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Monday, September 29, 2014

Hainan Li Culture, Kunming, China

The Li people are an ethnic minority in China, with their own customs and costumes.  The women comb their hair into a bun with metal or bone hairpins. During festivals, they wear bracelets, ear rings, necklaces, and foot rings. The practice of tattooing girls which prevailed in ancient times is now mostly discontinued.

When children grow into their teens, they are expected to move from their parents' house. Boys build their own houses, and girls will be under the authority of their parents. Usually these rooms are smaller than the ones they lived before. This is also the place where the youth find their lover.

The Li have a reputation for being good at singing and dancing. Their dances arise mainly from their work in the field, pestling the rice, and worshiping ancestors.

The most traditional Li festivals is the Spring Festival.
Before the Spring Festival, all the families prepare sumptuous dinners, brew wine and cook Dengye, a kind of cake. It can be stored for a time and after that, it turns to be hard and tenacious. If you cut it into slices and then fry or bake it, then it will take on quite another flavor. On New Year's Eve, the Li will worship ancestors; the following days, they visit and greet each other as well as sing and dance.

Sanyuesan is another well known Li festival.  It refers to the third day of the third month when this is celebrated. The elders are honored and visited by other people with yellow wine, cured vegetables and cakes; young people go out hunting and fishing and in the evening, they sing face to face, in traditional flowery clothes, and worship ancestors. This is also a wonderful time to express love to those persons who are dear to one's heart.

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