thePULL – Torch Festival 火把节   1 comment

 

Fire. The element that can destroy whole cities, the burning spirit of a dancing life.

For the minority groups of Yunnan and Sichuan, the Torch Festival 火把节 (Huo Ba Jie) is one that worships just that – Fire.
EDIT: Occuring on July 25th 2011, and every 6th month, 24th day of the lunar calendar, the Torch Festival is one to see.

[Remember the basic safety tips when travelling to remote areas:
–   Get a local speaking guide.
–   Stay indoors during the night. Safety is number one.
–   Make sure you or your guides and friends bring medicines
–   Safeguard your things!
–   Boil your water, even if it comes from a bottle]

THE LEGENDS:

For the Pumi nationalities in Ninglang County (宁蒗, northeast of Lijiang 丽江市, Yunnan), the Pumi worship the Goddess of Fire, named Ang Gumi with a grand celebration for her kindness. As we have yet to experience the activity for our first time, the following is an excerpt from Cultural-China.com while we await the arrival:

On the day of Torch Festival, the Pumi nationality in Ninglang County usually holds sacrificial activities to praise the Goddess of Fire. It’s said that the Goddess of Fire worshiped by Pumi people is called Ang Gumi, who is originally the female ancestor of Mosuo nationality. For the sake of the happiness of her offspring and the neighboring Pumi nationality, she once stole fire from the Heaven Palace with her body being a torch so as to bring fire to the Mosuo and Pumi people. In order to remember her kindness forever, the Pumi nationality then made the day when fire was brought to the world as a festival to sacrifice the goddess.

On early festival morning, the people of each village will plant a huge pine tree symbolizing the Goddess of Fire. Then the trees are put up with small torches, the number of which shall be equal to the population of each village. In the afternoon, after animal sacrifice is offered to the “incarnation” of the goddess, the eldest lady in the village will light up the “incarnation”, while other participants will each get a torch from the tree and light it up. After that, led by the old lady, everyone will perform the Guozhuang Dance in praise of the goddess’s greatness. Then the people in groups will sing and dance around the village, field and mountain forest with torches in hand.

” Other activities like song and dance parties, horse races, bullfights, arrow shooting, wrestling, tugs-of-wars and swinging etc are also held during the festival. And there are trade fairs going on. In some areas, various religious rituals are performed to pray for a harvest.

In a horse race of the Yi people in Yunnan, torches are used to form multiple hurdles for riders to get through;
the Hani people in Yunnan traditionally attach various fruits to torches with strings. When the strings are broken after the torches are ignited, people scramble for the fruits for good luck.
For the Lisu people in Sichuan, the festival is an occasion for holding grand torch parades. Big torches are carried by the procession, which is like a fire dragon. If several processions from different directions meet, it is a tradition to swap the big torches with one another.

Dubbed “the Carnival of the Orient”, the Torch Festival is a traditional and age-old grand festival among some ethnic minorities in China.”

We will get back to you when the celebration happens, or join us when it does.
Sparks will fly ~

Darwin

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One response to “thePULL – Torch Festival 火把节

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  1. Pingback: thePULL: Torch Festival UPDATE « thePULL @ Pullman Lijiang Resort & Spa

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