The Yi ethnic Liqiu Festival

The festival is a unique traditional celebration of the Yi ethnic group living in Liushao Town of Xundian county, Kunming, taking place on the first day of autumn on the Chinese traditional calendar.

Because the beginning of the autumn means the harvest is imminent, The Yis don't do farm work on the day; instead, in order to pray for favourable weather conditions, more bumper harvest and better life for the next year, they usually organise a grand celebration.

A Yi folklore says that the Yi people worshipped  cattle a long time ago. When autumn drew near, people organised bull fighting between villages in order to express thanks to the cattle which had brought harvest and happy life. Each village would choose a strong bull to join the game, and the winner would bring luck to its village. The event that brought people together was at the same time a great opportunity for the young people to know each other romantically.

According to the Yi ethnic tradition, the venue of the festival must be a spacious meadow around the village. The festival is presided over by seven or eight venerable old men who have to be at the venue much earlier than others to discuss about the programmes and procedure of the celebration.

When the festival kicks off at noon, several talented Miao ethnic youths are invited to perform at the opening ceremony.

The highlights of the festival include the bull fighting, traditional dancing and singing. The Yis from nearby villages gather at the venue to enjoy the bull fighting on the day each year. And the winner bull always makes its village feel very proud because the winning implies bumper harvests in the future.

The minority groups account for about 37% of the total population of Liushao town, among whom Yi is the largest group. The Yis in Liushao belong to the White Yi branch, and they are known for the distinctive costume culture