More than a dozen ethnic groups inhabit Kayah State , a rugged mountain region in eastern Myanmar , but the Kayah people, numbering just over 150,000, comprise the largest ethnic group in the region.
Their brightly-coloured head-cloths or shawls gave the territory its former name of Kayinni, or 'Red Kayin'. The Kayah are the smallest population group among the four major linguistic branches of the Kayins, together with the Pwo, Sgaw and Pa-O. Although spirit worship is still practised, most Kayahs converted to Christianity last century.
The most important annual festival is the Kutobo or Flag Mast Festival, held sometime between March and May.