Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway
The Liude were one of 260 ethnic groups in Yunnan Province who applied for recognition as minority nationalities in the 1950s. The central authorities rejected the Liude, along with 90% of the other groups in Yunnan. Instead, the Liude were officially placed in the Yi nationality. The Liude are closely related to the 7,000 Talu people who live in the same area.
For centuries the Liude, along with other Yi groups, have celebrated weddings with great excitement. Traditional customs are followed. According to one observer at a Yi wedding, "When we came to the bride's home, we saw many groups of girls busily filling jars, basins and even trays with water to be poured on the young fellows who came to take the bride to her new husband's home. At sunset, the escort team arrived at the bride's house with wine and meat as gifts. The moment they stepped into the house, the girls started splashing them with water. According to local custom, the young men could not counter-attack; all they could do was try and dodge. After the watersplashing, the girls began to smear the young men's faces with soot scraped from the bottom of a pan. This is actually a kind of social activity among the youth of the Yi nationality, giving them opportunity for furthering their acquaintance and possibly falling in love."
According to Chinese writer Wu Si, the wedding rituals continue the following day, starting before sunrise. "The bride was carried pickaback out of her home by a male cousin. Local customs forbid a bride to start the journey after daybreak and, no matter how great the distance, she is not allowed to let her feet touch the ground. But where was the groom? Well, he was not to be seen that day. On the following day the bride was escorted back to her own home by her cousin and stayed there for a night, and only then did the groom, accompanied by some of the young men of his village, appear. The party carried wine and meat and herded before them sheep and hogs, gifts for the bride's family. Even then it was a few more days before the groom could send people to his wife's home to bring her back. Then, and only then, were the couple considered man and wife."
The Liude have many gods and spirits that must be appeased in order to maintain order in the community. Ancestors are also worshiped.
There has never been a church or a known Christian among the Liude. They are one of many desperately needy unreached people groups living in the mountains of northern Yunnan Province.