Funeral ceremony of the Lo Lo

funeral ceremony of the lo lo hinh 0

The Lo Lo believe that to die is to join one’s ancestors and begin a new life, so people shouldn’t feel particularly sad when their relatives die. The head of the household invites a shaman to conduct the funeral ceremony. 

The worship offering should include a chicken, steamed glutinous rice, and alcohol. The chicken is deemed to be a guide who will conduct the dead person on the long journey across mountains and rivers to return to his or her ancestral land. 

The relatives and neighbors attending the funeral bring food to contribute to the funeral meal.

Bronze drums are indispensable musical instruments at any ritual ceremony. They represent the soul of the Lo Lo and the drum sounds lead the soul of the deceased to meet the ancestors. 

The patriarch of the village is in charge of keeping the drums. A set of bronze drums consists of a male drum and a female drum. The female drum is bigger and makes a louder sound than the male drum.

“Normally the bronze drums are buried in the ground. They are unearthed when there is a funeral. If one family wants to borrow the drums, they must offer a chicken and a dish of steamed glutinous rice on the ancestral altar before and after using it,” said Lu Di Dieng of the Lo Lo. 

Believing that the deceased will begin a new life in a different world, the Lo Lo organize many activities at the funeral ceremony such as a disguise ritual, singing, and dancing to the beat of the bronze drums. The women wear their most beautiful clothes to the funeral.

“The dance of the forest men” is an indispensable part of the funeral. Four single men disguise themselves with leaves as their ancestors did in the past. They lead the funeral procession and dance, imitating the gestures of sowing seeds, planting and picking corn, pounding rice, and weaving.

The Lo Lo men mourn their father while the women mourn their mother. The funeral service of the Lo Lo has changed over the years. 

The “dance of the forest men” has been reformed into a performance to introduce the Lo Lo culture to tourists.



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