Mosuo Culture

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Even though the roles of women in today’s society are prominent and recognized, there is an invisible barrier that prevents women from moving up in the organizational hierarchy. This is known as the glass ceiling (Rue & Byars 2009, p. 10). However, it is a different case for Mosuo, an agrarian ethnic group of approximately 50000 people living in Lugu Lake, high in the Himalaya, Yunnan province of China (Sklaroff 2007, p. 63). This group is known as one of the last matriarchal societies in the world, whereby female plays the leading roles and holds power in almost every aspect of the family’s lives (Anitei 2006). The other thing that makes them unique is the practice of “walking marriage” in their culture, which will be further discussed in this essay. As with most other communities, religion plays an important role in the daily life of the Mosuo. Tibetan Buddhism and Daba have been practiced for thousands of years. Daba, a native religion with unwritten scripture, was orally handed down from generation to generation (Shih, C.K, 2009). The priests, who are also called Daba, are believed to communicate with kuchu, the spirit of ancestors, and they exorcise the biechu, spirits of unrelated ghosts which might bring disaster and diseases to the community (Shih, C.K, 2009). Every Mosuo house has a hearth which is the source of light, and also functions as a cooking tool and a place of worship. A small amount of the Mosuo’s meals will be given to the ancestors by placing it on a stone called guo zhong behind that hearth. Daba was the main religion practiced until Tibetan Buddhism was brought to the region in 1276 (Shih, C.K, 2009). However, against the traditional Tibetan Buddhism, Mosuo lamas consume meat. In addition, there is no female lama or daba, therefore a boy who born in a family of more than one male children will be sent to be a lama. Unlike other monks, they live with families and do not practice celibacy. Instead, they practice walking marriages like

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