World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Torch Festival

Article Id: WHEBN0023237592
Reproduction Date:

Title: Torch Festival  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bimoism, Ayi Jihu, Festivals in China, Yi people
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Torch Festival

The Torch Festival or Fire Festival (Chinese: 火把节; pinyin: Huǒbǎ Jié) is one of the main holidays of the Yi people of southwest China, and is also celebrated by other ethnic groups of the region.[1] It is celebrated on the 24th or 25th day of the sixth month of the Yi calendar, corresponding to August in the Gregorian calendar.[2][3] It commemorates the legendary wrestler Atilaba, who drove away a plague of locusts using torches made from pine trees.[4] Since 1993, the government of the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan has sponsored a modernised celebration of the festival, featuring wrestling, horse racing, dance shows, and a beauty contest.[5] Different groups set the festival at different time.


The original Torch Festival, according to some scholars, was based on a calendar used by Bai and Yi people in ancient times. The calendar included 10 months, 36 days in a month, and two Star Returning Festivals in winter and summer respectively. The two Star Returning Festivals were both considered the New Year, and the one in summer was called the Torch Festival as people often lighted a torch on that day. There are also many other legends about the origin of the Torch Festival, yet all of them have the purpose of offering sacrifice to duties and dispelling ghosts, as a wish for a harvest.

Traditions and custom of Torch Festival in each dynasty

In the Torch Festival, every family needs to light a torch and hold the torch to illuminate the corners in the room and walk around the fields. Some villagers even have torch parade so as to drive away all bad lucks and pray for a harvest. The custom of holding a torch to shed light on tree and field was found in Han people in Southern Song Dynasty. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, people in Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces had the custom as well. The most attractive activity is the Bonfire Party. People play music instruments like Yusheng(乐声), yueqin(月琴) and sanxian(three stringed plucked instrument), singing and dancing for a whole night.


  1. ^ Harrell 2001, p. 184
  2. ^ Miller, Guo & Xu 1994, p. 115
  3. ^ Harrell 2001, p. 185
  4. ^ Miller, Guo & Xu 1994, p. 115
  5. ^ Harrell 2001, p. 185


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.