As Lahu Ethnic Minority is an ethnic group who lived a nomadic life in the very early period and later settled in the drainage area of the Lancang River in the south, their present daily life reflects their nomadic culture as well as their farming style. According to the local tradition, boys get married when they are 16 or 17 while girls get married when they are 13 or 14. They still keep the tradition of monogamous.
Like most China’s ethnic minority, such as Maonan ethnic minority, De’ang ethnic minority, and Jingpo ethnic minority, the young people of Lahu ethnic minority can sing love songs, or play flutes and reed pipes to express their affection when they fall in love with each other. But the knapsack is also a token of love only for them.Made of handmade blue cloth or woven with red white colored thread, it is also decorated with a shell or a colored pompon on it.
In accordance with their marriage rituals, the young people are free to choose their partners so long as they are not close relatives. The boy’s parents will invite a matchmaker to the girl’s family to propose a marriage with wine, after the boy and girl tell their parents about their love. If the girl’s parents agree with the proposal, they will drink the wine the matchmaker took; otherwise, they will break down the bottles of wine to show refusal. After successful proposal, the boy and the girl has to go to work at the home of the other party. If they find the boy or the girl is not hard working or do not has a good character, they have the right to cancel their engagement.
On the wedding day, both sides must kill a pig. It is the groom’s family who should firstly take the half of pig’s head to the bride’s home and leave the rest at home. So do the bride’s family. At last, they will combine the two halves of pig’s head together to show their close relationship.
The method of their teasing the newlyweds is very funny. At night, the bride needs to help wash her groom’s feet. At this time, the guests come to soil the groom’s feet with ashes in order to make the bride rewash. If the bride quickly helps the groom wear new shoes taken from her family after washing the feet, the guests will stop teasing. It is said doing this can judge whether the temperament of the bride is good or not.
In some remote areas, after marriage the woman should keep a lock of hair on the top of her head, called “Hunmao”(hair of the soul), in order to distinguish herself from man, as both males and females would like to shave their heads bald.