|The Bouyei Nationality|
|Major area of distribution: Yunnan Province|
|Religion: Polytheism and ancestor worship|
Major Festival :
Spring Festival , Ox-God Festival
|Bouyei (Buyi)ethnic minority is one of the relatively large group with the population of 2,971,460 and mainly live in Bouyei and the Miao’s Autonomous Prefecture, Anshun and Guiyang City.They are knowen as the descendant of the ancient “Luoyue” and “Liao” people. They were known as the Dujunman (Dunjun barbarian) , “Zhongmiao”, “Zhongjia”, “Bafan”,”Buyi” and “Burao” in different dynasties. Throughout these periods they always referred to themselves as . In 1949 with the founding of the PRC, following consultation with the ethnic group it was decided to agree upon the official name of Bouyei ethnic group.
The Bouyei people have their own language, which belongs to the Zhuang-Dai branch of the Zhuang-Dong group of the Sino-Tibetan family. This language has no traditional written form and Han characters are widely used, although a written system based upon the Latin alphabet was created with government assistance after 1949. The Bouyei are the “aboriginals” of Guizhou. The people are of Thai origin and related to the Zhuangs in Guangxi.
Bouyei dress is dark and somber with colorful trimmings; ‘best’ clothes come out on festival or market days. The Bouyei marry early, usually at 16, but sometimes as young as 12. Married women are distinguished by headgear symbols. The Bouyei people can also be shy and suspicious of foreigners. They have a similar way of life to the Miao and their language is closely related to those of the Zhuang and Dai.
They practice polytheism and ancestor worship.There is a God for each Mountain; River, Lake or Pond; for each old and unusual tree, for megalith, caves, paddy field, and for when it rains or thunders, there are various gods.
Their agriculture and forestry are advanced rice as their staple food; they also enjoy the pickled sour vegetables, glutinous rice, brawn, sausage and blood curd. Their tea culture is all their own, making tea themselves that includes honeysuckle and other plants. Among those, there is a very precious tea named ‘Girl’s Tea’ (Guniang Cha), made by unmarried girls. Usually this is not for sale and only sent as gifts to friends and the girl’s boyfriend to indicate her chastity.
When entertaining guests, they will be welcomed with delicious wines and meat. If pork is served, it symbolizes that the guests will have a good harvest; if chicken is served, the chicken’s head means auspice, the wings success, and the drumstick, free from anxiety.
Spring Festival: The Bouyei begin to be busy preparing for this festival in the last lunar month, brewing wine, cooking glutinous rice cake and blood curd, and sewing new clothes. On the lunar New Year’s Eve, people present a sumptuous feast to their ancestors, light firecrackers, and stay up till dawn. On the first day of New Year, girls try to be the first to carry water which denotes cleverness; boys rush to the temple which houses the village god, pull stones with rolls into folds, which indicates the thriving of all domestic animals. The senior members greet each other and watch entertaining programs like top-spinning and lion dance. The third day of the third lunar month it is the time when the Bouyei offer a sacrifice to the gods of land and mountain. On the eighth day of the fourth lunar month is the Ox-God Festival so as to relax their cattle and feed them on cake. On the sixth day of the sixth lunar month, people worship the Gods of the field, land and mountains; and on the 14th day of the seventh month they honor the dead.