Everyone who is not familiar with Burma, it’s culture and history will certainly look quite puzzled when being asked for the meaning of ‘Nawarat’ and will surely ask himself what on earth Nawarat means or is. How could he (or she) possibly know?
So, what is this mysterious Nawarat (occasionally spelled Navarat) and what is it all about? Are you puzzled now? You sure are. Well, do not worry, this article will shed light on the myth and mystery of Nawarat and in a few minutes from now you will know the answer to the question what it is.
Nawarat is all about power, wealth, glory, grandeur and resplendence, accomplishment and fulfilment, about health and vigour, strength and vitality, calm and tranquillity as well as love and affection. But first and foremost it is about power in the widest sense of this term. And as much as it is about all of these things it is about occultism (Latin ‘occultare’, meaning ‘secret’ and ‘occultere’, meaning ‘hide’ or ‘conceal’) and about superstition (Latin ‘super’, meaning ‘over’ and ‘stare’, meaning ‘to stand’). In other words, Nawarat is about the in Burma widely held belief in unseen and unknown forces of supernatural influences – especially with respect to bringing good and bad luck – and in the efficacy of various practices such as astrology that is regarded as hidden knowledge of the universe and its mysterious forces.
At this point in time you will certainly think, fine, now I have got a pretty good idea of what Nawarat is all about but I still do not know what exactly it is. For starters, ‘Nawarat’ is an amulet or charm in the form of a piece of jewellery that as the Burmese people deeply believe has magical powers; thus can ward off evil and danger and give power, wealth, health, glory, etc. Briefly put, the Nawarat is a ring that is worn for protection and good fortune.
The ring is made of gold and comprises seven jewels, one coral and one pearl – altogether nine pieces – for which reason it is called in Burmese ‘Nawarat Koe Par’ or in English ‘Nine Jewelled Ring’.
Nowadays almost every jewel store in Burma is offering these rings (even cheap copies are available) and everyone who is interested in buying a Nawarat ring and can afford it can do this. But then again, he must strongly believe in the Nawarat ring’s mystical powers as the ring itself can – as valuable as it might be in material terms – hardly be called a beauty; in fact, at least to the Westerner’s eye it appears rather trashy and tasteless. Nevertheless, I have met a very, very few ‘Westerners’ – even women were amongst them – who have bought cheaper versions of Nawarat rings. I suspect their ulterior motive was to make themselves interesting back home because they would certainly be asked what this in western countries very unusual ring is all about what, in turn, offers a good opportunity to tell interesting stories and become the centre of attention.
That women are wearing the Nawarat and that it is nowadays…