Introduction / History
The Western Pwo Karen live in Myanmar, in the Irrawaddy Delta region. Mostly they are rural rice farmers. There are many Buddhists as well as Christians. Generally, the Buddhists continue to practice traditional Karen religion, that is, making sacrifices to various spirits.
Burmese culture and language has a significant influence among Western Pwo Karen. Some Western Pwo Karen have even given up their language in favor of Burmese, while maintaining their Karen identity. Many Western Pwo Karen were affected by the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in 2008.
Through Pwo Karen survey work, we found that the Bible we called the “Western” Pwo Karen Bible was actually translated for Eastern and Western, and likely was more suitable to Eastern than Western. This information comes from Womack (2005) and Eastern Pwo Karen interviewees. The reason that this translation is today known as the “Western” Pwo Karen Bible is that the Western Pwo Karen converted in larger numbers and use this Bible more. However, the Eastern Pwo Karen Christians do use this Bible as well and consider it to be their own language. Therefore, we now know that the Eastern Pwo Karen have their “own” Bible.
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