Guizhou which is home to a large population of Chinese ethnic minority groups is a wonderful place for visitors to learn more about China's traditional cultures. The majority of the Yi ethnic minority group is scattered in mountainous areas. There are more than half a million Yi people living in Guizhou. The Yi minority group used to have its own written script which was formed in the 13th century. A number of written works and stone tablets written in the ancient Yi script still exist. The Yi minority group has many unique customs. Traditionally cooking utensils were made of wood or leather and were usually painted in black, red, and yellow. Their wine cups are hollowed out of horns or hoofs. The clothing of the Yi group has a large variety depending on where they are. In Guizhou, men wear black jackets with tight sleeves and pleated pants. Women wear jackets and pleated skirts. The jackets and skirts have embroidery and lace accents. Men and women when going out wear a dark cape made of wool with long tassels hanging from the hem.
The Yi ethnic group's marriage ceremonies are very unique. Traditionally marriages were arranged by parents and the bride's family received a large dowry. In some wedding ceremonies, the"kidnapping of the bride" was enacted. The groom's family would send people to the bride's home to snatch her and carry her to her husband's home. The girl was supposed to scream for help and her family members would chase the kidnappers. It was all done in fun. On the wedding night, the bride and groom would have a large staged fight to add to the fun. When a man gets married, he traditionally received a portion of their parent's property.
Another unique aspect of the Yi minority group's culture is their love of flowers. The azalea is a symbol of beauty and good luck for the Yi people. When the azaleas are in bloom, the Yi people hold the azalea prayer ceremony. It is an ancient ceremony with a history of over one thousand years. The ceremony begins at noon with the Yi priests reading traditional prayers. The people burn incense, play music, and light firecrackers.
The Yi ethnic minority group is just one of Guizhou's many minority groups. Each one of them is unique and has maintained its ancient traditions. Their colorful clothing, ancient festivals, and beautiful traditions are one reason that Guizhou is becoming more and more popular as a tourist destination.
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