The following article is written by a Kayan student from Huay Pu Keng:

Karenni Festival

by Khon Pay Yu

Kay Htoe Boe is one of the Karenni Festival. Kay Htoe Boe Festival appear since Before Christ (BC).  It was created by Creator. The Creator dances around the Kay Htoe Boe. Kay Htoe Boe is called from Karenni. After created the world, Eugenia tree is the first grown on the world. Kay Htoe Boe (pole) usually make a Eugenia tree.

Kay Htoe Boe is an essential believe, because, it make equal season and it could make peace on the world. Kay Htoe Boe doesn’t like to look down it. It also a living thing. Kay Htoe Boe (pole) has four level. The first level is the star. The second level is the sun. The third level is the moon. And the fourth level is the ladder. The ladder is made with a long white cotton cloth. All level is on the Kay Htoe Boe. The God house is beside the Kay Htoe Boe.

We celebrate Kay Htoe Boe Festival once a year in April, summer.  After we went to cut the (new) eugenia tree, we must to walk around the late Kay Htoe Boe. We turn only once and have to cut the eugenia tree to build a new Kay Htoe Boe.  When we celebrate Kay Htoe Boe festival, we have many competition. We have sports competition, and dances race.  When we have dance race, we wear a white shirts and black trousers. We dance under the Kay Htoe Boe. We have a referee to look the dancers. But women are not involved in the dancing, because in our culture, women could not dance under the Kay Htoe Boe. We have many kind of ethnic group in Karenni to compete. 

We kill pigs, hens, cows and goats to eat when the festival is occurring. We also have competition at night. We don’t have polices, soldiers and armies at night, but we have many securities to protect the festival. Everybody in Karenni State keeps having Kay Htoe Boe festival. Therefore, the Kay Htoe Boe festival be significant and is the first celebrate in Karenni State. Karenni people pray the Kay Htoe Boe.  Before, we dance around to it. It lead by magician. When we finished praying it, we go to one after one house to drink Karenni whiskey and rice wine.

Therefore, many people in Karenni State believe in Kay Htoe Boe and obey it.  Majority of who believe the Kay Htoe Boe is Buddhist. We are happy with Kay Htoe Boe.  It also could make the world be happy.  If you believe that it look like a God. 

Note:  Kay Htoe Boe is the religion practised by the Kayan people of Karenni State.

  • The ornate Kan Htoe Boe pole
  • Men dance around the pole playing instruments
  • Cooling the performers


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