Message of the Day: Even if one could live 100 years, life would be too short to explore the history and inexhaustible folk customs of Yunnan Province.
Today is a free day but one with a plan. After breakfast, we met Mr. Mah, our guide for the day, and began our journey to the Yunnan Nationalities Village, about 15-20 kilometers away on the shores of Dianchi Lake. With our guides’ help, we taxied to the main train station and then caught bus #44, a direct connection to the ethnic site in 45 minutes. The bus is probably the main source of transportation for most residents in Kunming. Buses are modern and definitely inexpensive – 2 yuan per person per leg of the journey. The bus is an excellent way to see the city. Along the way we noticed a significant number of palm trees, indicating how temperate a climate the region enjoys. Many trees and shrubs were covered to protect them from the December cold snap which registered below freezing temperatures.
The extensive village site showcases the culture and folk customs of 25 different ethnic minorities of the Yunnam Province. Each separately constructed village features traditional architecture indigenous to its group and period and ethnic folk customs and colorful costumes.
Our first stop was the Tibetan village where we prayed for happiness and health and spun the Tibetan prayer wheel for success. From there we proceeded to the ethnic compounds of
Dai, Buyi, Shui, Bulang, Ginuo, Wa, Lahu, Bai, Nashi, Muosuo, Yi, and Hani. It was a full day and we only covered about half of the villages. Several photos of scenes from the trip are shown below.
A favorite site and story came from the Muoso minority. Homes were entirely made of logs, not unlike American log cabins. This society is totally maternal with the eldest female (usually the grandmother, if she is alive, as the head of the family). A woman may have a number of “male friends” but only the brother of the woman, i.e., the uncle, of the children is present with the family. Other males visit only at night by coming in from the window, after midnight with the invitation. Each person in the family has an assigned place in the living area, with a separate door leading to a birth and death area outside the house.