Home > Culture

Ji Huo Festival of Yi people
Publication time:2020-04-09  | Author:Hyesung,Minnie Mao

Ji Huo Festival, which is said to has a history of more than 1000 years, is celebrated by the Axi people on the third day of the second lunar month every year to worship the fire (March 14 in Gregorian calendar this year) .

jihuo.jpg

The Axi, who are mainly living in Mile County, Shilin Yi Autonomous County, Luxi County and Qiubei County in Yunnan Province, is a branch of the Yi ethnic group. So far, they still keep many original customs.

Legend has it that there was no fire in the ancient Axi tribe. At that time, the tribe was frequently attacked by beasts. However, the predicament was then turned around when a villager named Mu Deng Sai Lu found a way to get fire--drilling wood to make fire. Finally, the villager get the fire on the third day of the second lunar month, leading to the new life of the Axi people. For them, fire brings light and warmth, cooked food and can drive away beasts. Hence, they admire fire as their god. In order to commemorate the villager, they choose the day to held sacrificial ceremony.

When the festival comes, people wear traditional costumes and get together, playing Sanxian ( a three-stringed instrument) and dancing joyously to welcome guests. At noon, locals often enjoy various Yi-style foods and sit together on pine needle-paved ground. The sacrificial ceremony begins after that. Young men and boys paint bizarre patterns on their skins and start to make fire by drilling rotten wood. After a while, sparks are generated. All people cheer for this. It's easier to make fire now than in old days as they have put a few gunpowder in the hole, introduced local villagers. People sing and dance to express their enthusiasm and happiness and pray for a better year.

Text from:kunming.cn editor: Arzhuodi  |  announcer: Arzhuodi