awei is the capital city of Tanintharyi Region, in Southern Myanmar. It was formerly known as Tavoy. It is full of natural scenery with beaches, mountains, islands and tourist attractions. The residents of Dawei are Dawei ethnic. Dawei has its own dialect (Dawei language). People also speak Burmese language. The local people are so incredibly friendly and warm. The religion of Dawei people are mostly Buddhism and other religions are Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Dawei has its own culture and tradition. Dawei's traditional pottery and pot dance is a fun and festive way to experience the local culture. The pots are worn by dancers who perform in many ceremonies and festivities, often in traditional Dawei dress. The pot dance is a great way to get a taste of the local culture and traditions.
In Dawei, pottery skills are derived from our ancestors. There are several family businesses of pottery handicraft. Dawei pottery is produced by local people of the Ohlote Quarter, Dawei Township. Local people produce different kinds of pot but the processes are not easy to produce a pot. The products are water pot, rice pot, tea pot, money-box pot, Nyaung Yay pot, Tha Bake (Small Alms bowl), Hsi Mee Khyet (it can use in Thadingyut for lighting festival) and Oh Pote (Myanmar's traditional pottery toys) for children. Local People use marl clay for pottery, which they get from the fields of the Ou Tha Yai Quarter, Dawei.
Process of Pottery
Firstly, the pot makers removed rocks from the marl clay. And then, the marl is mixed with sand and pressed with hands and feet to be soft. After that, the marl is ready to use for pottery. Local people make pottery with their desired size, shape and place it under the sun for about one day. And then the pots are fired with bamboo and straw for one day to become a perfect pot. Sometimes coconut shells are also used in the firing process. Finally, they decorate the pottery with colors and create beautiful designs. The process of pottery requires skills and practice of the labor.
Most people buy pots that resemble a small alms bowl (Tha Bake) in the Thadingyut of Myanmar calendar (it will fall in October in English calendar) to hold the festival. At this time, the pots are a best seller product in Dawei. Local people use the pots during the Thadingyut festival (Tha Bake float festival in Dawei) in the river and perform traditional pot dances. Nowadays local people decorate their accommodation with food by using pots in Dawei and the pot is also a product of daily life.
Traditional Dance of Dawei
Dawei has many traditional dances and songs which have existed since the foundation of Dawei, 1116 Myanmar calendar (1754 English Calendar). Significant fine arts of Dawei include folk music and three traditional dances; Ayai dance (a symbol of grief), Yan dance and Ozi dance. The clothing style, hair style, material usage, song and musical instruments are all tailored to the ceremony in each of these dances.
Dawei Traditional Pot Dance
There is a wide range of traditional dances that reflect the diversity of Myanmar's cultures. As a country rich in traditions and cultures, there are many different types of traditional dances, each with their own unique style and history. One of the most popular traditional dances is the pot dance. The Dawei pot dance is a performance in many ceremonies and festivities by wearing Dawei traditional costume and together with pots. The pot dance is a great way to get a taste of the local culture and traditions. The songs also use gongs and drums to create the rhythm for the dance.
How is the dance performed?
During the Dawei pot dance, dancers wear several pots of water on their heads and dance. You'll witness an amazing display of balance. A group of Dawei ladies performs a dance with pots balanced on their heads while the water in the vessels has a volume of about 1 liter. Dancing a pot dance is quite difficult because they not only dance as a group with uniformity but also have to dance according to the rhythm of the music while carrying pots. The majority of women in Dawei are unable to do so. Dancers must prepare for dresses and practice for years to be able to execute a pot dance.
Who performed the dance?
Dawei has a traditional dance association. In the association, there are many groups of Dawei dance among them Dawei pot dance is also included. Dawei traditional dances are performed by women in all the townships of Dawei but Dawei pot dance is performed by women living in Thayet Chaung township. In the Thayet Chaung township, pot dance can be performed by young girls and women from the association. The songs also use gongs and drums to create the rhythm for the dance.
What do the dancers wear?
The dancers wear traditional Dawei clothing including a longyi and a top . They also wear their hair in the traditional Dawei updo called the "Low Bun" with rose. They perform the Dawei pot dance with traditional Dawei dress, neat hair style, put some make-up or paint on their face and wear pearls around their necks. The dancers use pots of different sizes and colors.
When is the dance performed?
Dawei pot dance is performed on festive occasions such as religious festivals and Dawei New Year. They perform Dawei pot dance on Dawei National day, Thadingyut festival at the night time, Tazaungdaing festival and Thingyan festival. They also perform on Union day in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon and sometimes at the beaches, near the sea of the villages. The migrant people of Dawei also perform traditional dances and pot dances on Dawei National Day in other countries as like cities in Thailand to promote and support Dawei tradition.
According to the traditional festivals and new year festival, Dawei people keep the traditional performances. When you visit Southern Myanmar during festival times and public holidays, you can watch and study Dawei culture, traditional dances and pot dance. You can also try Dawei Mote Latt Thouk, Dawei Mote Hin Khar, Dawei snacks (Thar Kway Yei, Ar Pon, etc) in the festivals. There are many things that will surprise you during the festivals. If you love Myanmar's culture and traditions, I want to recommend that you visit Dawei and join tours and learn Dawei traditional dances of Myanmar. After that you can start your amazing adventures in Mergui Archipelago by scuba diving or kayaking around the most beautiful beaches and islands of Myanmar.
You can watch Dawei Traditional Dances links below.