The Batek firmly oppose laughter yet they sometimes laugh together anyway, feeling guilty about engaging in the forbidden activity. Their prohibition against laughing is an important part of a complex of beliefs regarding the natural and supernatural agents that surround them in their Malaysian forest homes. Alice Rudge, an anthropologist who is employed by the […]

An old Lepcha ritual honoring “Mother Nature” and its bounties was one of the focus points of a celebration called Muk Zek Ding Rum Faat in Pangthang, Sikkim, on February 23. A news story about the celebration published on the 26th used the gendered term for nature. The Sikkim Lepcha Youth Association, which organized the […]

The participants in a three-day program designed to provide awareness of the Paliyan people came away from the event last week cherishing a strong admiration for the peaceful tribal society. The Times of India published a news story on Monday last week about the three-day educational and cultural event held in Pannaikadu village, a Paliyan […]

Cherishing the Lepcha culture while searching for ways to strengthen their society were the basic themes of a day-long conference held in Gangtok, Sikkim, on April 27. The Balipara Foundation, based in Assam, India, sponsored the conference titled “Community, Conservation and Livelihoods: The Lepcha Community” held at Sikkim University. One news report about the event […]

Peter Gardner describes the ways the Paliyans employ “a tranquilizer,” a flower that angry individuals crush and press to their foreheads to dissipate anger. In a 1966 journal article, the anthropologist, reviewing several approaches they use for social control, mentions that they use the flowers of sirupani pu, or “laughing flower,” for help in preserving […]

The authors of a recent journal article found that what they call the “folk ornithological taxonomies” in two Zapotec mountain villages of Oaxaca demonstrate that the people in both communities are intimately familiar with their local birdlife. The three authors, G. Alcantara-Salinas, E.S. Hunn, and J. E. Rivera-Hernandez, catalog the birds they have seen and […]

Dorjee Tshering Lepcha sits on his floor cross-legged every morning and chants, asking the spirits to forgive him for any intrusions he might make that day against nature. He plays a tune on his flute to welcome the day and to add to the sincerity of his plea in advance for forgiveness. The room where […]