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Lisu man celebrating new year, Thailand | by Eric Lafforgue
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Lisu man celebrating new year, Thailand

Ban Nam Rin village, a place on the way to Mae Hong Son, when you come by car from Chinag Mai, after 1400 curves ! …. I met the Lisu people during the celebration of their new year, mid february. People danced, and had a big banquet with the whole village, and a shaman who blessed the kids.

There are about 30 000 Lisu living in 150 villages in North Thailand. They live to the north and west of Chiang Mai. The Lisu originated from China, at the headwaters of the Salween River, and started to settle in Thailand around 1920.

Linguistically, the Lisu belong to the Lolo branch of the Tibeto-Burman family.

The Lisu grow rice and vegetables for subsistence and used to grow opium for sale, but it is supposed to have stopped now. Most Lisu live close to water because they believe water has a special power.

Within each Lisu house is an ancestral altar. And in each village, there is a "village guardian spirit shrine" which is located above the village, in a roofed pavilion which women are forbidden to enter. The Lisu also worship Wu Sa (the creator spirit), and a multitude of spirits of the forest, ancestors, trees, the sun, moon


© Eric Lafforgue

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Taken on February 16, 2010