Girls rule, boys drool— that’s how the age-old saying goes, right? Well, although there is no confirmation on whether or not all the boys actually drool, in these three modern societies in Asia, girls definitely rule.
In Mosuo culture, everything is passed down matrilineally. Whether it’s overseeing household finances, managing ancestral property or passing down the family name and traditions, Mosuo women hold the utmost power in both their families and overall communities.
But perhaps what makes the Mosuo most famous are their “walking marriages” that replace the modern concepts “husband” and “father”. In a “walking marriage”, both partners live, care for and raise the children under the roof of their matriarchal homes during the day. At night, men are invited to visit and stay– but by sunrise, they get the boot!
When to Visit:
Chinese (Lunar) New Year
Also known as the “Spring Festival”, this is one the most important holidays in China and for the Mosuo, festivities last for fifteen days! Mosuos celebrate by smoking and salting an entire pig over their roofs and the treated meat can last up to 10 years! Besides its astonishing longevity, this little piggy also represents a family’s social status— the bigger the pig, the more wealth you have.
The Khasi – (Meghalaya, India)
Tucked away in the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya, India, lives a matriarchal society where women don’t just rule, they reign; meet the Khasis. For Khasis, the birth of a daughter is cause for monumental celebration. This is because women are exclusively given the power to make decisions regarding family, financial, community, public affairs and the entirety of a family’s ancestral property and wealth is given to its youngest daughter.
When to Visit:
Nongkrem Dance Festival
Don’t have fifteen days to spare for the festival? Don’t worry– you’re in for one heck of a celebration, if you can spare just a third of that. This five day, religious festival of the Khasis features a special performance of the Pemblang Nongkrem dance, performed to appease the all powerful Goddess Ka Blei Synshar (yep- even the celebrations are all about women) for a bountiful harvest and prosperity for the people.
The Minangkabau – (West Sumatra, Indonesia)
With a population of over 5 million, the Minangkabau take the cake for being the largest known matrilineal society of today. The Minangkabau are mostly followers of Islam and believe that their matrilineal way of life is in line with the Koran. Like the Khasi and Mosuo, they believe the mother to be the most important person in society and it is in the hands of these women to appoint and impeach clan chiefs.
When to Visit:
Muharram is an Islamic holiday that commemorates the heroic stories of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and his death. Every year, thousands of people gather in the city of Pariaman, Indonesia to celebrate the Tabuik– a local, Minangkabau interpretation of Muharram. Tabuik lasts for a whopping ten days and includes reenactments of the Battle of Karbala, traditional dancing called Silat and is most known for the high, elaborately decorated funeral piers carried around during remembrance procession.
So go ahead… embrace your inner Sasha Fierce (Beyonce’s alter ego), pack your bags, and get to these destinations where women run the world— literally.