Yi Fan Festival of Mulao Ethnic Group
“Yi Fan Holiday” features the grandest festival of Mulao people, also called “Zhi Le Gu.” In the holiday, Mulao people pray to the god to drive away the evils, safeguard their life and collect good fortune, as well as to celebrate a good harvest. Held once in three to five years after the beginning of winter, the holiday prevails in Dongmen and Siba of Mulao Autonomous County in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. About this festival, there is a popular legend: It is said that in the ancient time, the Mulao villagers were often hurt by one herd of beasts, especially the king of beasts-supernatural lion, which was unusually violent and had injured people and animal and destroyed the crops. When Mulao people were getting into a difficult position, a girl riding a white horse came and shot the lion dead, tens of thousands of people were saved. Also, she recaptured the seed-grains to Mulao people from the lion’s mouth. Later, she made the ox and buffalo with taro and sweet potato, which cultivated the land in the field for people. She also taught the Mulao young men to practice Kongfu and kill beasts. From then on, the Mulao mountainous area has started to enjoy a propitious time of good harvest. In order to commemorate her, Mulao people has raised fund to hold get-togethers in turns, which has evolved into the nowadays Yifan holiday.
In the holiday, except the get-together and sacrifices offering to the gods, they also invite the singers, beat drums and gongs. The longest and most plump glutinous corn ear will be selected, tied up with colored ribbon and hung at wall. On the desk in the center of the room, there are a lot of buffalo and ox models carved with sweet potato. Around the five-color polished glutinous rice meal, there has laid out 12 kinds of agricultural products such as sesame, soya bean, aniseed, and ginger as well as 12 kinds of sacrificial offerings such as chicken, duck, fish, pig’s heart, and pig’s liver. The sumptuous food on the desk is showing that the domestic animals are all thriving, and the farming, fishery, animal husbandry and sideline production have a bumper harvest. The singers in red are singing and dancing around the desk, persuading people to be kind and teaching them to respect their parents, revere their teachers, live in harmony with their neighbors, conduct themselves honestly, do business with good reputation, manage their homes industriously and thriftily, and keep patriotic to their country. It has partly revealed the ethics concept of Mulao people who pursue the esthetic ideal of perfect life. After the holiday draws to the end, the grain ear and farm cattle’s models are given to every family.