Hard burden: why do Padaung women in Asia lengthen their necks?


The long neck, framed with gold rings, is the hallmark of the Padaung people living in Myanmar. Local women start wearing a metal collar from the age of five. By the age of 16, the height of the jewelry can reach 20 rings, pressing on the shoulders with a weight of 5-6 kg.

How was this tradition born in Asia? Do rings interfere with everyday life and in what cases are women allowed to take them off?

Padaung — 50 thousand people from the group of kindred peoples «Karens»,

At one time, the custom of lengthening the neck extended to all Karen, a nation of 7 million people known since the Middle Ages. However, due to the influence of other countries and the desire of girls to lead a secular life, the tradition is gradually fading away.


The decision to carry out such an operation

The number of rings is increasing every year. By the time a girl gets married, usually at the age of 15-16, they stop adding turns. Thus, after marriage, the collar takes on a finished look.

Contrary to popular belief,

The spiral does not fit tightly to the neck, leaving the person the opportunity to twist his head and wash the body under the rings. However, if an adult woman decides to remove the jewelry, then she risks damaging her neck due to atrophy of the cervical muscles.

The skin under the collar, in the warm Asian climate, sweats a lot, chafes, becomes covered with pigmentation and requires daily care. Therefore, cotton fabric is worn under the rings so that it absorbs moisture.

Like all women on the planet, they do it for the sake of men. Previously, in local culture, a long neck was considered the most attractive part of the body and an attribute without which a woman could not be considered beautiful.

Today the collar remains as a tribute to the tradition that distinguishes the Padaung from all other peoples. There is also a more practical rationale: the design can protect against the attack of predators, which mainly cling to the neck, or deliberately restrict women in movement so that they do not run away from their husbands.

They continue to wear hoops also because

The collar is removed in exceptional cases. In ancient times, such a reason could be adultery. Bare neck was considered a shame. Today, hoops are removed for medical reasons: during childbirth, operations and due to various diseases.

In addition to the inhabitants of Asia, a long neck is also held in high esteem by the African Ndebele tribe. This archaic people

Here, the rings mimic folds of fat that hide thinner parts of the body. Obese women are considered beautiful and successful by African standards. This means that the person is eating well.

Is it wild or not? The issue is controversial, because European girls also make significant sacrifices for beauty — they enlarge their lips, breasts, remove cheekbones, often changing their appearance. On the other hand, natural beauty is always appreciated above any «lotions»!