INTRODUCTION: In a tiny, hill country village in north west thailand, Lisu villagers marked the start of the Chinese new year in a traditional ceremony on Saturday (19 February).
TV Lisu Hill Village.
SVs Villagers outside their huts. (2 shots)
CU Child playing
CU PULL BACK TO Women seated.
SV Piglets feeding
SV PAN DOWN Man standing on captured pig.
SV Man gutting pig with knife.
SCU Women watch as dead pig is carried away. (2 shots)
CU Man singeing bristles off pig.
SV Musicians and male dancers join female dancers in dance around a bottle of corn whisky and a piece of pork on ceremonial altar (oil drum) (2 shots)
Initials VS 16.45
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In a tiny, hill country village in north west thailand, Lisu villagers marked the start of the Chinese new year in a traditional ceremony on Saturday (19 February).
SYNOPSIS: Only 150 people live in the remote village in the mountains. they lead a simple life and move every 20 years to find more arable land for their crops. they moved southwards from Chinese borderlands, apparently under Chinese pressure, centuries ago, but the Chinese cultural influence remains strong.
A highlight of their year is the traditional ceremony to welcome in the new year. This year, under Chinese horoscopes, they farewelled the year of the dragon and welcomed the year of the snake. It should mean a year of wise solutions to political and diplomatic problems.
A focal point for the celebrations is the ceremonial killing of a pig. It's included in an enormous feast which is a highlight. The cooking takes place away from any strangers, who, it's feared, would interfere with the spirits.
The ceremonies last for two days and are the end results of a large amount of preparation of food and corn whisky. Special costumes are brought out for the occasion.
The new year provides one of the few opportunities for villagers to break away from their normal routine of cultivating rice, corn, vegetables and fruits.
Throughout the two days, the women villagers dance almost continuously while the men play the music. The dance begins in front of the village leader's house and then moves to every house in the village. In the village centre, a special altar is set up with a bottle of corn and a piece of pork for the ancestor's spirits on it. The young men also seek wives in their own and neighbouring villages.