Yekuzha Festival of Aini Ethnic People in Xishuangbanna
Chinese Name: 爱伲族耶苦扎节
English Name:Yekuzha Festival of Aini Ethnic People in Xishuangbanna
Yekuzha Festival or Daqiu Festival is the most popular festival of Aini Ethnic People in XishuangBanna.
Yekuzha Festival(耶苦扎) is a traditional festival which belongs to Hani inXishuangBanna.It is held on Cattle Day(属牛日) June and lasts several days.People enjoy their selves ,visit relatives and hold some activities during the days.
Legend of Yekuzha Festival
On the day of ancient time,an insect disaster break out in Hani’s village.They prayed the god for killing insects by sacrifice,but it didn’t work.Day by day,their crops disappeared.However,a man called Apeimingye(阿陪明耶) use leaves to make insects be put on the road and be abused so that they could be punished.Several days later,the insects disappeared and crops came to life.So it is surprised for people to harvest.Later,after Apeimingye died,his son sacrificed for him by chicken every year.Since this event was spread,the day had become Hani’s traditional festival. Apeimingye named the day Yekuzha(耶苦扎) in order to memory his father because of Hanis’ name is made up from the end of father’s name and the begining of son’s name.
The festival was settled on a day of June which is suitable for growing of crops and the end of growing in order to memory Apeimingye(阿培明耶) and celebrate harvest. On the day,people inveite friends to hold a party and all sorts of entertainment activities. And because it’s said that swinging can avoid disaster,all of people want to swing in hurry.Before swinging,they ofen hold a ceremony.At the beginning,a old man hold a cup of wine and roll a rope .At the same time,he will sing a song and pour wine.Finally,people can swing after he swings.And a person who swings the highest and the fastest will be regarded as a hero.Therefore,people cheer for him or her.
At the beginning of “Yekuzha”(耶苦扎),mid-life men kill their pigs and cattle’s.Teenagers look for woods to make swinging.As for women,they are major in cooking.Swinging is an important activity on the day.When people swing,audiences shout,sing and sometimes make a strange voice.And the scene is very lively.
On the day,they hold horse riding,singing and so on.This makes a traditional festival become richer about activities than before.
Yekuzha Festival of Aini Ethnic People
Banpo Nannao Village(半坡老寨) of Mountain Village (南糯山）is a village which contains only Aini and it loacates in middle of Nannao Mountain（南糯山）.There is a old tea plantation which has the largest area in the mountain.The trees are alomst two to five meters and belong to arbors.And the king of tea tree “Nannao Mountain Tea Tree”grows here.Aini live in Banpo Nannao Mountain.According to old man here,since Hani has came here for fifty generations from Honghe(红河） and Mojiang（墨江）so far.
Aini People’s song must be a wonderful custom. Almost everyone can sing it.Don’t forget to meet it.Especially sing it in the party.People usually sing it and drink at the same time.
The first cattle day of every July is Yekuzha Festival for Ainu.And its another name is Autumn Festival. The festival was the largest festival there in the past,but recently it isn’t thought highly.However,all of villages still use big trees to make swinging early and they dance and sing together.According to the old,swinging can avoid disaster .Sometimes teenagers play together and the higher man swings,the more favorable man will be.
During the time,children perform in return.They can perform alone or in groups and make swinging higher and higher.They show all sorts of dangerous performances.Childrens’ laughters and screams are very high and the voice spread in the sky.And I think not only the voice is high but also wishes can be high.Besides,children’s wishes for future is also high and wishes for Aini ethnic people’s(爱尼人) development and progress.
Translated by Yang Yiling/杨弋凌