Daur people keep thousand-year-old traditions through festival celebrations
China, a united multi-ethnic country, has 56 ethnic groups. Each of the ethnic groups has its own distinctive history and tradition, contributing to the rich Chinese culture. The Global Times is to publish a series of articles focusing on the folk traditions of the ethnic groups including costumes, festivals and customs to show their unique beauty.
On the 16th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, 40-year-old Yire got up very early. She quickly and quietly crept to the room where the children were still sleeping on the kang (traditional bed) and smeared black ash she had scraped from the bottom of the pot on their faces and wished them a safe and healthy year. The children and grandchildren later also smeared the ashes on their elders' faces. During this "smearing festival" the person with the most ash on their face is believed to be the luckiest. The festival is considered a city-level intangible cultural heritage, among the Daur people, one of the many Chinese ethic minority groups.
"The smearing is no longer limited to the elder generations, everyone can smear each other to ward off evil spirits and pray for good blessings," Yire told the Global Times, expressing her pride to be a Daur person.
The Daur people are a minority group in China, with only 132,299 members, according to the census carried out in 2021. The DNA analyses have proven that the Daurs are descendants of the ancient Khitan people, a historical a nomadic people originating in eastern Inner Mongolia.