Culture

Sheba Festival of Tujia minority

Updated: Nov 26, 2019 China Daily Print

Sheba Festival is an ancient ancestor worship festival of the Tujia people. It is usually held on the fifth "Wu ri" after the Beginning of Spring. On the first day of the festival, the kinfolks of the festival hosts regardless of gender and age will line up, beat gongs and drums, blow trumpets, set off firecrackers, and go to the field under the guidance of the "Tima". There is also a man wearing a rotten straw hat and covered with colorful quilts, who symbolizes the ancestor. The crowd following the patriarch sing all the way. Every time the lead singer sings a sentence, the crowd respond in unison.

When the "ancestor" arrives, an old man in the temple will kneel on the ground and offer his seat to God, then he burns incense to worship God. After the worship, the main worshippers will lead the team to form a circle and dance, and "Tima" sings ancient songs passing down from ancestors.

The second day is divided into three activities. People worship the God first and then sing and dance, with the content of songs transforming from God-worship to agricultural production. At dusk, the elders of the main worshippers tidy up their clothes, kowtow, blow the trumpets, set off artillery, send God back to the mountains, and the Sheba Festival ends.

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