AngMaTu Festival of Hani Ethnic Minority in Yuanyang County, Honghe


AngMaTu(昴玛突/祭龙日/新米节)-the most magnificent festival of Hani Ethnic Minority(哈尼族) in Yuanyang County(元阳县), Yunnan, which is hold before the begging of spring cultivate season(in the mid-January usually) every year. As a sacrificial activity ,local people pray for good weather to their crops 、fruitful harvest ,all people and domestic animals can be blessed with peace in the next year by this ceremony. As the developing of age, this activity has became the most magnificent festival of Hani Ethnic Minority.

AngMaTu festival will lasting 3-5 days generally, during the festival, the passionate Hani people those are good at singing and dancing would dancing in circle as their pleases without considering your age and gender ,singing for the happy life. The banquet is arranged along the street can up to more than 300 dining tables and as long as several hundred meters make it looks like a legendary Chinese it is called chang-long-banquet. At the banquet, the moral and respectable elder men in the village sitting at the forepart of the line(the head of dragon) , women sitting at the end of the line(the tail of dragon), the others sitting at the middle of the line. All villagers drink home-made rice wine together and enjoy the delicacies that was elaborately cooked by housewives. This scene can be regarded as a competition about cooking also filled with the mildness of lives, and also presented the spirit of consolidation of Hani people. If you are happen to here this time, the hospitable Hani people will invite you sit together and share the happy life with them.

Every begging of December by solar calendar (about 10 October by lunar calendar) is their own spring festival- AngMaTu festival of Hani people who lived in Harbor(哈播)village Erzha(俄扎) Countryside Yuanyang(元阳) County Yunnan Province China..This festival is especially to Hani people to pray the God to bless their village and pray the dragon for rain(in ancient Chinese fairy tale, Chinese dragon is in charge of the rainfall submit to the order of God).At the first day of festival ,the village head will come to the center of the dragon forest where located in the village head to set the sacrificial altar, butcher the pure-colored leather pig and inviting the dragon respectfully to the festival. After that, the village head cut the pork into pieces in terms of the number of families in this village then distributed them to every family to share.

Long-street Banquet

On the second day of AngMaTu festival, every family need to prepare yellow polished glutinous rice, coloring eggs, pork, fish, duck, preserved beef, preserved Jizi meat(a special local product ),hammer beef, cooked peanuts etc, nearly 40 Hani flavor dishes, wine is prepared and carried to the given center of street and arranged in line, every family is responsible for 1-2 table, so all these dining tables come from the inhabitant are put in line along the street formed a more than 700 meters long banquet in the center of the street(which is called chang-long-banquet or The banquet in the center of street by local people),this is the longest banquet in China.

When the banquet is arranging, drums are beaten violently to celebrate and happiness can be seen everywhere, all the people in the village in their splendid attire ,lead their children and the old men were supported by the arm come from vicinity to join this activity. When the banquet is serving ,the host village head sitting the seat of honor ,the other people can sit together voluntary according to their gender ,age, interest etc. before the dishes put on the table, they must be carried to the front of village head and invite him to taste, accept his sincerely toast. The village head put part of the dishes from every table and piled them up, then distributed to the other place. This kind of mixed dish means all the villagers pray to the dragon with one heart and spend the festival happily together.

With the starting of long-street-banquet, the village head lead all the villagers lift their wineglass highly to pray a good weather to their crops in the future. Anyone who join the banquet should take the pork that had been cut into small sheets and placed in the middle of the table at first , to indicate the dragon has already in your heart, then have other dishes. If tourists meet the long-street-banquet by chance , people will give up his seat for you willing and ask you to join them. treat you warmly. Every year more than 4000 people join the long-street-banquet ,the hosts and the guests enjoy the delicacy, drinking a toast together full of joy. During the dining time, with the stimulation of alcohol, the old man would singing and dancing with accompany of various instruments. After the meal, young people make an engagement in the bamboo forest to enjoy their sweet time. When the banquet come to PM 5,the village head beat the drum, walked around the table and pass by the foot of dragon tree, other people will see him off palm to palm; which means send the dragon home .In the midnight, when the banquet is dismissed ,young people can carry on their romantic stories until tomorrow, Such activities would continue for three whole days.

AngMaTu festival, revealed Hani Ethnic Minority’s conception to water and their worship to dragon in their cultivate culture ,and also reflected Hani Ethnic Minority’s traditional virtue of industrious, .simple, help each other and so on.

Intangible Cultural Heritage

On 18 May 2018,the third series national None material cultural heritage category was published by Culture Department of China(newly included). “AngMaTu festival of Hani Ethnic Festival“ applied by Yuanyang county Yunnan Province is approved and listed in the category of intangible cultural heritage of national custom.

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Checked by Bella Ren/任新月