Haoxizao Festival of Jinuo Ethni Minority

Chinese Name: 基诺族好希早节(新米节)
English Name: Haoxizao Festival of Jinuo Ethni Minority

Haoxizao Festival of Jinuo Ethnic Minority also called Axizao Festival, people celebrate this festival on Tiger’s Day (every 12 days will be a Tiger Day), on lunar month of August and September, the grain is just becoming ripped during this period, so people celebrate it for great harvest. “Haoxizao” is the transliteration from Jinuo Ethnic Minority’s language, it means “having new delicacy” or “Taste something new”. Before the festival, all the men from every household will gather together with the elder (called “Zhuoba” also called “Old Fire Head”, “Zhuosheng”, Old Buddha”) to discuss the sacrifice offering arrangements. First of all, the elder will offering sacrifice to the barn spirit, then taste the new rice, after that each household will start to celebrate the festival next day.

First step of offering sacrifice(Jiaoguhun/叫谷魂) to barn spirit is: a man carries a basket with a couple of chicken, and walk straight to the field, pick some flowers in the basket. After that, he shaking a delicate bamboo box which with silver bracelet and silver coin in it while singing. But he is not allowed to turn around all the way to the barn. Then he will put a bunch of straw with flowers in the forked road. Slaughter chicken and pig when gets home, then hang up the heads of chicken and pig in the gate of barn. That’s called slaughter offering to barn spirit(Jiguhun/祭谷魂).

After offering sacrifice to barn spirit, will have two persons to select some ripped and plump grain from their own rice filed to pestle new rice. Then cooking the new rice in the house of elder, all the family members are sitting around and observing which direction the steam will be burst up. It’s an original divination. Different directions have different meanings. East: the descendant will be prosperous in the future; South: the great harvest next year; West: hunting gains; North: the descendant will be not very well in health and with bad luck in the future. Offering sacrifice to barn soul, ancestors and ironsmith spirit with cooked chicken and a bowl of rice, the elder who host this sacrifice ceremony will recite the poem to pray for the peace and great harvest every year. Each family shall invite the elder people to have meal on the festival.

The relatives will be invited as well, if not available to come, a pack of new rice and a piece of chicken will be sent to their home. But nowadays, more and more people celebrate Haoxizao festival without the sacrifice but only with best wishes for great harvest.

Translated by Yang Yating/杨雅婷