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Yi ethnic group celebrates with fire

The metaphor of an ancient myth serves as a tribute to China’s ethnic groups. Last weekend, the Yi ethnic group — based in Sichuan province — celebrated their traditional Torch Festival. The event drew in more than half-a-million people.

The festival commemorates a legendary wrestler who drove away a plague of locusts using torches, and it includes 56 fires to represent China’s 56 ethnic groups.

Taking place on the 24th and 25th day of the sixth month of the Yi calendar, this year’s event brought in nearly 600,000 thousand people, including more than 400,000 domestic and foreign tourists, to the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture. Some even joined in dancing round the fires.

The Torch Festival is becoming increasingly popular with domestic and foreign tourists.

The celebration, which also includes traditional Yi sports such as bullfighting and horse racing, has received increasing local-government support in recent years.