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Put Wine on the Table; Put Words Aboveboard

As a kind and hardworking people, they place etiquette in a high position. In a long history of social life, a set of ethic and moral ideas and principles of behaviors is formed to deal with their getting along with each other. This set of ideas and principles has helped to maintain the peace of their society, and to create a pleasant environment in which everybody is respected and loved.

The Lahus hold such virtues as honesty, rectitude and modesty in high esteem. A principle they have always kept is to "put wine on the table and put words aboveboard." When there are misunderstandings between neighbors or friends, they will resolve it and be friends again by giving a cigarette or proposing a toast to each other. If it is hard to decide who is right and who is wrong, a wrestling will be held between the two former friends, and the loser will be the one who should apologize. In the Lahu society, the petty and the mean are not welcome.

The Lahus often say, "The old saw the sun and the moon first; the old sowed the grain first; the old found mountain flowers and wild fruits first; and the old know the most about the world." It is a basic moral principle for the Lahus to respect and love the old people. In every family, it is certain that beds of the old are set by the fireplace, which is the warmest place. When dining, the old sit in the center. The younger are not supposed to walk to and fro where the old sit or lie. When an old person speaks he or she is not to be interrupted. The old are the first to taste the new grain. On the first day of the year, the Lahu bring back Xinshui (new water). And it is supposed that it be served firstly to the old for washing his or her face and feet. Even a young headman of the village must show some respect to the old, or he could hardly be trusted and supported.

 "When one family is in trouble, all the villagers will help." This is a traditional custom that shows the spirit of the Lahus. In their daily work or everyday life, or larger businesses like building a new house, wedding, or funeral, this warm-heartedness can be shown.

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