Flower Arrangement Festival(插花节) of Yi Ethnic Minority in Dayao County,Chuxiong
A long time ago, the world was drenched in a flood, sparing only a brother and his younger sister, who survived by hiding in a wax-sealed gourd. Having floated inside the gourd in the flood for several days, they arrived at a place of nowhere.
One day, the flood began to recede, and the mountains and trees gradually appeared. Soon the gourd rested on a big branch. An eagle, while flying over the top of a mountain, caught sight of the gourd and heard sounds coming from the inside. Thinking there might be someone alive inside, the eagle grasped the gourd and placed it atop the mountain.
Later, during the night, a mouse also discovered the gourd, and heard sounds coming from the inside. Thinking the sounds might be made by some one alive, the mouse nibbled at the wax seal and was finally able to crack open the gourd. At the sight of light, the brother and sister crawled out of the gourd. In the deserted world, they were the only survivors.
The Old Golden Turtle walked to them and said, "In order to carry on the human race, you two have to get married."
The brother and sister replied together, "We are blood siblings, so how can we marry?"
"There are only you two human beings in this world. In order to carry on the mankind, you have no other choice," replied the old turtle.
Feeling embarrassed and uneasy, the brother came up with an idea: "My sister and I will burn incense separately. If the wisps of incense blend together in the air, we will marry each other."
As a result, the incense smoke blended into a single wisp indeed. However, the sister was still unwilling to marry her brother.
Therefore her brother again said, "We will roll millstones separately on the mountain. If the two millstones can join together without leaning to either side, we will marry."
A tale about the festival
A sacrificial ceremony in honor of Albizzia julibrissin flowers
It turned out the two millstones really joined together seamlessly. Even then, the sister still refused the marriage.
As a last struggle, she said, "We will roll a dustpan respectively. If the two dustpans also joins together, we will marry."
The result was still positive.
Then the old turtle said, "What can you two say or do but to marry each other?"
Knowing any further test would be in vain, the sister said, "Without neither the will of our parents nor the words of a matchmaker, how can we get married?"
"I can find nobody but you two, so the pine and the evergreen over there represent your father and mother respectively, and the Chinese plum tree by the side will act as your matchmaker. Now, you two can marry."
With no more excuses, the brother and sister finally got married.
Twelve months after their marriage, the sister became pregnant and gave birth to a baby, or rather a meatball! As the couple was complaining, the Old Golden Turtle appeared, congratulating them on their baby's birth. Then, he pulled out his sword, splitting the meatball from the middle. Out from the meatball jumped 50 girls and 50 boys, leaving the skin of the meatball bleeding. The old turtle picked it up with his sword, and threw it onto a small tree. From then on, red Albizzia julibrissin flowers have been growing on the tree. The day was February 8th according to the Chinese lunar calendar .
Since the sister could not bring up so many children at the same time, many birds and animals came up to her to help, offering to adopt her children. When the children grew up, they married each other, and their descendants formed today's 56 ethnic groups of China.
Later, in an attempt to look for their parents, the chilren discovered a hillside covered with Albizzia julibrissin trees, and settled down there.
That is how the Flower Arrangement Festival came into being. Every year, on lunar February 8 according to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Yi people will gather together to sing, dance, and place Albizzia julibrissin flowers everywhere.
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