Karen Tribe and Their Sacred Belief in the Soul

October 28, 2015

Karen Tribe and Their Sacred Belief in the Soul

Inhabiting the South-Eastern Asian country of Myanmar, the Karen tribe is a very peculiar people that probably came from the Gobi Desert area thousands of years ago and settled on the coast of the Andaman Sea.

They say that their ancestors came from the 'river of running sand', which most believe refers to the Gobi Desert. The vast majority of Karen people practice one of the oldest branches of Buddhism, called Theravāda, and animism as well.


The focus of the animism that Karen people practice is defined by the belief in something they call klar (soul/spirit).

They also believe there are 37 spirits (klar) that inhabit the human body, 1 that is major and 36 minor spirits. At some point, when one or more minor spirits stray from the body, the person will get sick, while if the major klar strays away, the person may become crazy. When all 37 spirits are gone, the individual is ready for death.

One of the most important aspects of animism is the belief that humans must live in relationship with the wider environment, the idea becoming more and more popular these days, due to the environmental problems with which our planet is faced.

There is a lot to say about the Karen Tribe, historically, linguistically and culturally, but one of the most representative aspects is their traditional clothing. Karen men, as well as their women, wear sarongs and sleeveless shirts, while unmarried women wear a long white dress as a sign of purity.

Karen tribe people also love accessories, and the most common Karen accessories are the “Om” jewelry, made from the Karen hill tribe silver, but also lucky elephant pendants, fish jewelry, and the Vermeil flower charm.

Peaceful people, who believe in the beauty of the soul and its connection to everything around it, with the creative source in all its forms, Karen have managed to preserve their identity and culture in a world where they are considered a minority.

Their beautiful beliefs about life and the world are captured in the traditional Karen tribe jewelry and accessories you can find here in our shop.




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