Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Year Ceremonies of LISU-1

The most important festival is that of the New Year, when they celebrate the turning from the old to the new. Many hours and considerable sums of money are devoted to the making of new outfits for the young people. Silver ornaments are cleaned, and silver buttons are sewn onto the clothing. Quantities of liquor are distilled, each step in the process being punctuated by shooting a gun.

The New Year festival begins with the announcement by the village priest that on the following day they must make 'rice cakes' (pa pa). The household of the village priest is the first to make the cakes then a gun is shot as a signal that the other villagers can start making theirs. Each family gathers around its pounder and together makes the cakes to be used in New Year offerings, and to be eaten by the family.

During the day the young people make excursions to the fields to collect large quantities of vegetables, and men from each family go to the jungle and cut a New Year tree (leh dzuh). After sunset the priest calls out from the guardian spirit shrine that the sun has set, then each family ceremonially plants its tree in front of the house. The 'Old Year' celebration is observed, in preparation for which each house is 'purified' by being swept thoroughly and having all leftover food discarded.

That evening hard-boiled eggs and strings, one of each for every person in the household, are placed in a basin of uncooked glutinous rice. The oldest man in the household takes the basin outside and calls the souls of the household members to come into it, then takes it back inside, gives an egg to each person to eat, and ties members and the wrists or elbows of children and guests.

Later in the evening the senior shaman goes into a trance for his household and the village as a whole. While in the trance he blows fireballs of lard, and sprays water from his mouth in order to drive the 'bad' of the Old Year away, so that everything will be clean and good for the New Year. The spirits speak through him, emphasizing that everyone must make a break with the old, so as to enter into the New Year from sickness and evil. He says such things as, 'people, don't separate. Wherever you go, whatever happens, stay together and be united'. This theme is expressed in other ways as well, because there may be families who plan to leave the village soon after the New Year.

0 ความคิดเห็น:

Post a Comment