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A People from the North---the Lahu People

The Lahu ethnic minority has a population of more than 410,000 and is located primarily in Simao and Lincang in the Lancang River Region, and some are also scattered in Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Xishuangbanna and Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Honghe, and also Yuxi area in Yunnan Province. More than 160,000 Lahu people are found in Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. 

The Lahu ethnic minority has a long history. Their ancestors are a branch of "the ancient Qiang (a people hunting in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan in ancient times) people," who came down southward into Yunnan and the Central South peninsula. They call themselves "Lahu"; yet, there are several branches, such as "Lahuna (black Lahu)," "Lahuxi (yellow Lahu)," "Lahupu (white Lahu)," etc. In history, they had names like "Shizong," "Yeguzong," "Kucong," "Luohei," "Mocha," "Mucha," and "Mushe" in different times.

The Lahu people have their own language that belongs to the Yi subgroup in the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan family. It has two dialects: the Lahuna and the Lahuxi. The Lahu language had no written form of its own in the past. Although some western priests developed a Latin alphabetic system in the beginning of the 20th century, it was not spread for its immaturity. After the founding of the PRC, the script was reformed and became their formal written language.

The Lahu people use hoe as an important farming tool. They live mainly on planting rice paddy, dry rice, and maize. Now, they have built up some local industries like farming machines, sugar, tea and minerals. 

The Lahu people admire black. They regard it as a beautiful color. Men wear black headbands, collarless short jackets and trousers, while women wear long robes with slits along the legs, and short coats or straight skirts. In terms of food, they have bamboo rice, chicken porridge, corn rice, and roast meat, etc. Most of the Lahu people live in bamboo houses or wooden houses with railings. Their festivals include Torch Festival and Tasting the New Grain Festival, etc. They believe in a primitive religion and worship many gods. The Lahu people are good dancers and singers. Their music and dance are of a style peculiar to their nationality, and have a strong flavor of their life.

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