The Lisu are located mostly in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son provinces. They are thought to originate from S. China (and probably from Tibet before that), and they first came to Thailand approx. 80 years ago. There are also a large number in Burma who might of come south at the same time.
The Lisu are part of the Tibeto-Burman linguistic group and their culture is closely related to that of the Chinese. Their New Year is at the same time as the Chinese New Year and it is their biggest and most elaborate festival of the year.It is a time when they make offerings to ancestor spirits and the village guardian spirit. The most noticeable part of the festivities is the dancing that is held over a number of days, when everybody dresses up in their best finery. This is a time when community and clanship is consolidated. Some clans carry Chinese names.
Lisu woman
The Lisu are split into two sub groups - the Hua Lisu (flowery Lisu) and the He Lisu (Black Lisu). In Thailand most of the Lisu are Flowery Lisu.
The women are instantly recognisable by their stunning costumes - particularly their double breasted knee length robe which is decorated with many  thin strips of coloured material around the neck and upper arms. Favourite colours are red, pink, blue and green (always the very brightest of colours).
At New Year  they wear their complete outfits including a vest decorated with silver and a large headdress decorated with pom poms and tassels.
When Lisu marry there is always a dowry to be paid for the bride. Generally marriages are only allowed with someone outside the clan and Lisu are monogamous. The clan is an important aspect of Lisu culture and is carried through the male members of the tribe. The oldest male member of each clan is always given authority when it comes to any important matters affecting the clan.
Lisu family
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    Last updated:    08 ตุลาคม 2002 16:02:12