the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

The Akha Rice Festival

It is time for the rice harvest in Thailand, and to the Akha that means the celebration of the Haw Shui Dza (New Rice Festival). This celebration goes much further than the celebration of Rice, the staple element of the Akha diet, for they celebrate all of their harvest. Coffee, tea, corn, tomatoes, vegetables and fruits are part of the celebration. The harvest is a time of plenty, and though every year has its difficulties for the Akha, this is joyful time.

Yesterday we received a special treat and were able to go to Lawca Akha (Elephant Mountain Village) for their new rice celebration. This is the largest Akha village in all of Thailand and one of the most traditional Akha villages in Thailand, and we were honored to be invited to celebrate with them.

It's a rough road to Lawca, but it was worth it as we enjoyed singing, dancing, playing on the Akha Swing and - of course - the traditional Akha celebration meal of minced spicy pork (sa bieh), salsa (sa pi), soups, vegetables and new rice.

the Road to Elephant Mountainthe Firstfruitslaying out the feastLori and Jan enjoying the New RiceAkha Teenage Girls washing dishesAkha kids peering at the cameraAkha kids peering at the cameraAkha Swing FestivalElephant Mountain Akha Swing Festival

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