Chinese Nation – Lhoba people

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The Lhoba people is a minority in China, with a total population of about 600000. Among them, more than 2300 people are in China-controlled areas.


The Lhoba people are mainly distributed in the Luoyu area of Tibet from Chayu in the east to menyu in the West. They are mainly engaged in agriculture and hunting. The Lhoba nationality has its own language and basically uses Tibetan. The Luba language belongs to the Tibeto Burmese language family of the Sino Tibetan language family.


Most of the Lhoba people live in the high mountains and valleys to the west of the great bend of the Yarlung Zangbo River. Until the middle of the 20th century, the society of the Luoba people was still at the end of the primitive society, and it is still following. Based on the oral legends handed down by their ancestors, the Lhoba people continue their own cultural traditions.


Lhoba people


Religious belief

The traditional way of production and life of the Lhoba nationality is the realistic soil for the birth of the original religious belief of the Lhoba nationality. Due to the differences in the production environment, unbalanced development, and different value orientation among the clans, the primitive religious beliefs among the clans are also complex and diverse.


In some ideas of Loba, there is no obvious distinction between the concepts of ghosts and God. They called “ghost”, “spirit”, “spirit” and “ghost” together as “Wu you”, namely “spirit” or “ghost”. They think that “Wu you” can be attached to any natural object and the human body so that natural objects and humans have the attributes of “spirit” and “ghost”. There are many kinds of “Wuyou”, all things exist, everywhere, which affect all fields of people’s production and life.


Witchcraft is one of the primitive religions of the Lhoba people. The Lhoba people say that the wizard is the only one who can talk to ghosts. Witches are not professional religious people and do not enjoy extraordinary authority. However, when there is no religious activity, they still live the life of ordinary people: production and labor, childbearing. There are two kinds of magic agents of Luoba Nationality: decimeter and new cloth.


Witchcraft is an important and regular activity of witches. There are many sacrificial activities of the Lhoba people, and witchcraft accompanies them in large sacrificial ceremonies. In case of natural disaster, human robbery, disease, plague, theft, revenge, fighting, and so on, witchcraft should be held, and the power of witchcraft should be relied on to drive away evil and punish evil, to eliminate disasters, and turn good into good. In history, the Lhoba people, who have been constantly disturbed by disasters, have made great efforts to seek spiritual relief in the wind and rain of witchcraft. There are quite complicated rituals in witchcraft activities such as praying, evocation, Exorcism, and curse. In addition to certain behaviors, witchcraft also includes performance, singing, modeling, depiction, and some magic tools, which have a great impact on the myths, ballads, music, dance, painting, sculpture, clothing, and even primitive science and technology of the Luoba nationality.


The national costumes of the Luoba nationality have been listed in the national intangible cultural heritage list.


Lhoba women



The Lhoba nationality has no clear year, month, and season and a careful calendar. The determination of the date is mostly based on the change of the moon and the change of the seasons according to the phenological knowledge. In some places, festivals are arranged by witches.


“Xudulong”: it is a festival commemorating and marking the festival of Luoba people in many areas. Its main content is to pray for a good harvest. Twelve changes of the moon represent a year. Generally, after the Xudulong Festival, the farming time of the Luoba people comes.


“Niu Festival”: Niu means “start sowing”, which can be translated as “sowing Festival”. The specific date is determined by each household.


Neptune Festival: “Neptune” means “build a small house in the field.”. It’s a festival for summer harvest in being a tribe.


Andi Ruomu Festival: “andI Ruomu” means “Celebrating the completion of early rice harvest”.


Longde Festival: a celebration held within the clan to pray for happiness and prosperity. It will be held once every three years or so, and the specific date will be determined by the liver divination.


“Dong Geng Gu Ru Mu”: This is a brand new year’s festival, which is held on December 15 of the Tibetan calendar. After a year of hard work, it means to celebrate the harvest.


The festival activities of the Lhoba nationality not only have the nature of wishing and celebrating a bumper harvest but also have the meaning of maintaining the prosperity of the people, blessing people to be harmed by ghosts, eliminating disasters, and ensuring safety. In recent decades, Tibetan and Han festivals have also become a must for the Luba people.


Lhoba festival


Food customs

The daily diet and food-making methods of the Lhoba people are basically the same as those of the Tibetan agricultural areas. Like to eat barbecue, dried meat, milk dregs, buckwheat cake, especially like to eat corn stir cooked rice Tuo and like to eat pepper. Vegetables include cabbage, rape, pumpkin, turnip, and potato. In addition to drinking highland barley wine, they often drink corn wine. The Lhoba people are used to making poison with wild plants, smearing it on arrows, and shooting wild animals. Most hunting activities are carried out collectively, and all wild animals are equally distributed.


Due to the scattered residence and inconvenient transportation of the Lhoba people, the dates of festivals vary from place to place and are generally set after the annual labor. Therefore, celebrating the new year’s festival includes celebrating the harvest, welcoming the new, and leaving the old. On the eve of the new year’s festival, every family has to pound rice to make wine, kill pigs and sheep, and rich families have to kill cattle. The Lhoba people in Ximeng called the new year’s Day “Tiaogeng grain and milk Festival”. At that time, the slaughtered pigs, cattle, and sheep were cut into pieces with their skins and distributed to the people of the same race. In many places, the ancient custom of “clan gathering” is still preserved. During the festival, the residents of the village should bring their own wine and meat together. The whole village, men and women, old and young, sit around on the ground, drink or eat meat, sing and laugh constantly, and carry out various recreational activities. Before the guests eat, the host should drink a glass of wine and have a bite of rice to show that the food is non-toxic and sincere to the guests. If the guests come from afar, the Luoba people will also offer their favorite dishes, such as dry meat, barbecue, milk dregs, corn wine, buckwheat cake, and pepper.


Lhoba food


Clothes & Accessories

The costumes of different regions of the Lhoba nationality are different, but they are very distinctive. In the long-term development process, Lhoba people have formed the aesthetic concept of praising and praising strength and bravery, which is prominently reflected in their clothing. In particular, the waist ornaments and eardrums are very particular. The waist ornaments are made of animal skin, the bag is decorated with seashells, and the waist is also decorated with chains, colored beads, a commander, small copper spoon-shaped chain, a sickle, string beads, a snuff bottle, a seal, and other accessories.


Both men and women of the Lhoba nationality like to wear ornaments. Men wear bracelets, Bamboo Earrings, necklaces, bows, arrows, long knives, etc. Women especially like to wear colorful beads. Sometimes they wear dozens or dozens of beads on their necks. With bracelets, earrings, copper bells, silver coins, iron chains, knives, sickles, seashells, and other accessories, they weigh more than ten Jin and can be filled with a bamboo basket. They are regarded as a sign of family wealth and an indispensable dowry. When the festival comes, women dress up, dance, and sing to each other.

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