If you are the type of person who loves adventures and discovering new cultures in the world, note Lijiang as a must-come destination on your bucket list. Lijiang is the home of the Mosuo people, right beside the romantic and tranquil scene of the Lugu Lake. This amazing land is also known as an interesting name – the “Kingdom of Women” in China.

Partially because of its unique name, the land has long become a famous attraction to a lot of tourists to visit every year.

The Mosuo tranquil villages are located on the banks of the Lugu Lake between the borders of Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces in the southwest of China. There are about more than 40 thousand people living in

several groups sharing the same traditional culture.

It takes around 6 hours by car to reach the Mosuo villages from the nearest city. There is limited connection between the Mosuos’s daily life and the modern life of cities. That is one of the reasons why the tribe could still maintain their unique culture till today.

Make a getaway to the Lugu Lake and visit the Mosuo’s villages to discover how amazing their culture is. The most interesting tradition of the Mosuo that makes me surprised is zouhun or “walking marriages”. The point is that the Mosuo women have the right to pick their partners based on their own preferences. It sounds quite weird, right? But do not be so surprised, that is how the organization of the Mosuo society is represented. Women can choose to have as many husbands as they want during their lifetime. When a woman has interest on a man, she sends an invitation to his family to invite the man to come and stay overnight. After that “night of destiny”, she would decide whether she wants him to be her future children’s father or not. But traditionally, married couples do not live under the same roof, their children would be brought up in the women’s family together. Their brothers and uncles play the role of their fathers in the house. 

At the same time, it does not mean men are not needed at all, they are also essential parts of the Mosuo society. They build timber houses in the villages, they go fishing to provide food for the villages and they also take part in the trading process with other societies in other areas.

As I mentioned above, men do not live with their wives and their biological kids, so they are not in charge financially for their kids, but for their nephews and nieces whom they are living with under the same roof.

The Mosuo is described as the last matriarchal society on the planet that still could maintain their cultural traditions. In a bigger society, men could hold some political positions, while at home, it all depends on women who have the right to make all crucial decisions controlling the whole family.

In addition, Mosuo females inherit their moms’ property and wealth. This explains how they could pass

on the power and authority to other female generations.

During my unforgettable trip to Lijiang, I had a chance to meet a local Mosuo musician – Yang Zhaxi.

He helped me out a lot in understanding his unique culture thoroughly.

He was brought up by his mom, aunties and uncles but not living in the same house with his own dad. Zhaxi told me that the bond between a father and his son all depends on the father’s character. If the father is a nice and responsible person, no matter how bad the marriage is, he still takes care of his children and support them all the time in all terms during their lifetime. 

One more interesting thing about the Mosuo marriages is that they do not force women and men to get married with each other. They leave the relationships develop in their own natural ways. When a woman fall in love with a man, she would give him a special gift such as a belt, flowers or even an iPhone to express her feelings toward him.

But the thing is that the Chinese government does not accept the Mosuo as an official minority group of the country because of their small population. So Zhaxi takes his identity card as a Mongolian citizen.

Yang Zhaxi chose the way different from his cousins, he decided to marry a Han Chinese woman. He is now living with his wife and his beautiful children in the same house being responsible for their daily life. He believes that the way he is leading his personal life now is quite simpler than his cultural past life within the Mosuo society. But it is not like he denies his root entirely, he still takes care of his sister’s kids and supports them all the time.

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