By late August of each year, the rice the Akha people have planted on the hillsides has grown tall enough to escape the suffocating grasp of the rainy season weeds. In the short rest interval before the grueling harvest begins in October, the Akha have two important ceremonies, the first of which is the famous Akha Swing Ceremony.
The swing ceremony which lasts four days begins with a day of fasting, followed on the second day by the construction of a gigantic swing comprised of four freshly cut trees planted into the ground at the highest point in the village and yoked together at the top. Indeed, one of the most fantastic sights at the swing ceremony is watching the high-wire act of two barefoot Akha men 10 meters up in the trees tethering them together.
After the swing is constructed and consecrated, a smaller, but possibly more clever, Akha Ferris wheel
is built nearby. Three days of rainy, muddy jubilation follow on the two new village toys, but at sunset on the fourth day of the ceremonies, the swing is tied up and is not to be touched for the remainer of the year.