Karen Villager’s life: 2 km. from Sukantara Resort
Only two kilometers from Sukantara Cascade Resort in Pang-E-Ka village, there is a Karen hill tribe. Most of Sukantara’s staves are from this Karen village. Karen or called Kariang or Yang in Thai language is the largest hill tribes in Thailand. They call themselves “Pa-ka-ka-yor”. There are 4 sub groups of Karen in Thailand. This group is “Kao Karen” or “Sgaw Karen”. “Kao” means white in Thai language. Each groups of Karen has their own languages. For this group, “Ta-Bru” means hello and good-bye. “Au-me” means eating meal.
For almost 90 years, the village has grown up from 20 families to 125 families which are considered to be medium in size. The villagers normally live in a bamboo hut or wood house. They mostly grow crops such as corn, bean, rice, etc. for their living. Moreover, wild products from the forest such as bamboo roots, fruits, wild vegetables and honey are also important for them. Karen originally believes in ancestor spirit and spirit of nature.
However, over 30% of the Karen people are Christian according to visiting of western missionaries. This group is also Christian. They go to church every Sunday like other Christian do and wear their own traditional gown to the church.
Karen dresses are made to be loose to be comfortable to wear and work. The dress for a woman of the tribe is very distinctive.
Unmarried girls wear white V-necked sack called “Che-wa”. Married women wear black gown decorated with grain beads only on the top portion called “Che-Zu” and loin cloth as blouses. Men wear hip-length red gown with colorful stripes called “Che-gnor” with loose black cotton trousers. Unlike other tribes, the Karen does not like large pieces of silver ornaments.
This group of Karen are Christian, they will usually dress their beautiful hill tribe gowns to church on every Sunday (10:30-11:30am). If you stay over Sunday at Sukantara Resort, you may take trekking to Tad-mok National waterfalls in the early morning and stop by the village to join the church with them. They are definitely welcome to all visitors from Sukantara Resort cause some of their family members or relatives work with Sukantara.