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Published: February 25th 2012
"...Our ceremony is very sacred..." the village head gave introduction before the "SHOW" started. I almost blast out with a laugh. I mean...once the ceremony started, all the photo Masters(out of disrespect I would say) invaded the ground armed with heavy machine! SACRED...you can go to hell!
I read about this Jilong festival month ago, in a small village that no one really heard of, so I came with high hope, but then I find out this year actually they had invited many photographers, kind of like a shooting fan-club. They even advised each sponsored 100 yuan/day event(it was a 2 days festival) and they handed you a pass that you should hang around your neck, "there will be no outsider allow in without a pass" the organiser said. And they covered all the meals, people like me wanted to sleep in the village could be arranged, but most others prefered to stay in town for more comfort which is only 13km away and of course...because they had their own transportation! so the 2 days in the village I was always viewing at someone head, back or asses through my camera, as photographer tend to be very fast and aggressive, they
just elbow their way infront, as they all thought they are the master, higher than the others! It was a weird sensation, there was only the villagers and the photographers, no other element! It was great for taking picture though, the locals are so ready and welcome to posed when being asked, perhaps that was the 200 yuan from each visitor that made the magic(there are more than 70 to 80 people, how often that a village could made more than 10000 yuan in 2 days). The whole festival was more like a performance show in a way, although they had their own agenda, but they will act whatever way that would please us the photographer! Like on the first day they need to marched out to the sacred tree in the nearby Longshan mountain which is almost 1km away, they had to carried a 200kg pig and many other staffs with them and walking on the field track, but every once in a while...photographer wanted to take picture in their own mind-set, from whichever angle...they would asked the parade to stop so they could located the perfect view from their camera, hell...you could imagine how heavy the pig on
the shoulder of the bearers. well...the villages are just far too nice or...innocent I would say! They are all Mr Yes!!!! Nothing wrong with that as long as they are happy, but I would enjoy it more if they just acted according to their own schedule at least...I mean...made it seem more sacred! Anyways...I wasn't disappointed, the local are really nice(at the end...I wouldn't say it was because of the money, they were just kind) and I took many pictures. Just weird...it was like inside a theme park!
This Jilong is from a Yi subgroup call themselve Ah-Zhe, they live in Taowa in Mile region, the village is about 13km from the township Xunjiansi with a huge power plant that probably provided all the job for the township. The Ah-Zhe Yi wear long sleeve shirt open from the right, heavy embroidery on lapel and cuff area, long trouser with different colour on the bottom part. The headdress is the most eye catching item, heavily laid with silver studs and embroidery pattern. The ceremony are for prosperity and procreation, the 2 days event was like presenting a picture show, the first day the men painted themselve in any figures and colour,
said to imitated the barbarian from ancient time so to help their ancestor to recognised them. They marched out to the holy tree, offered a chicken to the Hunting God, and a pig to thier ancestor and brought back a tongue of flame to the village. In the evening, childern would lead by the shaman to every houses in the village, asking for candy and rice, every household would happily offered they for blessing. The second day also with the painted human bodies, some decorated with huge penis, marched with parade around the village, lead by the shaman to dispelled evil and demon out the village. No festival in Chinese would go without dancing performence, so a serier of show had been prepared all through the afternoon. And the last ritual in the evening was to recieved the princess that would help procreation, a life-line for the next generation! And it ended with mischiefs like smirched black charcoal on people faces, tossed people up to the air and stuffed their mouth with a big piece of chicken.
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