AKHA

The Akha are believed to originate from S. China or Tibet. Linguistically they belong to the Tibeto-Burman group and they are related to the Lolo tribes of Yunnan (S. China). The Hani tribe in Yunnan province is very similar to the Akha. Most Akha are to be found in Northern Burma, NW Laos and Northern Thailand; which would support the view that they migrated southwards from Tibet and China.
It is thought that the first Akha came to Thailand sometime in the nineteenth century and settled north of the Kok River. Since then they have moved southwards but the majority are still to be found in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces.
In Thailand there are 2 types of Akha; the U Lo and the Loimi. They can be distinguished by their costumes and headdress. The U Lo wear a conical headdress and generally have many more coloured pattern on the sleeves of their coat. The Loimi are easily recognisable by the distinctive metal plate on the back of the women's headdress.

Akha Loimi woman

The Akha prefer to live at an elevation of over 1,000m. They practice shifting cultivation growing dry rice, corn, vegetables, peppers and beans. They also raise buffaloes, pigs and chickens.
Akha believe in spirits, including ancestor spirits, friendly and malicious spirits as well as many others. Spirit gates are found on the outside of every Akha village - there are two at opposite ends of the village. These gates protect the village from the many spirits outside.

In the Akha village an Akha man normally has one wife. In one house you will find an extended family living there but the house will be partly divided into, one section for the women and one for the men. Married couples will have a smaller house apart from the large family house.

Akha U Lo girl

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    Last updated:    02/11/02 20:10:13