The Yis used to believe in multi-deity, and worship their ancestors. They have many folk festivals, such as the October Festival, the Firebrand Festival, other local festivals and the worship activities.
It is the traditional festival of the Yis. It mostly takes place in a selected lucky day during early October of the lunar calendar. The festival lasts 5 to 6 days. Duing the festival, people will slay pigs and sheep. The wealthy family will slaughter cattle. On the occasion, the feast will be offered to guests and people are dressed up. They will visit their relatives and friends and send presents to each other.
It is the largest traditional festival of the Yis and takes place on June 24 of each lunar calendar year. On the occasion, the cattle and sheep will be slain to worship the ancestors. In some areas, people also worship the Tuzhu (the god of the earth) They invite each other to feasts and take meat together. The Firebrand Festival usually lasts three day. The 1st
day is for the family reunion, while the last two days are for the wrestling, horse race, bull fighting, boating and push-and-pull, etc. Afterwards the large need fire evening party will be held, which will last all night long.
Second Spring Festival
Between February 10 and 11 of each lunar calendar after the New Year, the Yis in Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces will celebrate the Second Spring Festival.
Of all the worships, the largest is the worship to the dragon, which is to be held on a Dragon day in February, March or April. People from the same village will gather under the dragon tree to hold a collective worship, with a bowl of rice and a piece of salt in everyone's hands. The Yis in Yunnan select the 1stDragon day in January to worship the dragon. After the worship, all people get seated on the ground, regardless of their age. People take food and dishes prepared beforehand and have diner together.
Flower Fair in March
The Flower Fair in March is the traditional folk festival of the Yis in Yunnan Province. It takes place on March 13 of the lunar calendar.
It is the season when the flowers are blooming. Young men and girls of the Yis from far and near are dressed up on this day, and gather on the slope of the Flower Mountain. They sing and dance till the sunset. Some young couples chat with each other. They hide themselves in dense woods and have intimate talks if they are satisfied with each other.
Legend has it that in the ancient times, the Yis had inner contradiction and even wars because of the misleading of an alien ethnic group, which seriously destroyed the harmony and quiet living environment of the region. Afterwards, they became reconciled on March 13. Hence, people dance and sing on that day to celebrate. Year after year, it finally became the folk festival of the Yis.