Marma people

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Marma Dance
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Bangladesh: Bandarban, Khagrachari, Patuakhali District and Barguna Districts 157,301
 Myanmar: Rakhine State Unknown
 India: Tripura Unknown
Arakanese language
Theravada Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
Rakhine people

one of the 135 officially recognized ethnicities in Myanmar (formerly Burma)
Marma girls at the Water Festival during "Songkrai" (new year celebration)

Marma (Burmese: မရမာလူမျိုး) is the second largest ethnic community in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Most of the Marma ethnic people live in the Bandarban, Khagrachari and Rangamati hill districts of Bangladesh. Some are living in the coastal districts of Cox's Bazar and Patuakhali in Bangladesh. They also are living many places in Tripura, India and Myanmar. Sometimes referred as Mog or Magh and were known by that term for centuries until the late 1940s, on the other hand, they are called Marima Lumyo in Tripura. Marma Peoples are over 210,000 Population just within Bangladesh. In the 16th century the Kingdom of Bohmong and Mong was established by themselves in the Bengal. Since then, Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is their home. Marmas have more than 12 clans I.e. Regesa, Plengsa, Kyaukfyasa, Marosa, Longdusa, Frangsa, Kokdaingsa, Cheringsa, Sakthongyasa etc. All the major culture of these people are similar to Rakhine people including Language (little different in tone), eating, clothes, religion, dance, funeral, looking etc. Lungyi, the lower costume of Marma men and Thabein for women are same to Rakhine people. Marmas are mostly depend on agriculture, with the special custom of YA, slash and burn cultivation on the hills in the older days. Their belif in Theravada Buddhism is as deep as in the Rakhine society with a large ritual practice in deities and Animism parrallelly.


There are two opinions holding on the lineage of Marma. Historically Marma is descendants of Arakanese while Bohmang family claimed the lineage of Mon of Burmese. However the records of East India Company and others provide that Marmas migrated from Arakan kingdom of Burma to the Chittagong of Bangladesh in two phases of migrations during 14th to 17th centuries in the golden period of Mrauk U. In the first phase during the Mrauk U period Arakanese kingdom was expanded to even some parts of Chittagong Division. Secondly, they fled to Chittagong and settled down as the Arakanese kingdom was conquered and tortured by the Burmese king Bodawpaya. The Bohmang family might be descendant of Mon of Pegu but not the Marma or Magh.

1. According to some the term “Marma” derived from the term “Myanmar”. As there is another claim that Marmas are originally lineage of Peguan/Mon and Burmese. So the term Marma was officially coined by Bohmong Maung Shwe Prue in the late 1940s to people of his circle because the king was the descendant of Myanmar. The word of Myanmar changed phonetically as it is pronounced differently by Arakanese and Marma. Sometimes Arakanese pronounces “Ya” of Burmese pronunciation in “Ra” phones. For example, Arakanese pronounces “Rangoon” for “Yangoon” of Burmese. So this is similar to above example of phonetic changes. He wanted to write Mranma (which is Myanmar) unfortunately it was eventually spelled Marma.

2. Another assumption is that the term “Marma” derived from the Chinese word “Meing” which means man. It denotes to call the people of Burma by the Chinese.

They were known as Mogh/Magh for centuries because they were called Mogh/Magh by Bengali for joining hands with Dutch and Portuguese pirates during their invasion in Chittagong. In latter period they do not want to be called by it. They felt offensive and insulting, because it means pirate. Therefore, picking up new name Marma was necessary for people in Bangladesh while others in Tripura state of India kept the same name as Mogh/Magh. They have their own good reasons and they do not consider Mogh/Magh as offensive term but Mog/Magh as rulers and descendant of Magadhi. However they are not identified two from Marma in Bangladesh and Mogh in India.


They follow the Burmese calendar. They celebrate new year called Sangrai.[1] Marma community celebrate in three parts starting on the first day of Baishakh. They make 'Sangraimu' which is a form of traditional cakes. The take part in Sangrain Relong Pwe (water pouring) where young marma men and women spray each other with water. On the 1st day called Painchwai or Akro (home decoration with flower/Eelcoming), 2nd day called Sangrai Akya they participate in traditional sports, Dances, cultural activities and hold meeting regarding community issues. They also fo to monastery to participate Buddha statue bathing (cleansing) program on this day. On the 3rd day called Sangrai Atada they cook a vegetable dish made out of more than 100 ingredients called Hangbong (Pachan in Bangla). After death, Marmas cremate the dead human body in case of elder aged and bury in case of younger or minor ones. [2]

See also[edit]

Barua (Bangladesh)


  1. ^ Barua, Sanjoy; Khan, Tamanna. "Blaze of 'Boisabi' colour". The Daily Star. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Correspondent. "Hill districts wear a festive look as Boisabi nears". The Daily Star. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 

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