in Arakan, which has still lost its independence under the Burmese government suppression policy, according to Myanmar Constitution Law 2008. Arakan is a country which is now part of Burma, but then was an independent kingdom (Collis 15). It has a long history and its chronicle era is calculated from 3325 BC until to 1784 AD when the Burmese King, Bodaw Maung Wying, brutally invaded Arakan with an unjust or a genocidal war. After 40 years of inhuman Burmese rule in Arakan, colonists from England via India and Japan came to Arakan through Thailand with the intent of occupying it with different policies. The British ruled Arakan in 1824 during the colonial period in 1942; Arakan was controlled by Japanese fascists. In 1948, when the Burmese said that Burma was free from Great Britain, Arakan became one of the colony states of Burma.
Before Burma’s independence, the Arakanese revolution, led by Ven. U Sein Da, Ven. U Pinnya Thiha and Captain Kra Hla Aung, fought against the British and Japanese occupations. Their purpose was for Rakhines to demand separate independence for their ancient sate; however, their objective was unsuccessful after the attainment by the Burmese independence in 1948 (“Rakhines.” Ethnic Groups of South Asia and Pacific”). In 1974, Arakan became its own state but there is no power to right of self-determination, according to Myanmar Constitution Law (2008). According to “Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (2008),” wich is written by the Burmese Military Government, Arakan is coming under military rule (The Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Dept. of Ministry of Information 3, 19, 20,104, 105, 106, 107). The people of Arakan have long suffered under Burmese military rulers who do not respect the principles of democracy, principles of equal rights, and self-determination of the people of Arakan. Their rules of principle are the threatening, arresting, torturing, and killing to rule with fascism.
In addition, for political intention, the corrupt Burmese Military Government has created a huge problem between the native people of Arakan and illegal Chittagongnian Bengali Muslim. They call themselves “Rohingya,” which is the old label of Arakan in colloquial Chittagong dialect (Qanungo 232). This is taken from the old name of Arakan (Rakhine) “Rohang.” The term that is used by them is definitely committed an “identity thief.” The Burmese authorities unofficially allowed them with bribery to settle north-west Arakan. However, authorities block them from passing Burma proper through the Arakan range. In fact, it is visible and clarifies that the Burmese government created the conflict between the indigenous people of Arakan and Bengali Muslims when the Arakanese people demanded the share of gas selling profit to benefit of local people in 2012 (Parameswaran). This puzzle is one of the deepest concerns of Arakan.
So far, the people of Arakan have faced too many concerns: fearful, poor, uneducated and undeveloped under the rule of the Burmese Military Government. As the trouble-maker, the government and authorities always suppress the people of Arakan socially, economically, and politically. Many types of problems in Arakan are begotten by them. Constantly, the people of Arakan are hurt and face nightmares because of the suppression of the infamous Burmese military rulers.
Notorious Burmese Army
Arakan State Primary School Small-scale transportation by water
Burmese authorities have systematically neglected to fulfil the basic infrastructure as roads, schools, power plants, transportation and communication systems for Arakan since 1948.
Arakan Bridge in Maung Taw
Mrauk U Jetty, Arakan Fishing Boats, Arakan
Geograpy and Territories
Arakanese is located between south Asia and south-east Asia bordering Bangladesh on the north-west, India on the north, Burma on the east and the Bay of Bengal on the west and south.
Arakan geographic surfaces are formed with mountains, hills, rockies, plains islands and rivers. Arakan Roma (Arakan Range) is well known and separates from central Ayeyarwady plains of Burma. Son Toung(6,500ft) is one of the highest mountains(Mayu Toung, Buthi Toung, Watha Thoe Toung, Bae Nga Ra Toung) of Arakan. The most rivers of Arakan are flowing from north to south and some is running in a stream from east to west, The rivers Naaf, Saing Ton, Mayu, Kalantan, Lemore are all in the north and streaming from north to south. Rivers of Ann , Toung kook, Tan Hlawe, Gwa are in the south and all are flowing down from east to west. The plain region as valleys of Kalantan and Lemro are vast and fertilize.
The area of Arakan was about 21,694 sq. ml. till the British period. But, Burmese ruler, without the Arakanese people's consent, split up a north western Arakan Hill Tracts area bordering India and a southern most part of Arakan (from Kyauk Chaung River to Cape Negaris) from the Arakan mainland. Due to these partitions, the present day total area of Arakan was reduced to 18, 500 sq. ml and it comprises less than half of historic Arakan.
Indigenous People of Arakan
Indigenous people of Arakan are Mro, Khami, Thauk, Dinenuk, Maramagri, Kaman and Arakanese (Rakhine). These people are officially recognized as native of Arakan according to Arakanese History. Small ethnic groups are as Linke, Anoo, Shandoo and Khaungso in addition to Myanmars and Chins. Total population of Arakan is estimated at 3.83 million. Some illegal Bengali also known as Kular has stayed in Arakan without document. This group is neither ethnic nationalities nor indigenous race of Arakan. Bangladesh is their mother land. They make false story of Arakanese history and say themselves as so-called Rohingyas are linking the terrorist movement connection with Taliban, Al Qaeda and Harakat UI-Jihad-i-Islami Bangladesh (HUJI-B) and ARSA based in Jihad war.
Kyauk Pru Economy Zone and Port, No Benifit for Arakan
Culture & Society
The Arakanese are predominantly Theravadan Buddhists. They claim to be one of the first groups to become followers of the Buddha in Southeast Asia. The Arakanese culture is based on Theravada Buddhism and has more Indo-Aryans culture influence, likely due to its geographical isolation from the Burmese mainland divided by the Arakan Roma and closer proximity to South Asia. Traces of Indian influence remain in many aspects of Arakanese culture, including its literature, music, and cuisine.
Traditional Arakanese (Rakhine) Water Festival - Rakhine Thungran
Traditional Rakhine Thungran is celebrated on 13-17 April every year, it''s also known as the Water Festival. Traditionally there is a festival for each of the twelve months. Thungran is on Tangu, the first lunar month of Rakhine calendar. Thungran means passing from one year to another.
The New Year, Thungran Celebration, symbolizes the feast of washing away the old year clean. Traditional Rakhine Thungran is held in three stages which are: incense - grinding, offering of water to Buddha images and holding the water festival. There are four days of holiday.
All marketing and shopping are closed. Before the arrival of Thungran, everyone''s household must be cleaned. On 12th April, the eve of Thungran, young women prepare the scented water at night. To make the scented water, a piece of sandal-wood is rubbed with a little water added on the surface of a flat, circular stone plate surrounded by a sunken ring to collect the mixture.
Young men come and join them accompanied by music and dance, and then they make beautiful bamboo trees with hanging things to offer to the monasteries. They are called the "Padetharpon".On 13th April, the opening day of Thungran, young men-women, children and parents go to monasteries in lorries bringing scented water and "Padetharpon" (bamboo trees).
When they arrive at the monastery compound the girls carry the water and the boys wash the Buddha images and statues, then offer scented water to the Buddha images. They go around from one monastery to another offering one "Padetharpon" to each monastery. Before bathing the Buddha no one is allowed to play with water.
When they return home from visiting the monasteries, anyone can throw water at the lorries carrying people. The Water Festival starts the next day. In every suburb they make a beautiful pandal with wooden posts surrounded by toddy palm leaves hanging with green bunches of leaves and colourful flowers. In the middle of the pandal there is a wooden rowboat filled with water. In front of the boat there are benches in a single row which provide seats for the girls. A fence is placed three feet above the ground. It serves as the divider between males outside the pandal and females inside the pandal. Rakhine girls who are pandal members run the pandal. There are usually twenty to forty young girls at a pandal. The girls sit on the benches facing the boat, they wear the same colour and designed uniform. They all look alike from the rear. It is hard to tell the girls apart. The pandals open from 11.00am to 3.00pm.
The boys go around the city one pandal after another. The boy can choose the girl he likes as his mate and chat with her teasingly but politely. The boys come on foot and in the bullock carts with music instruments and utensil boards. Every group has to wait for its turn while the other group is enjoying the water festival in the pandal. While they are waiting for their turn, there is singing and dancing in the fore ground.
When the whistle blows, it means that the time is up. The next group takes the place opposite the girls of their choice. The boy invites the girl to join him for the water festival, he greets her with a cupful of water gently thrown her back.. The girl gets up and throws a bowl of water at him. He calls her "Maree", sister-in-law, before he politely asks for some water. The girl fills his bucket with water. He takes a cup of water from his bucket and throws it at her. She throws him a bowl of water from the boat. They play face-to-face, faster and faster If some-one''s cup drops down or he/she wipes his/her face, that will be a looser, as must pay a fine. A group is allowed to enjoy themselves for about 15 minutes. There are whole pandals filled with water sparks. After the pandals close the members of the pandals go around the city in the lorries. The Water Festival Celebration goes for three days in the cities but in the countryside it''s celebrated until the end of the month.
During the Thungran days, every house cooks some traditional food and sends it to monasteries. Also they send food to relatives and neighbors then, everywhere is filled of music until midnight.
On New Year Day, the cultural association group goes around, suburb to suburb, and gives respect to the oldest people by prayer, singing, dancing and presents.
It is the most joyful celebration of the year.
Arakanese Traditional Sports
There were various traditional sports as wide range of activity in Arakan like art of self-defence, kyun ( Arakanese style of wrestling and self-defense),elephat and horse race, bow race, sword with sword and spear with spear race, carriage pulling and long boat race. The purpose of all race were produced skilled warriors of the Kingdom for the Royal Army of Arakan. However, Both major sports of Kyun wrestling and long boat race have remained and popularized among the people of Arakan. Carriage pulling is still alive and some Townships are playing it traditionally during the full moon of Tapoe Htwe month. The several kinds of sport were lost throughout under the colonial rule.
Arakanese Wrestling - Kyun
Arakanese people have a long tradition of holding wrestling competitions during the annual festivals in their towns and villages. It is one of the Arakanese traditional sports which mainly based on physical ability to uplift the happiness and physical prowess. It's a kind of martial art. The skill of wrestling and making one's rival fall on to the ground while avoiding hid attack is called "Kyun".
Kyun - It derives from Kyar-Yun. Kyar" means "tiger" and "yun" means "quick". Therefore, the complete meaning of "Kyun" is the quick tiger. The Arakanese wrestler can be called as a quick tiger because of his ability in wrestling movements and techniques.
"Kyun" the Arakanese wrestling is very different from other wrestling and it has its own rules and disciplines not to get hurt each other. Wrestler first dances jumping and making special styles in the playground. The two wrestlers have to play three rounds. They are defined as an attacker and one defender. After finishing three rounds, the first attacker becomes the defender and also the first defender becomes the attacker. The attacker who can make the back of the defender falls up to the ground wins the playing round. The first prizewinner will be awarded the gold gong, one tickle weight and for the second prizewinner, the silver gong is awarded. The "Kyun" wrestling is usually performed at the pagoda festivals.
Long Boat Race
Long Boat Race also known as Prying Loung Pwe is one of the famous and favorite sports of Arakan. it has made an enjoment, the valuable team-work lessons and friendly contest. The races are Long Boats(72 feets) and Short Boats(48 feets) powered by 29 rowers for Long Boat and 19 rowers for Short Boat. There are many competition Teams as groups (Long Boats and Short Boats) from various Villages were participating during the events. The Boats are made of Long Trees with being to be straight and without disease and flaw.
The Long Boat racing event has annually held in the Aung Tat tributary stream during the three days of Full Moon of Kasune (May) in Shittaung Temple Festival. The first winner team and second winner team are awarded Championship Flags as a prize in a competition by Decision Committee Board.
Carriage Pulling Event - Rahta-Swe-Pwe
We call carriage pulling event as "Rahta-swe-pwe" in Arakanese version, meaning that pulling a kind of tug-of-war. In these sports, two teams including at least 20 persons each side has to complete three rounds. In this event, "Rahta" is made of four big wheels and the wooden frame. On the frame, there are some decorations and some bamboo leaves. Originally, the winner group can get the chance to burn that bamboo leaves. Now a day, the winner groups are awarded the gold medal as the first prize.