Myanmar has a long history dating back several thousand of years. The traditions and culture of Myanmar as well as the philosophy of life of its people, the majority of whom are Buddhists, have been shaped profoundly by Buddhism and the worshiping of ancient Nat (spirits). Hence, Myanmar’s people, regardless of their race or ethnic origin are peace-loving, friendly, generous and hospitable. They also have an innate sense of duty to family, community and country.
Myanmar culture is also inspired by the Chinese and Indian traditions, and it can claim to have retained its own beliefs and culture due to the post-war and post-independence national isolation policy. The culture is complex and rich. Each of the 135 national races that comprise the Myanmar nation has its own language, dialect and characteristics. They live in harmony with each other and with nature, most of them living in remote areas. The major ethnic groups are the Kachin, the Kayah, the Kavin, the Chin, the Mon, the Bamar, the Rakline, and the Shan.
An interesting tradition, taking place particularly in rural areas, is to see the people collectively helping with each others work and participating in communal activities. These traditional practices not only contribute to community development but also bring members of the community closer and thus help to foster solidarity in the building of a peaceful and developed nation.
The benevolent prince, called Lawkanat is often portrayed in Myanmar and regarded as the patron of performing arts. He stands for peace and harmony, happiness and joy and all that is right and good. His role as a peacemaker is based on a fascinating legend handed down through the generations. It is also the favorite subject of Myanmar's sculpture and painting, and its graceful figure is frequently seen adorning the Myanmar traditional orchestra.