Sunday, April 11, 2010

020107 Akha ferris wheel

Akha ferris wheel (left foreground) vs. Western ferris wheel (right background):


Made from wood + bamboo + 4 strips of cloth ('straps' for the seats) + a few nails:


Close up of structure - no idea what the mineral water bottle is for:


YT, Aki, YH & JL on board:


YK runs over to take YT's place:


A rather short Akha swing:


The swing (la cheu) & ferris wheel (kam la la cheu) are built for the annual Akha Swing Festival celebrations aka. Akha Women's New Year, held around late August to early September - 108 days (9 Akha weeks; an Akha week has 12 days) after the first planting of rice (around May). Village men build the swing from 4 slender trees, & have to take care not to let their shadows fall across any of the four holes in the ground during the construction process. Once completed it will be used for only 3 days (including the day it was built) - after that it cannot be touched by anyone until the next Swing Festival, when it will be dismantled to make way for a new swing. Like the spirit gates, it's a clear symbol to outsiders that the village in which it stands is Akha. Apart from the big fat village swing, some households also make mini swings in their house compound for younger kids to play with.

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