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Knife-Pole Festival

Knife-Pole Festival
Place: Lisu Ethnic Group of Yunnan Province
Date: Eighth day of the second Chinese Lunar month

The Knife-Pole Festival, China is celebrated on the eighth day of the second Chinese Lunar month. It was first observed in Yunnan Province as a sign of gratitude of the Lisu peoples towards Han who taught them to make knives.

People celebrate the eve of the festival by dancing and doing lots of bravery acts like walking barefooted on a pile of smoldering charcoal or jumping in the fire.It is carried out by well trained warriors.The most popular and thrilling activity is climbing a 20 meter high pole with sharp knives inserted into the pole during the festival.The climbers practice long time before the festivals, so that they can climb barefooted. Thousands of people from all over China gather here to witness these thrilling acts.

The performers imitate animals by jumping and dancing over burned coal bare-footed and half-naked.There will be a "fire wash" which is brushing coals over their body and rubing coal balls in hand.People believe it can fend off all the possible troubles and disasters in the new year.

Other performers put on red clothes and red turban. They strided up to a knife ladder which is 20 meters long and tied with 36 edged knives.After drinking off a bowl of wine,they begin climbing the knife ladder.The first one reaching the top is winner who will be hailed with applause and fire cracks. Surprisingly, none of them will be hurt, not with even the slightest scratch.

This special memorial ceremony has been officially designated as the traditional festival for the Lisu people.

During the festivals, Lisu people will dance with their traditional clothes.It’s bright colore and with floral designs. Women decorate their hair with shells, coral, pearls, and silver rings.During the festival,the Lisu men carry their bows, knives,and arrows with them all the time.