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Monday, February 16, 2015

Colorful Lisu New Year

For four days and nights the Lisu people celebrate the new year with dancing, singing and drinking. Their celebration coincides with the Chinese New Year as the Lisu still adhere to the Chinese lunar calendar.

The preparations for the festivities take place well in advance. Most households will ensure they have a stock of liquor at home, beginning to distil it as soon as they have harvested their corn and rice after the rainy season. Over many weeks, even months before the New Year, the women will be busy making new, eye-catching costumes that will be worn during the New Year festivities.
The traditional female dress is a composition of two or three bright, contrasting colors, such as blue, magenta and orange, with different pieces of floral or other patterned cloth included. It is worn over pants.

credit Jim Goodman

Lisu women are experts at intricate stitch-work. They have many patterns that are considered staples in any good Lisu woman's repertoire of needle-work. Most of  them focus on sewing small tabs of fabric of contrasting colors criss-crossing over one another. There's kua-pia-kua (tail of the bow), pia-goo-ma-kua (tiger's chest), foo-yee-chee (snake's belly)na-hoo-mia-cheuy (hat's eyes) ee-geu-ja-ya (criss-crossing tabs of colored fabric) and ah-na (dog's fang). In the case of ah-na, a woman's workmanship is rated by how small she is able to make the dog's fangs. Usually these patterns appear in the decoration of sleeves, belts and children's hats.

The Lisu are particularly fond of silver. 

During festivals girls wear blouses covered with silver studs and pendants, some girls wear little silver fish in their headdresses.
It is the time when the Lisu ‘spring clean’ their homes. More important, however is the generous way in which they show respect to their ancestor spirits. 

Of all the spirits, Apomo, or Old Grandfather, is revered most of all.  A guardian spirit who safeguards morals, keeps out bad spirits, disease, drought and bandits, A shrine to ‘Apomo’  is set on a slope just above the village, under a big tree. During the new year the men of the village visit the shrine to pay respects and celebrate for a while with Old Grandfather.

Happy New Year To The Lisu People. If you are in the neighborhood stop by, they love welcoming guests for a drink and a dance.


Lisu colorful floor pillows

Lisu handbag

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful, I love learning about the cultures behind your beautiful products. Thanks for sharing.