The Giraffe women are with long necks, beautifully covering with a round neckpiece. They are Kayan Lahwi people who origins from Burma. But due to unavoidable circumstances have crossed the boundaries of Burma to Thailand. Now mostly the Giraffe women are seen in Thailand who is also known as the Padaung women. A strange culture is present in the wearing of the elongated necklaces in their neck.
The tradition is running generation after generation, not only in their necks but it is worn in hands and legs. Women wear it from their childhood which they need to change every year.
Gold changed to brass
The neck rings were of gold but now it is made of brass. The main aim of making it of gold was a part of their tradition. There are two reasons for developing the ornaments of gold as a part of their culture for the Padaung women.
Firstly it was a status symbol, when the girls wear gold, as it is valuable and expensive. Secondly, the causes of robbing, or protecting their gold from the bandits or pirates was the best way. All the gold ornaments were melted to neck rings, arm rings, and knee rings. Running with their valuable was easy by the giraffe women.
Elongating neck of Giraffe women
The neck rings sizes increase with the ages of women. Girls start wearing from the early age of seven or eight. As the girls get older the rings also increase one by one that slowly shows an elongation on the neck portion.
But it is just a way to show an illusion that the neck looks longer than normal especially in older women. The neck does not actually turn to become long and no damages are causing in different parts of the neck and shoulder.
The illusion of the long neck has given the name the of “Giraffe women”.
Padaung women still want the culture
The wearing of the neck rings when increasing in layers is often difficult for the Padaung women. Eating and swallowing become an issue when growing older. In spite of several problems, the culture is still present in the women.
Many young ones are ready to retain their culture and tradition but few are not easy with carrying the weight. So they are not willing it to wear, as it is an ornament that women wear all the time. Earlier it was made of gold but as the economic situation worsens the ornaments are of brass.
The Giraffe women have been popular in the circuses in London since 1935. Their coiling over the necks given them a length that fascinated crowds of the UK in 1930. In sideshows and circuses, they were introduced as the “Giraffe women”, gathering great attractions of the crowds. The long neck is believed as not only culture but as a symbol of beauty in a woman. Tradition still exists in the areas of Thailand and Myanmar.