Ewenki Ethnic Minority
Ewenki means "people living in the big mountain". Ewenki people used to live in the forest north of Lake Baikal and later moved east to the middle reaches of Heilongjiang River. They have been called "Suolun", "Tonggusi" and "Yakute". In 1957, the ethnic group was officially named Ewenki according to their own will.
Birch bark plays an important role in Ewenkis' daily life. Most of their utensils for hunting, fishing and milking are made of birch bark. Birch bark are also applied to make dishware, wine-brewing container, vessels, houses, and fences. They even wrap dead bodies with birch bark. What's more, Ewenki people make clothes with birch bark. Caps and shoes made of birch bark are very popular among Ewenki people. They decorate their birch bark containers with various kinds of beautiful patterns.
Ewenki people are very hospitable. They respect the elders. Young people will salute and greet the elders whenever they meet them. The common courtesies are going down on one's knees, turning sideways and making a bow with hands folded in front. Ewenki people think it a joyous occasion if guests visit them. People in the pasturing area entertain the guests with milk tea, and those living in the hunting area entertain their guests with breast meat of deer or reindeer milk.
The major Ewenki festivals include Aobao Meeting, Spring Festival and Mikol Festival.
Aobao Festival: Aobao is a pile of stones, earth, grass, etc used by Mongolians or other ethnic groups in northeastern China as a road or boundary sign and in the old days regarded as the dwelling place of a god where sacrifices were offered. When the Ewenki people celebrate Aobao Festival (usually at a time chosen between April and June of the lunar calendar), they worship the Aobao God by slaughtering bulls and goats as the sacrifice to pray for safety and health and favorable weather for crops. Activities like horse racing and pushing and pulling are also held.
Mikol Festival: Mikol Festival is held during the last ten days of May. On that day, people are finely dressed in their ethnic costumes and get together to brand the animals. Men will join the horse-racing to lasso horse. They also hold the ceremony of cutting the sheep's ears and the elderly people will give their children or grandchildren a female lamb as a gift. After that, each family holds a banquet to entertain their relatives and guests.
Aomi Naneng Festival: It is a festival held in August in the pasturing area. Huge celebrations of religious activities and entertainments are held.