Main festivals of the Hani

 

The Hani have many spiritual ceremonies to be carried out along the year. The most important and widespread are:

The Amatu Festival.

It is celebrated in the second lunar month. It has not a fixed date. During three to five days the people stop all their productive activities, and celebrate the festival. Amatu was a legendary heroin that became the goddess of the village. These days, male representatives of every family make sacrifices before the sacred tree. Young people join in festive mode, dancing, singing and playing drums and cymbals.

The Kuzhazha Festival

In the fifth lunar month. It is a festival to worship their ancestor. The most important part of this festival is the killing of a cow to present them. In every home the people also worship their ancestors before their altars.

This is the best chance for the young people of different villages to meet. At night, they sing and dance in groups until the dawn.

The Zalete Festival

It is the Hani New Year. It is celebrated in a dragon day of the tenth lunar month. Some times the shamans chose a dog or sheep day for the start of the festival. It usually lasts one week.
It has a double function: to thank the ancestors for the good harvest, and to ask for a prosperous new year. Every family kills a pig to offer their ancestors. The old people sing until night. Young people sing and dance the whole day.

This is a very special festival, because the Hani people use to make a big street banquet. Every family cooks some dishes that all the people of the village will eat in the street. Every family take out a table and some chairs to he main street, where all together enjoy the New Year. Sometimes there are more than one hundred tables connected in the street.

Though these three festivals are the main celebrations of the Hani's year, there are some minor festivals with a special interest.

The Mother Festival

In the second lunar month. It is celebrated during one day and one night.
Supposed to be an occasion to praise the mothers, in fact, it is the time for the young people to pay their respects to the old ones. Maybe is a vestige of the matriarchal character of the primitive Hani society.

Change the Dragon Gate Festival

It is celebrated before start the work in the fields.

They raise a new gate for the village. Usually, in the Hani villages there are many gates. One after other.

Eating Insects Festival

To fight the pests. They go to the fields to catch insects that they bring to the village. It is a way of show the power of humans over insects. It is supposed to prevent the insects to damage the crops.

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