Thanakha – Natural Cosmetics and Unique Tradition in Myanmar

Woman with their beautiful face adorned by a type of powder is one of things to see in myanmar that extremely impress tourists. That is a kind of unique “cosmetic” – Thanaka of Myanmar woman which derived from traditional custom of powdering Thannakha on face as a very original characteristics of the country. Indochina travel Myanmar

Thanakha in Burmese means cosmetic beauty or just means clean. This word stem from ancient times in the villages of Myanmar and is widely used up to now.

Thanakha was primarily made from wood of a tree called Thanakha which proliferates in northern Myanmar and is also considered a specialty of this country. The process to make Thanakha powder is quite simple and unchanged throughout the centuries. Firstly, roots and bark are separated, then soaked in water, then grinded on a flat stone. The end product is a yellow cream, slightly fragrant and used to powder face. A special feature is that Thanakha is used in the fresh form and keeps fragrant for long time even in conditions of tropical climate.

The Thanakha tree

The Thanakha tree

In Myanmar, making up by Thanakha has become a long tradition in the history of this country. In period of Myanmar’s monarchy, Thanakha is used to show off social status of women as high – class persons. The bright and light brown Thanakha with yellow tiny particles of dust dotted is the rarest and most beautiful among all kind of Thanakha which is used by most beautiful women of the Myanmar upper classes. The princess in the palace often used this kind of thanakha to makeup. The ordinary classes usually use Thanakha mixed with yellow pollen of flowers Gant Gaw, a flower has very seductive scent that still are used today. Myanmar travel packages

Beautiful face painted with Thanakha

Beautiful face painted with Thanakha

Thanakha is also used in religious ceremonies. Each morning, at Mahamuni Buddha Temple, the most sacred temple in Mandalay, often takes place cleansing ritual to Buddha with towels soaked Thanakha. The ceremony always draw attention of crowds of people. After cleansing rituals end, such towels will be presented to those attending as blessing memorabilia. At another ceremony held at Sittwe, capital of Rakhine State, in the New Year’s Eve, the young girl begin to grind the bark of thanakha to make a smooth cream while the boy are dancing and playing musical instruments. When thanakha process is finished, everyone rushes to the nearby pagoda to celebrate the Buddhist cleansing ritual.

Today, Thanakha is not just a traditional but the Myanmar women also used it as a cosmetic beauty. Most of them are used daily to sunscreen, makeup, and make the skin fresh. Many Myanmar women while traveling or going far also carry Thanakha with a small stone mortar to use.

Thanakha is a favorite comestic of Myanmar women

Thanakha is a favorite comestic of Myanmar women

According to the researchers, powder face with Thanakha exists in some places, but mainly in the special traditional festivals to attract tourists. Therefore, the Thanakha customs that Myanmar women still maintained and used extensively in modern times is a remarkable phenomenon, reflecting strong vitality of traditional cultures in this country.

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