Myanmar (Burmese) Culture


  • The traditional greeting in Myanmar is a bow whilst placing both hands on your stomach.
  • Often younger people will bow and an older person will simply nod in response.
  • To greet monks, place your hands together in prayer position, hold them at face level and bow deeply.
  • To pay deep respect to a monk, kneel on the ground and touch your palms and forehead to the floor three times. This custom is called the ‘kadaw’. Many people may show respect to images or depictions of Buddha in the same way.
  • Some Burmese (generally urban residents and non-Buddhists) shake hands to greet. In doing so, they may support their right elbow in their left hand whilst they shake another person’s hand.
  • Use people’s appropriate titles when addressing them (e.g. Mr, Mrs) unless they are children.
  • The common formal greeting in Burmese is “Min-ga-la-ba shin” (said by a woman) or “Min-ga-la-ba khin-bah” (said by a man). Both of these sayings mean ‘Hello’.
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Myanmar (Burma)
  • Population
    [July 2016 est.]
    Note: Estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS. This can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.
  • Language
    Burmese [Official]
    Shan (Tai)
    Karen languages (Karenic)
    Kachin (Jingpho)
    Chin languages (Kukish)
    There are over 100 languages and dialects spoken by minority groups.
  • Religion
    Buddhist (87.9%)
    Christian (6.2%)
    Muslim (4.3%)
    Animist (0.8%)
    Hindu (0.5%)
    Other (0.2%)
    None (0.1%)
    [2014 est.]
    Note: The religion estimate is based on the 2014 national census, including an estimate for the non-enumerated population of Rakhine State, which is assumed to mainly affiliate with the Islamic faith.
  • Ethnicity
    Burman (Bamar) (68%)
    Shan (9%)
    Karen (7%)
    Rakhine (4%)
    Chinese (3%)
    Indian (2%)
    Mon (2%)
    Other (5%)
    Note: there are over 135 indigenous ethnic groups in Burma
  • Australians with Burmese Ancestry
    49,204 [Census, 2016]
Burmese in Australia
  • Population
    [Census, 2016]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Myanmar.
  • Median Age
    [Census, 2016]
  • Gender
    Male (50.5%)
    Female (49.5%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Religion
    Baptist Christianity (31.0%)
    Buddhism (25.0%)
    Catholic Christianity (14.2%)
    Islam (10.7%)
    Other Religion (14.1%)
    No Religion (2.9%)
    Not Stated (1.8%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Ancestry
    Burmese (42.9%)
    Chin (14.3%)
    Karen (13.7%)
    Chinese (6.4%)
    Other Ancestry (22.7%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Burmese (40.5%)
    Karen (16.3%)
    English (12.3%)
    Chin Haka (9.9%)
    Other Languages (20.5%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 56.3% speak English fluently.
    [Census, 2016]
  • Diaspora
    Victoria (33.6%)
    Western Australia (26.7%)
    New South Wales (21.8%)
    Queensland (9.7%)
    Other (8.2%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2007 (36.3%)
    2007 - 2011 (29.9%)
    2012 - 2016 (31.3%)
    [Census, 2016]
Country Flag Country Myanmar