The Mosuos, a branch of the Naxi nationality with a
population of about 15000, are the main ethnic group scattered in
the lakeside villages. The Mosuo women wear long hair tied into a
bun and red, green and black garments and white folding skirts
with colorful sashes tied round their waists. Before 13 years old,
they usually wear long gowns. After the initiation ceremony at the
age of 13, men wear trousers and women wear skirts.
The Mosuo people have their own ways and customs, still retain
some remnants of the matriarchal society. Men and women are not
bound by marriage, each living at one's mother's home. Men work at
home during the day and spend their night with the women they love
in their homes. Children are under the care of and supported by
their maternal families. Fathers do not live in the same family
with their children and women so that they are not bound up with
their women financially in their production and life. This unique
wedlock values affection and gives more freedom to men and women
in their relationships. They may choose to unite or separate at
will. It has been considered as the living fossil as a basis for a
study of social patterns and matriarchal marriage customs in
today' s world.
The Mosuo wooden houses are built
with square - dogged timber in the style of "jingangshi building",
also called Mulengfang (Timber House). The Naxi Villages look
graceful and unaffected. The Zhuanshan Festival (the Festival of
Turning - around the Mountain) which falls on 25th July of the
lunar year is the traditional festival of the Mosuo people. On
that day they would dres in their Sunday best to worship the Gemu
Goddess Mountain (the Lion Mountain) and pray for the Goddess'
protection. It is also a time for horse racing, wrestling and
antiphonal sining. The young people take the chance to search for
their lovers, whom they call Axia.