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Yashen (Dumb God) Festival of Yi people

By : InKunming | Published: 2013-March-26

People perform dumb dance at Yashen (Dumb God) Festival.

Yashen (Dumb God) Festival is marked by the Yi people who live in a remote village named "Gaiwasa" in Nanjian County of Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province.

Thousands of years ago, people of Gaiwasa lived a rich life. However, most of them had been dumb from birth. The reason could be ascribed to an evil god (Dumb God) which was worshiped by people living in nearby "Axuluo" village. Unfortunately, all the people there were died from a sudden pestilence one year. So, there was no people worshiping Dumb God any more. The evil god came to Gaiwasa then, leaving most newborn babies deaf-and-dumb and damaging crops. It brought great disaster to people here. Elders of the village soon decided to hold a sacrificial ceremony to expel the god out from the village and pray for lucky and peace on the 8th day of the second lunar month. What was really weird is that the number of dumb people decreased gradually since then.

Today, the sacrificial ceremony has become a traditional custom for the people here. On the night of the 2nd lunar month (March in 2013), they dance around campfire, playing flute or sanxian (a three-stringed plucked instrument) at the same time

In fact, the festival is also considered as an expression of Yi people's admiration for nature. (Editor:Hyesung)

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