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Knife-Pole Festival

The Lisu mainly live in concentrated communities in Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province. The Lisu has their own language which is a branch of Tibeto-Burman language group.

The annual Kinfe-Pole Festival on the 8th of the second lunar month features a physical contest with a history stretching back to hundreds of year. It is the exclusive and traditional festival of the Lisu ethnic group. Knife-Pole Festival aims to memorialize a Han hero in Ming, named Wang Ji, who taught the Lisu people how to make a knife was killed by traitors on this way back to Beijjing. The Knife-Pole Festival absorbs the spirits of the Lisu people, and is a royal and luxuriant celebration.

As a traditional festival of Lisu ethnic minority, the Knife-Pole Festival expresses good wishes to everyone of the Lisu. A phrase describing bravery in China goes like this, climbing the Knife Mountain and diving into the Fire Sea and the Knife-Pole Festival is a vivid depiction of this.

On that day, people all dressed up and went in flocks to watch various activities including “Climbing Knife Pole” and “Diving into Fire Sea.” The performers are jumping and dancing over burned coal bare-footed and half-naked, imitating behaviors of animals. Other performers put on red clothes and red turban. They strided up to a knife ladder which measures 20 meters long and was tied with 36 edged knives. They kneeled down in front of a picture of Wang Ji, drank off a bowl of wine prepared for them and began climbing the knife ladder. Upon reaching to the top, they are rewarded with impassioned applauses, whilst they light firecrackers and throw small red flags to the crowds, showering good luck upon everyone. Surprisingly, these men returned to the group safe and round, not with even the slightest scratch. The exciting and special memorial ceremony has been officially designated as the traditional festival for the Lisu people.

The remainder of the day is for the young, throwing pouches to each other to show love, and some dance and music shows are also organized during the festivals.,-china.html

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