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Lisu festivals

The Lisus mostly reside in the Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province. The Lisus have their own language. Since 1957, they created their new characters on the basis of the Latin alphabetic letters. The folk literatures of the Lisus are rich and colorful.

The Lisus use the nature calendar. According to florescence and chirm, they divide one year into 10 seasonal months such as the blooming month, chirming month, mountain burning month, starving month, collecting month, harvesting month, wine month, hunting month, year month and housing month, etc. The traditional festivals mainly include the Spring Festival, the Harvest Festival, the Firebrand Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Sword Festival.

Heshi Festival

It is the Spring Festival of the Lisus. They celebrate the New Year and send off the past year by singing, dancing and holding wonderful sports shows.

The Heshi Festival is commonly celebrated after lunar January 5. Before that day, people will make sticky rice cakes, brew wine and make new clothes. One day prior to the Spring Festival, people will build color village gate and the entertainment ground. A cloud-kissing banner pole is erected in the center of the ground, on which is hung a banner of two colors: red in the upper part and white in the lower part with the signs of arrow and bow. On the first day of the Spring Festival, men and women, old and young, they all dress up. In case several villages celebrate the festival together, each of them will be guided by three leading persons: one holds a banner in two colors with the motif of arrow and bow; one shoulders a bright nut-brown bow, with an arrow inserted on the head wrapper; another one is a lady. As the troupe enters the gate of the village, the firecrackers are set off and girls waiting at both sides of the ground start performing the Guest Welcoming Dance to the accompaniment of Lusheng (weed-ripe wind instrument). After all troupes from the villages enter the ground, the entertainments are announced to commence with fired shooting three times.

In the morning of the next day, people perform the Three String Dance to the accompaniment the finger-popping three-stringed instrument. Young men and girls dressed in colorful clothes, facing each other, raise legs and touch the opposite' foot. Girls swing to a large extent their arms over the chest; the silver ornaments sound following the movements, and young men keep their head askew and exert their strength to play the three-stringed instrument and dance. As the melodious tune of Lusheng rises, the music from the three-stringed instrument dies down. Men and women, old and young, all people stream to the ground and start dancing. They stretch out and smartly twist their legs. This is the traditional Lusheng Dance of the Lisus.

Peoples riot in dancing in the morning. In the afternoon, they hold sport contests such as shooting arrow, playing catapult, shooting gun and copper cannon, greasy pole and swinging. The Heshi Festival ends up in huge crowd, tide of songs and lightsome dances.

Sword Festival

The Sword Festival of the Lisus occurs on February 8 of the lunar calendar. On the occasion, women are gorgeously dressed in folk costumes; men carry bows and long swords, and gather from near and afar to the Sword Ground to celebrate the annual Sword Festival. People light up with pleasure. Some young people amuse themselves by chasing after one another. Some young men and girls hide themselves in couple in the forest for amorism. The festival is not only made up of entertainments like contest and competition, but also the Saint Valentine's Day for young men and girls.

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