Posted by greentea on August 21st, 2011 | 25 comments | 1105 views
Musuo people’s Walking Marriage is not a legondary history, but everyday’s life.
In southwest china, the border of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, there is a beautiful lake called Lugu Lake. Around Lugu lake, there are about 50,000 Mosuo people living there. They are mongolian descendants. They have their own language but no written words. They have a very special culture. Men and woman don’t marry as other peoples do. There are no husband and wife in a family. They practice a unique style of relationship between men and women, Walking Marriage or night visit.
In Musuo society, women are in charge of daily life affairs. Inheritance is through female line. Women take care of the family business, make decisions, cleaning, tending the fire, cooking, gathering firewood, feeding the livestock, and spinning and weaving….
What men do? They are in charge of livestock( for example slaughtering pigs…) and fishing, these skills they learned from their uncles, and also save their energy for their night visit.
When a girl is 13 years old, a special ceremony is held for celebrating her being an adult. And she can go out for parties or socialize. She is given a room, which is called flower room. Later when she grows older, she could take her lover back. Every year there is a big carnival. Young people get to know each other from dancing and singing. The ones who are in love with each other, they make their appointment to go to girls room for the night visit.
The rule is: a man must get into his girl’s room through window and the girls are always live in the second floor. If he dares to get into it from the door, his reputation is ruined. The girl’s family will contempt him forever. I talked to my taxi driver who is a Mosuo man. He told me he had been visiting his woman for 4 years and they had a son. After the son was born, he now could go to the girl’s room through door. But if he and his woman break up, and if he start another relationship with anther girl, he had to climb window again. So he told me Mosuo men mus stay fit and strong and agile, or he would be miserable.
The children belong to women’s family. Men never stay with their children. They live in their sister’s house all his life. The children’s fatherly love is given by uncles, for the uncles live in the home not the father. Men don’t need to take responsibility to the children at all, but they may go to give a hand when the mother’s home need help, such as building a new house or some other work which require male strength, but it is not a must. Father and children’s relation is more like relatives. They would buy some gift to their children at some special occasion, such as new year time or school ceremony.
Although they don’t have a signed paper to guarantee their relationship, they stay loyal to each other. This Walking Marriage is not a casual thing. Both sides value it seriously. While it is possible for a Mosuo woman to change partners as often as she likes, few Mosuo women have more than one partner at a time. Many relationships are long term and some of them are lifelong relationship. My taxi driver told me, when a relationship is over, they would sit down and make a long talk, and then they start again. And there is no money involved.
Now many Mosuo people have accepted modern education and some men started paying attention to their children. My taxi driver told me, he sometimes bought gift to his son or went play with him, but he had not had dinners with his son and the mother.
If you think it is a very good life to Mosuo men, well sort of. Sometimes a man may live 20 km away from his woman and he has to ride his horse or cross mountains or paddle his boat to get to her. He is only allowed to get into the house in total darkness and he must leave before the day breaks. But my taxi driver and his woman live in same village, he is a lucky man.
If you happen to travel to Yunnan province, I strongly recommend you to visit Lugu lake. It is the most beautiful lake I have ever seen.
Thanks for reading and sorry for my poor English
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