Padaung or Kayan (ပဒေါင်)
Name: Ma Se
From: Di Moo So
Population: approx. 130.000
Religion: Roman Catholics and there are a mixture with its animist traditions.
History: They come from Mongolia from where they emigrated during the Bronze Age. They are part of a branch of the Karen of the Tibeto-Burman family.
Padaung is a Shan term for the Kayan Lahwi (the group whose women wear the brass neck coils). There are a lot of theories about why they wear that coils. People tell foreigners that the women wear this way because they look like dragons. Another theory is to make them ugly and so, avoid abduction by other rival tribes. Another one is to prevents that Tigers bite their necks, perhaps the most fanciful. The true is, in general, they feel more attractive with coils.
They can be found in the Kayah and Shan States but also in three tourist villages in Mae Hong Son, Thailand and the refugee camp in Ban Mai Nai.