Sunday, August 07, 2011

Breast-touching Festival is on in China

The Daily Chilli
Friday, Aug 05, 2011
The Chinese have entered the seventh month of the Lunar calendar, known as the Hungry Ghost month, which began July 31.

This period is considered unlucky for many Chinese as they believe that the ghosts are allowed to return to the human realm as the Hell Gate opens throughout the month.

While the Buddhists and Taoists prepare offerings for the homeless ghosts, a minority tribe in China have their own interesting celebration.

The Yi people in Ejia town of Yunnan province, who are still singles, will head to the streets for Breast-Touching Festival (Monai Jie) on the 14th, 15th and 16th days of the month.

On these days, the men are welcome to touch the women's breasts.

Legend has it that the festival began around the Sui Dynasty (AD 581 - 619) when most of the teenagers of the Yi tribe were forced into the army and died in wars.

The people then carried out prayers to commemorate the dead, and it happened that the ceremony was held in the seventh month.

According to the wizards, the dead were unrest because they had not touched a woman before.

And so, they wanted 10 "pure and untouched" ladies to accompany them in the afterworld.

In a move to prevent them from being chosen, the single women - aged 15 and above - then asked the men to touch their breasts, and the custom is past down for generations.