Kalay-Kabaw Chins to Celebrate Harvest Festival
25 October 2012: Preparation is in full swing as Chins living in the Kalay-Kabaw valley of Sagaing Division, Burma are set to celebrate the Chin harvest festival in the village of Cia-In on 29-30 October 2012.
The festival, known in Hakha dialect as Tho, which marks the end of the harvest season in Chin culture, is expected to attract participants from different regions including members of the Chin National Front (CNF), MPs and community leaders as well as government officials.
One of the event organizers, Pa Bawi, told Chinland Guardian that Dr. Sui Khar, leader of the CNF’s ceasefire negotiation team, and Dr. Salai Lian Hmung Sakhong, Chairman of the Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC), are to give a public address on the first day of celebrations.
“We all get excited about the celebration as it will be the very first Tho festival organized on a grand scale in Cia-In. And we get even more excited as many Chin leaders, politicians and scholars will be joining us,” added the Chin organizer from the Laimi Funtomnak Bu (LFB), a community-based organization established under the leadership of Pu Enoch in Kalaymyo.
On the second day of celebrations, special speeches will be presented by Chin MPs and leaders from Kalay University, government department, political parties, and organizations including the Chin Association for Christian Communication) and the Chin National Party.
Pu H.C. Ral Hnin, CNF member in charge of Thantlang Liaison Office, is also invited to attend the Tho festival programmed with a variety of activities including competitions of Chin cultural dances, songs, wrestling, and football matches from several villages in Kalay Township.
It is not yet confirmed if Pu No Than Kap, aka John Khaw Kim Thang, Chin Affairs Minister of Sagaing Region and Chairman of the Chin Progressive Party (CPP), will be able to participate in the Chin traditional celebrations, according to the organizers.
There are between 200,000 and 300,000 Chins living in Sagaing region scattering all over 28 out of 37 townships in the Burman-dominated parts of Burma, according to an interview with Pu No Than Kap by the Chinland Guardian last year.
Chin communities in Chin State and other parts of Burma as well as abroad have organized a series of the Chin harvest festival, which falls in the month of October, a celebration held in Chin tradition when farmers and their families return to the village after spending months on their fields for cultivation.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang