Holy Mountain Festival of Naxi Ethnic Group
This festival is the grandest of the grandest for the Naxi people living in Yongnin Prefecture.** On the eastern shore of Lugu Lake in Yongnin Prefecture lies Lion Mountain, also called Gemu Mountian by the local Naxi, since legend has it that this mountain is the physical transformation in this world of the Dongba mythological goddess Gemu.
Holy Mountain Festival of Naxi Ethnic Group is a grand festival for Mosuo to pay pilgrimage worship to Mountain of the goddess Gemu, which is held on the 25th day of the 7th lunar month by Lugu Lake every year. Mosuo people live beside Lugu Lake between Yanyuan County of Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province and Ninglang Yi Autonomous County of Lijiang City in Yunnan Province. Mount Gemu looks just like a lion which stands towering like a giant by Lugu Lake. It’s said that Mount Gemu is the incarnation of goddess Gemu who bless and protect local people. Thus, local people cherish a feeling of great reverence for goddess Gemu and offer sacrifice to Mount Gemu respectfully.
The Mosuo People
In celebration of this great festival, people are dressed in festive attire and flock to the foot of Mount Gemu, bringing with an abundance of delicacies with them. They make pilgrimage and pay religious homage to Mount Gemu, praying for a harvest year as well as peace and happiness. The devout people offer meat, rice, cakes, fruits to the goddess Gumu and kowtow in good faith. The old people will burn tree branches in caves in order to drive away ghosts and evils. People will also take a bath at the waterfall for good luck and safeness. At last, they will get together and hold various activities, such as taking a picnic, singing in antiphonal style, lion dancing, playing on a swing, shooting and horse racing, immersed in joy and delights.
According to legend, there was a beautiful girl named Gemu in the Yongning village in ancient times. She could also play bamboo flute melodiously and sing fair-sounding songs. Once she sang, running horses and deer would stop to listen attentively and flying birds would stop singing. Besides, she was ingenious and very hard working. Then her good name spread far and wide to other villages. A large number of young people from nine villages flocked to propose to her. Unexpectedly, a god fell in lover with her and brought her to the sky with a gust of wind. All the people of her village came out of the village and ran after them, shouting in chorus. In a panic, the god loosened his grip accidentally and the girl Gemu fell on the ground heavily. She was dead, but her body became a mountain and her soul became a goddess who blesses and protects people of Yongning village.
Date: The 25th day of the eight lunar month.
Place: In Yongning Prefecture in southwest China's Yunnan province.