The Yi of Guizhou live in compact in Weining, Dafang, Hezhang,
Bijie, Nayong, Zhijin, Qianxi, Shuicheng, Panxian, Liuzhi. Also
in Anshun region and the southwest of Guizhou, there are a few Yi
The Yi are engaged
in agriculture and stock raising, the crops include corn, potatoes,
wheat, buck wheat and rice. Tobacco and rape seeds are the cash
crops. As an important industry in the northwest of Guizhou, stock
raising was renowned since the Ming dynasty, now became one of the
important animal husbantry regions.
Yi villages are mostly
built on the flat slope or plain lands between hills. The houses
are built with clay, the frame is made of wood, and usually the
house roof is flat, so the farmers can dry crops in the sun on the
Corn wine is a favorite drink for among the Yi, sipping wince from
the vat is an unique custom of the Yi. In the northwest of Guizhou,
the Yi also have a tradition of drinking tea from clay vats.
The dark blue and
blue are popularly used by Yi for their costume. Young men wear
short buttoned jacket and long trousers tied with a white belt.
Old men wear dark blue or white scarf, wide trousers tied with dark
belts. Old women wear black or dark blue scarf, they also wear some
simple silver ornaments such as hairpin. At the market in the town
of Xueshan, Weining, one can see Yi old women in embroidered apron
and embroidered shoes.
According the tradition,
the Yi can not marry the other who has the same ancestor, and the
choosing of his or her love partner is free. During festivals, Yi
young boys and girls get together and sing folk songs to each to
seek for their sweet heart. There are lots of ceremonious activities
such as crying for the wedding, antiphonal singing, beating relatives,
carrying bride on back.
In the past, the Yi
practised cremation, the ash stored in poterry pots is left in caves
or ground forming a shape of earth bun, thus called "Xingtian
grave". The burial in the ground became more popular instead
of cremation after the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Yi believe that
everything has souls, so they worship their ancestor during festivals
or the important occasions. A few of them were converted to catholicism
and Chistianity thanks to the effect from outside world.
Every year the Yi
spend many festivals with lots of mysterious ceremonies, the main
festivals include " Torch festival", " Mountain worshipping
festival" and " Horse race festival".
The Torch festival
is the largest and most grand festival among the Yi, The Yi people
spend the festival on the 24th day of the 6th lunar month, it lasts
three days. The grand ones are in Yanchang, Xueshan, Longjie and
Niupeng of Weining, Pugu of Panxian. The activities includes horse
race, antiphonal singing, firing torch. The purpose of firing torch
is to kill harmful insects so as to have a good harvest of crops.