The Lahu New Year is called “Kho Jouw We” . There is no fixed time for New Year but it usually occurs after the harvest, maybe in Febuary, March or April of each year. It is not important for every village to perform the New Year celebration at the same time. When New Year arrives, the members of the village who work away from home will come back to their hometown to celebrate New Year together. A black pig is killed to worship Gue Za god whom Lahus pay a high respect to. Then, the pork is cooked for everyone. In addition, in New Year time, Lahus (Moo Ser) will pound sticky rice to make a ball called “Aor Phu” or “Khow Puk” which is the offering for the Gue Za god.
It takes 12 days to celebrate Lahu New Year. It is divided into 2 periods; women’s New Year which is called “Kho Luang or Pee Yai” and men’s New Year which is called “Kho Noi or Pee Lek”. They both last for 6 days beginning with the women’s and ending with the men’s. Every night there is a dance called “Ka khaw We” in the evening until dawn. In the daytime, men and women gather to play pitch-and-toss and cloth ball throwing. The ball is the same size as a first and contains husk or chaff inside. In the past, Lahu men would often be away from the villiage hunting, trading or at war. Therefore they would often come back late and miss the celebrated time. So, the festival was divided into Women’s New Year and Men’s New Year, after the harvest the women would start the festival allowing the men to continue when they returned home.
Nowadays, Lahus still separate their new year into the two parts, Kho Luang and Kho Noi. But men and women join in the celebrations together. At first, people are enthusiastic to join the celebrations, but as the festival goes on people get tired and less and less people take part.
A wax candle is lit to thank god for giving them peace and fertility. In another Lahu ceremony called “Aor Ree Te Da We” people visit another village and bring pork or Kaw Puk (the lump of sticky rice) as an offering of peace for the other village. They will pour water on the hands of an elder person in order to pay respect and dance around the ceremonial courtyard before going back home. A few day’s later, that village will hold the “Aor Ree Te Da We” ceremony in return as well.
When New Year is near to the end, Lahu people have to give a material offering to the Wor tree and Eur Za god. They then ask for blessing to have happiness, good health, and fertility.
The holy day for Lahu is held on the fifteenth waxing and waning day of the moon. The holy day is the third day of new year. People give up eating meat, killing animals and drinking alcohol. They believe that holy day is their recreative day. In the evening, they pour water on the hands of the elder to show their respect. Then, To Bo will bless for everybody. In addition, late at night, there are religious activities in Hoe Yae (temple) and they dance with drums and play a reed organ in the presence of the Wor tree for pleasure.