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Manipuri, Ponna in Myanmar (Burma)

Manipuri, Ponna

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Manipuri, Ponna in Myanmar (Burma) map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
11,000 Meitei Hinduism 1.70 % 1.50 % No   

Manipuri, Ponna in Myanmar (Burma)

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Introduction / History
With many ethnic groups nestled within its borders, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) has a rich cultural milieu. The Mahei of Myanmar live in the mountains and Mekong River Valley of the northeastern portion of Myanmar bordering southern China's Yunnan Province. Lacking specific information about the Mahei, this profile is based on their close ethnic and cultural relationship with the Hani and the Akha. It also draws conclusions from their location in the so-called Mae Khong River quadrangle area, which includes the border areas of China, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.

Although the exact origin of this mountain tribal group is not known, legends say that their nomadic ancestors gradually migrated southward from a far away northern plain in China. Since their language-also called Mahei-is of the Tibeto-Burmese group, others believe that their origin may have been Tibet. Their culture has elaborate oral traditions and long, interrelated genealogical and ritual practices.

What are their lives like?
The Hani and Akha (the related ethnic groups) are rice farmers who skillfully build their terraces on mountain and hill slopes, using irrigation canals and dams. They use different kinds of pick axes, hoes, spades, water buffalo drawn plows, and tillers for farming. Fertilizers, especially cattle dung, are used for cultivation. Cattle production is also slowly developing. The Mahei, however, are likely to be part of those who still practice "slash and burn" agriculture. They generally live far away from one another in separate groups, each with a few families.

Most Mahei families are patrilineal, meaning that the line of descent is traced through the father. The father or eldest brother is the head of the family and makes all the decisions. Two to four family branches make up a clan. The members of each clan have a patronymic name (name that is derived from a common father or ancestor). Young Mahei men and women are allowed to choose their marriage partners, but they must also have parental consent. Wedding rituals vary from district to district. However, it is customary for the newlyweds to live in the home of the girl's parents for three to four years.

The Mahei like handicrafts such as wickerwork, cotton weaving, and dyeing. The women are usually pictured carrying baskets on their backs, toting a baby in a sack around their shoulders, and spinning cotton with their hands. In their tradition, the respect a woman receives depends upon the number of sons and grandsons she has. The folk arts and literature of the Mahei are also fairly well developed. Many stories of literary and historic value, as well as folk tales, have been passed down orally. A number of Mahei poems are about marriage and other customs.

Every year, the people in each village celebrate four to five major festivals. The most extensive one is a harvest festival called the "Tenth Moon." Each occasion exemplifies the Mahei's warm, hospitable nature.

What are their beliefs?
The Mahei practice their traditional ethnic religions. Most of their villages have temples where a multitude of gods are worshipped. These gods are associated with the earth, water, fire, and famous ancestors. It is also common for brothers in the same family to worship their dead parents at the eldest brother's house. On the lunar New Year's Eve, children are told about their deceased ancestors and their family lineage.

Besides worshiping ancestors, the Mahei also venerate the spirits of their parents-in-law. Each year in the second lunar month, they hold a grand offering service in the village. There they pray to the spirits for health, prosperity in farming, and success in cattle breeding. In rice-growing areas, the "Thunder God" and the "Wind Ghost" are worshipped. Many rituals and ceremonies are held to honor these gods during the farming season.

What are their needs?
Christian materials are needed in the Mahei language. Increased intercession and missions efforts are necessary for reaching the Mahei with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will break up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect the small number of Mahei Christians.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to complete the work begun in the hearts of the Mahei believers through adequate discipleship.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Mahei.

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Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:19 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Manipuri, Ponna
People Name General: Meitei
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 106268
Joshua Project People ID: 13513
Indigenous: No
Population in Country: 11,000
Population all Countries: 1,453,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
People Name General: Meitei
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Meitei (11,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): mni    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Pangal
Dialect Code:594
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity1.70 %(Evangelical: 1.50 %)
Ethnic Religions7.00 % 
Hinduism84.40 % 
Islam6.90 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant95.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic5.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1820-1995
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1984-2019
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline Scripture / Portions
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoGod's Story Video
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Meitei
Film / VideoMagdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
GeneralGot Questions Ministry
Text / Printed MatterFather's Love Letter
Text / Printed MatterJesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed MatterOneHope resources for children and youth
Text / Printed MatterWorld Missionary Press Booklets
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Manipuri, Ponna in Myanmar (Burma)

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Hindu - other     Asia, Southeast    
      Meitei Myanmar (Burma)    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Manipuri, Ponna in Myanmar (Burma)          
      Religion Language  
      Hinduism     Meitei  
    All Religions                              

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