The Yi nationality is the sixth-largest ethnic minority in China. Its national language is Yi language. It belongs to the Yi branch of Tibeto Burmese language family of Sino Tibetan language family. There are six dialects in North, East, South, Southeast, West, and central China, including five sub-dialects and 25 local dialects.
The Yi people are mainly distributed in Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou, and Guangxi provinces (regions) between the plateau and coastal hills, mainly gathered in Chuxiong, Honghe, Liangshan, Bijie, Liupanshui, and Anshun, etc. Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture is the largest Yi nationality inhabited area in China.
Before the founding of new China, due to different regions and dialects, there were many branches of the Yi nationality. There were many different other names and self names, including "Yi", "Heidi", "Baiyi", "Hongyi", "many", "Huayao", "Micha" and so on.
Among the main self names, the Yi people in Zhaotong, Wuding, Luquan, Maitreya and Shiping of Yunnan Province, and the Yi people in Daliang and Xiaoliangshan of Sichuan Province call themselves "Nuosu", "Nasu" and "niece", which account for about half of the total population. The Yi people in Ailao Mountain, Wuliang Mountain, Kaiyuan, Wenshan, and Magan in Yunnan call themselves "Misha (PO)", "last (PO)", "pulao", "Nipu" and so on. The Yi people in Guizhou call themselves "Nuosu", "Na", "Nuo" and "Nie".
After the founding of new China, after ethnic identification, according to the common will of the majority of the Yi people, Dingyi "Yi" as a unified national name.
Clothes & Accessories
Yi nationality has many branches, scattered residence, complex natural environment, and unbalanced social and economic development. Its clothing has formed obvious regional characteristics in texture, style, and pattern. It can be divided into six types according to Liangshan, Wumengshan, Honghe, Southeast Yunnan, West Yunnan, and Chuxiong.
Liangshan Yi traditional costumes, men and women are wearing right Lapel big Lapel clothes, wearing rub Erwa, felt, wrapped leggings, usually barefoot, winter wear hemp shoes.
The man's head is wrapped in a bun with different styles in different sub-dialect areas, and his left ear is decorated with honeydew beads, tremella rings, and other accessories. According to different sub-dialects, men's trousers in the northern dialect area are divided into "big trouser legs", "middle trouser legs" and "small trouser legs".
Women wear pleated skirts and handkerchiefs. After giving birth, they can wear hats or handkerchiefs. They like to wear earrings and handkerchiefs, and silver collars. The traditional materials are mainly self-woven and self-dyed wool and linen fabrics, and the traditional colors are black, red, and yellow. Patterns and ornaments are mostly cockscomb, sheep horn, fire sickle, fern, pane, and other animals and plants and living objects.
（2） Wumeng Mountain
Both men and women of the Yi nationality in Wumeng Mountain wear long or short shirts with big blue lapels and right lapels, long trousers, black or white handkerchiefs, white belts and embroidered "kite shoes" or "Eagle shoes".
The men's dress has no pattern and is covered with wool and felt. The neckline, cuff, skirt, and hem of women's dress are decorated with color pattern combination pattern.
（3） Red River
Most of the Yi men's clothes in the Honghe area are double-breasted, short clothes and trousers. There are many styles of women's clothing, including long clothes, medium and long clothes, and short clothes. Most of them are jackets, shawls, aprons, and headdresses. They especially like to use silver foam and wool as decorations. Most of the patterns are natural patterns, followed by geometric patterns.
（4） Southeast Yunnan
In Southeast Yunnan, Yi women's clothing styles are right or double-breasted tops and trousers, and skirts are worn in some areas. Men's wear is a pair of cardigans, jackets, shoulders, and wide pants. The clothing technology includes cross-stitch, embroidery, patching, batik, etc.
（5） Western Yunnan
Most of the Yi women in western Yunnan are short at the front and long at the back, with long trousers at the bottom, an apron, and a shawl. Women in Weishan and Midu counties wore sheep felt to wrap their backs.
The man was wearing a right cardigan, a sheepskin jacket, wide trouser legs, and a green handkerchief on his head.
In the Chuxiong area, the Yi women's clothes are right big breasted short clothes and trousers, while in a few areas, they are wearing a pair of breasted clothes and floral skirts. The craft is mainly patching and flat embroidery and the patterns are mostly flowers.
Luquan, XUNDIAN, and other places of women's dress are the ancient Guan TouYi, which is short in front and long in the back, wide and sleeveless.
Men's clothing is a pair of the lapel, sheepskin jacket, and trousers, and the custom of burning grasscloth and hemp cloth clothes is still retained.
The staple food of Yi people is potato, corn, buckwheat, rice, and so on. Nonstaple foods include meat, beans, vegetables, seasonings, and beverages. Cattle, sheep, pigs, and chickens are the main types of meat, and cattle are the most important ones for hospitality, followed by sheep and pigs. Beans are mostly soybeans, Hu beans, peas, and so on. One way of eating soybeans is called "durable" by Yi people, that is, soybeans are ground into pulp and cooked with lees and sauerkraut.
Spices mainly collect three kinds of wild plants, one is the leaves of "halau", one is the roots and flowers of arbor "Muku", and the other is the roots of herbage "Chepachet". These three plants all have peculiar fragrance.
The beverage category is mainly wine, and the hospitality of Yi people is mainly wine. According to the proverbs of Yi people, "tea is the most important thing for Han people, while wine is the most important thing for Yi people", "wine is the banquet, and killing pigs and sheep without wine is not the Banquet", which shows the importance of wine. Yi People's wine mainly includes Tan Tan wine (also known as Za wine), barrel wine, water wine, and so on.
Yi people in Liangshan like to smoke orchids, while Yi people in other areas like to smoke leaf tobacco.
Many Yi areas have the habit of drinking tea. Tea is imported from Han areas, but some of them grow their own. For example, in the Yushe area of Shuicheng, Guizhou, Yi people are good at growing tea. Before drinking, they roast tea in a small pot, and then boil it in water, which is called "roasted tea".
Festival is the concentrated expression of Yi People's lifestyle and customs. There are agricultural festivals mainly based on agricultural production; there are sacrificial festivals mainly for gods and ancestors; there are commemorative festivals mainly for remembering heroes and major events; celebration festivals mainly for celebrating harvest and victory; social entertainment festivals mainly for singing and dancing opera activities. The main festivals are:
Yi year: the year of Yi is a grand traditional festival of Yi people in Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou. It is called "Kushi" in the Yi language. The Lunar New Year is different in different places. The auspicious day is usually selected from October to November and the second ten days of the lunar calendar.
Torch Festival: it is a traditional festival of Yi nationality, which takes three days on June 24 of the lunar calendar every year. During the festival, people dressed in costumes, concentrated on the Pingba or gentle slope near the village, singing, dancing, racing, bullfighting, fighting sheep, wrestling, beauty selection, etc., and the activities were rich and colorful, and lively. In the morning, people will kill animals to sacrifice their ancestors; in the evening, they will carry fire sticks and swim around the fields, which means burning pests and praying for harvest.
Also, the Yi people in western Guizhou and East Yunnan have to celebrate the festival of mountain sacrifice on March 3 of the lunar calendar; the Yi people in the areas of Shiping, Yuanyang, and Weishan in Yunnan Province have Dragon Festival twice a year, the first in February of the summer calendar belongs to dragon day, and the second time before autumn harvest, it is called "dragon compensation", which means to thank the rain and dew kindness of Lord long; The Yi people in Chuxiong, Yunnan Province, hold flower festival in the eighth month of the lunar calendar every year to wish happiness and health, prosperous six livestock and abundant grains; the Yi people in Napo and Funding of Guangxi will hold bow jumping festival in April of the lunar calendar, and the third of March of the lunar calendar is the Forest Protection Festival of Longlin Yi people in Guangxi.