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The Yi

  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 people.

  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 roof.
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 Yi The Yi The Yi

  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.

The Yi The Yi The Yi

  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.

The Yi The Yi The Yi The Yi
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All texts and image by Chen Hualong Email: tony6868@163.com alongdiscovery@hotmail.com
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