The Khamti tribe
The Khamti tribe is a sub group of the Shan people found mainly in Burma and Arunachal Pradesh. However a small number of this community can be found in Assam also. They are known as Hkamti by the Burmese and Khampti by the Assamese.
Their total population is 13100 as per the 2000 census out of which 4235 live in Burma.
Culture of Khamti people
The Khamti community consisted of three classes, the Chiefs, the priests and the slaves.
The Khamti people are Buddhists and are believer of the Hinyan sect of Buddhism. They pray every morning in their rooms and provide offerings of flowers and food. Like any other Buddhist they are peace loving people.
They build their homes with bamboos splices for the walls and wooden planks which is used for flooring.
The Khamti people are mainly agriculturists and cultivate crop in the land. They grow various crops like rice, mustard and potato. Their main food is rice and vegetable with occasional meat. They make a drink made of rice (rice beer) and drink as beverage.
The Khamti men wear a shirt known as 'siu pachai' and a lungi known as 'phanoi.'
The women wear a blouse 'siu pasao' a long skirt 'sinn' and a cloth used as scarf called 'famia'.
The Khamti people have their own language and script known as 'Lik Tai'
The Khamti are good craftsmen make varieties of weapons for defence. Also the priests make various religious idols.
Festivals of Khamti people
Sangken is the main festival of the Khamti people. It is the Khamti new year and is celebrated on 14th April. It is celebrated by all the religions and tribes together.
On this day, after the ceremonial bath the images of Buddha are taken out for procession along with drums and music. People splash water on each other. This may seem similar to 'Holi' festival celebrated in other parts of the country; however no colour is used here. This festival is celebrated for three days and people make and gorge on sweets and other edibles on these days.
Afterwards people exchange gifts among themselves.