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Fascinating facets of Yi culture

By Guo Xiaoya | 2015-01-08 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)
Torch Festival
Lacquerwork of Yi
Located in the southwest of Sichuan Province, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture has the largest population of Yi ethnic group in China who has their own fascinating culture.
The Torch Festival
As an important traditional festival of the Yi, Bai, Naxi and Jinuo ethnic groups, the Torch Festival is usually celebrated on the 24th day of the sixth month of Chinese Lunar Calendar, of which the major events include bullfighting, cockfighting, goatfighting, horse racing, wrestling, singing and dancing performance, and beauty pageant.
In a beauty pageant, not only women but men are also joined; along with physical beauty, personality, virtue and talent are all taken into consideration.
The results of the bullfighting, cockfighting and goatfighting are a matter of great importance to the Yi people, which is believed to be an indication of whether they will have a good harvest and good life the next year. The cattle chosen for fighting are well-fed and well-trained and are even not loaded to be well prepared for fighting.
The Torch Festival itself is a three-day event, which shows the Yi’s worship for fire. The Yi will hold the torches high while dancing and singing in circles, lightening the sky with hundreds of thousands of torches.
The Yi’s favorite colors
Black, red and yellow are their favorite colors, black associated with the land, red, fire and yellow, the ray of the sun. The three colors are seen in their clothing, lacquerwork and architecture.
The traditional Yi costumes are mainly in black, red and yellow, and require stringent standards. Now most Yi girls are wearing modern clothing with more colors to look prettier.
The earliest lacquerwork of the Yi is said to date back to 1600 years ago, which is an important part of the Yi’s artifacts. Some are wine sets, some are for daily use; some are for warfare, while some are for decoration.
In Liangshan, thetile roof-ed house is referred to as one of the legends of Chinese folk residence because of its complicated structure where no single nail is used.
Guo Xiaoya is journalist of Chinese Social Sciences Today.
(Translated by Jiang Hong)