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Photographer's Note

This girl is just playing and not yet dressed up in her Akha clothing.
Perhaps the most important festival of the year is commonly known as the Swing Festival. The four-day Akha Swing Festival comes in late August each year and falls on the 108th day after that village has planted its rice. The Akha call the Swing Festival Yehkuja, which translates as "Eating Bitter Rice", a phrase which references the fact that last year’s rice supply would be dwindling and, with luck, monsoons will soon water their new crop. Festival activity includes ritual offerings to the family ancestral spirits at the ancestral altar located in a corner of the women’s side of the house. The offerings consist of bits of cooked food, water and rice whiskey. The swing festival is particularly important for Akha women who will display the clothing they spent all year making and who will show, through certain ornamentation, that they are becoming older and of marriageable age. Because the women on this occasion dress up in all their best traditional clothing and ornaments and perform traditional dance and song for the villagers, the Swing Festival is also known as Women’s New Year.

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Additional Photos by Fabian Blandford (fabianfred) Silver Note Writer [C: 1 W: 4 N: 25] (134)
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