Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy

A Visit to Chin State’s ‘Holy Land’

Pyay Kyaw The Irrawaddy

TEDIM, Chin State — Siangsawn village, located in northern Chin State’s Tedim Township and at a height of 5,255 feet above sea level, is a community adhering to the Pau Cin Hau faith, involving the worship of a monotheistic deity known as “Pasian.” The religion was founded by a man named Pau Cin Hau himself, who lived from 1859 to 1948 and also is known for inventing the Pau Cin Hau written script.

With around 90 households of some 300 inhabitants, the model village is widely known as the “Holy Land of Chin State.” There are three rules in the community—no tobacco, no alcohol, no drugs. The residents mainly earn a living through agriculture and the weaving of traditional textiles.

The village head also serves as the matchmaker within the community. Couples follow the leader’s arrangement without having seen each other before the marriage ceremony. Irrawaddy photographer Pyay Kyaw recently visited Siangsawn and had the rare opportunity to capture images of both life in the community and a traditional Pau Cin Hau wedding ceremony, pictured in the images which follow.