Buyi Ethnic Minority

Buyi is a biggish minority in the southwest of China. Old name was 'Zhong Family' or 'Yi Ethnic Minority '. Claim to be 'Buyue', 'Buyi', also to be 'Bu man' 'Bu Nong' in some places. Bu means Ethnic Minority . The people of Bu mainly live in the Qiannan, Qianxinan and some parts of Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. Buyi people had been using mandarin Chinese for having no character of their own until the Chinese government created phoneticized words made of Latin letters for them in 1956.

The culture and arts of the Buyi are gorgeous and colorful. Traditional dances involve Tymbal Dance, Weaving Dance, Lion Dance, Candy Bag Dance etc.. The traditional musical instruments contain suona, lute, bamboo flageolet, wood leaf, bamboo flute etc. Di drama, flower lamp drama are the favorite dramas of Buyi people. Buyi people mainly live on agriculture by growing rice. The Buyi native cloth spinned by farmhouse has great reputation for a long time. In recent years, the specialized business enterprises, producing the Buyi baldachin, dyed cloth with wax and national craft clothing, have been set up one after another. And the products are sold far to many foreign places, such as Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe and America etc


Buyi Ethnic Minority has a long history blended by the local residents and the emigrants from the north. Buyi descended from the same root - Luoyue of ancient Baiyue as Zhuang, Dong and Dai, and it had various names in the history. From Wei and Jin Dynasty to Tang Dynasty, Buyi was called as Manliao, Liliao, Bafan. During the Yuan, Ming, Chin dynasty, it was called as Zhongjia, Qingzhong, Zhongfan, Buyi etc


Habitude:Men are pleased to wear short garment, long trousers and wrapping turban, and women are glad to wear wide front garment with buttons on the right, long trousers or plaited skirts, and jewelries such as silver bracelet, earring and chaplet etc.. Buyi people like to live assembly in some place backing hill and closing to water, generally one village is made up of one or several decades of families,even hundred or several hundred families. The living houses contain pile - dwelling, bungalow and stone slab building which is the most special one. Buyi people are famous for hospitality and being friendly to every customer, which can be presented on the Maple Leaf Festival on the 3rd of Feb. (or 13th of Mar.). On that day, many Buyi people dye the sticky rice with various colors made of maple leaf or other plants etc., and make colored sticky rice to entertain guests and send to relatives and friends as gifts.

Marriage customs: A lot of single young men and ladies get engaged by blowing the wood leaf or singing song, and then the families of the young man ask a matchmaker to the lady's house to propose. Once they get engaged, the lady's family should call for relatives and friends to have an engaging dinner. Two or three days ahead of the wedding, half a pork, a rooster and duck and a pot of water etc. needed for the bridegroom's to be sent to the bride's house. And the bride's family also must entertain the close guests with a banquet to celebrate it. During the past time, the bride didn't live in the husband home until one or two years' living in her mother's home.

Foods customs: Rice is the main food. Folks like to steam the rice cooked with a special cooker 'zengzi'. Most Buyi people are likely to eat foods made of glutinous rice, which are often regarded as a main food for improving the life or adjusting taste. Cold dishes, Lichen Frozen Meat, Pea Mixed with Rice Noodle etc., all are the favorite foods of the Buyi people. Sour dishes and sour soup almost are essential at each meal, especially popular with women. There also have blood toufu, sausage and other flavor dishes made by bamboo shoot and various insects. The wine plays a very important role in daily life of Buyi people. Annually after autumn harvest,every family make plenty of rice wine and store for next year. Buyi people like to entertain guest with the wine in spite of the visitor's liquor capacity. Once guests arrive, wine is served firstly, which is named as 'wine for welcoming guests'. While drinking bowl was used instead of cup, and finger-guessing drinking games and singing are acompanied. There are many traditional snacks, especially the people living in Yunnan province are good at making rice line, pastry pieces, pea powder, rice cool cake etc..


The Buyi people worship the ancestors, which mainly are nature worship, Catholic and Christianity. In addition to 'New Year' 'Dragon Boat Festival' 'Mid-autumn Festival', traditional festivals also include 'Feb. two' 'Mar. three' 'Apr. eight' 'Ox King Festival' etc. and the most ceremonious festival is 'June six'.

The Spring Festival:In the past, the Buyi people regarded November or December as the beginning of a year, and later on they took January as the beginning of a year gradually. When the end of year arrives, every family is busy vintaging, making sticky rice cake and blood toufu, bloating preserved ham and making new cloths. The New Year's Eve provides the ancestors respectfully with the flourishing dishes and wine, setting off the firecracker, and the whole family keeps awake till the day break. Once dawn comes the next day, all girls strive to carry the first dan water called 'clever water' back home; and boys try to be the first one to the side of ground temple, and put the small stone into the livestock circle by a rope, which means domestic animals will be thriving. During Chinese New Year, the youths invite each other and go out for 'Lang Shao'( a special party for the youth to date); the wrinkly exchange New Year's good wish and congratulate mutually, drinking together for celebrating. The people don't go to do farm word until the fifteen of the first moon (the Latten's Festival). During the festival, there are great quantities of entertainment activities, such as games of playing timbale and suona, singing and dancing, kicking the chicken hair shuttlecock, beating the peg - top and tossing the rock etc., thousands of people are involved in them. And in some places, other amusement activities are also held, including the lighted dragon dance, lion dance, ground drama and decorated lantern singing etc..

March Three: the fiesta for the spirit of community and mountains. The spirit of community is the oblation in the ancestral temple built by local villagers. On that day, no strangers are allowed to get into the village, and some Buyi people may take the sticky rice with three colors. That day or the next is also for Buyi from the western region to sweep tomb. People of Luodian offer sacrifice to the spirit of community either on March three or on March thirteen. In Ziyun, people sacrifice only to the ancestry on March third, and the fiesta for spirit of community is held on July 15th. In Jiulong of Huishui, the youth of Buyi get together for entertainment with some activities, such as singing and rassle match. For the young men and women of Pan county, March three is the doings day, on which everybody in the village take a good rest, even somewhere it lasts three days. In the south of Cehen County, this festival means the busy season of farming is coming, so people start to do the farm work. In someplace of Wangmo, Cehen County, people entertain guests with pork and other meats for celebrating.

April Eight: also called 'the Cattle King Festival', 'the Corydon Festival' or 'the Opening for seedling', it is the festival for remembering farm cattle, and has close relation with the farm work. On that day, cattle take a rest and are feed on baba (a kind of rive cake for cattle) mixed with sugar or salt. Every family eats sticky rice and cattle king cake. In Some places, every child carries a braised cock to the river side, catching fingerling, enjoying chicken and basking. Then, the youth are invited to take part in some amusements, such as singing and 'Ganbiao'( a special party for the youth to date)etc..

June Six: The fiesta for the God of field, mountain and land. Commonly is called 'offering sacrifice to Pangu (the creator of the earth in Chinese tale)', in some villages is also called as spending the off year. Buyi people celebrate 'June six' with a lot of activities in various forms. In many regions, paper burgee, paper figure and horse are made to insert in field, then wine, meat and zhongzi (rice dumpling) etc. are consecrated. In some places, the plough rake and other farm implements are put under the shrine in hall as oblation. Each family in some places carry rooster to the weir of farmland dam for holding 'wielding weir', imprecating ancestors bless them for good harvest. Somewhere, village rule and civilian restricts are established on this day. In addition to the activities, such as making sticky rice cakes, butchering pig, cattle and chicken, the fiesta for ancestry, setting down village rules etc., it is also a good time for the youth to carry on amusements and devote to happiness in this slack season.

Middle July: the festival that Buyi people sacrifice the soul of a deceased person on July fourteenth. Some Buyi villages offer sacrifice to the God of mountain for three days. In some places, people do ancestor worship with butchered chicken, pig and cattle as well as various fresh fruits in some other villages. On the fourteenth, ancestors are consecrated by making 'Dalianba' (a kind of cake made of rice). On the night of 15th, the dark ships are put down in the river, allowing it to drift with the water. On the fifth and sixth, the youth and child get together under the big banyan, swinging, playing peg-top or swimming. In Some places, people concentrate in ancient bridge fortress to sing in a antiphonal way, do babang and timbal dance , and carry on the suona competition at well.

Flower Jumping Meeting: It is held from January 1-21 annually, which is the social intercourse activity for the youth with a grand scale, involving over thousand people, and a lot of single young men and women engage by blowing wood leaf and antiphonal singing.

Sacrificing Elder's Building:The Buyi people believed in the original nature adoration in the past and offered sacrifices at every festival annually, among which, sacrificing old man's building (God of the village) was the most ceremonious. Choosing the rabbit or tiger day as opening the fiesta in lunar February, each family offers eggs and pork for sacrificing spirits, and then, whole villagers have a dinner party on the spot, preying for a good harvest and peace.


The Buyi language belongs to Sino-Tibetan, Buyi people communicate in Chinese with Han people and other brother races in the daily life. With the development, the Buyi language absorbed many Chinese words. In the past, the Buyi people didn't have their own characters, in civil sorcery phrase and lection curse, some Buyi people recorded and narrated their conduct and action in Chinese. In 1956, Chinese government created Latin letter for them.


Historically, the Buyi people believed in polytheism, gnome and adored ancestry, regarding the following as the things of spirit and worshiping them, they are strange stone, big tree, mountain, river, well, mountain cave and the copper drum etc.. 'The divination of chicken, egg, couch grass and copper cash' are widely accepted etc.. And the man engaging in divination and sacrifice is called 'old Mo' while the women as 'Mila'. Once come across the disease, natural disaster or omen of hoodoo, people ask them to exorcise and sweep the village for getting rid of disasters and praying for blessing. Their totems include dragon, eagle and tiger etc.. After Catholicism modernly streamed into Yunnan province, many Buyi people altered Catholicism as their faith.


The building for Buyi people to reside mainly are Diaojiaolou (the building with the hung wood feet), bungalow, storied building, which include wood structure, wood and stone structure and stone slab structure.


During the baptism for the village, strangers are prohibited entering; on 'the Wu day', 'Jiazi day', laboring and going out must be avoided; can't break earth from January 1 to 3 ; can't work and use reamer on the January 15; on April eight, can't let cattle plow fields; no farm work within several days after the first time of thunder each year; for the tree of the God of mountain and big arhat tree of the stockaded village, no one is allowed to touch and lop; visitors are forbidden to touch the shrine and credence or add things on it; spider beside the fire pond is forbidden to be trampled; ears of boiler need to be agreeable to the positive beam direction; woman mustn't return to her mother's home to give a baby, the pregnant woman is prohibited to walk through the main room of a house, not allowed to go out within one month after giving a baby; the body of the unmarried lady is forbidden to be carried out from the front gate; corpse of the one who dies outside is not allowed to be moved into house, etc.. These taboos have changed a lot, even some of them are fading away from people's daily life with the development of science and culture, especially with the change of people's thought after the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

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