Temaoke Festival of Jino Minority

Temaoke Festival (literally "Iron-Forging Festival"), corresponding to New Year's Day in Western culture, is the most important festival for Jino and is held over a three-day period, January 6th to 8th of the Gregorian (Western) calendar. The village men, decked out in their newest and best festival costumes, form a circle around a chosen water buffalo bull and launch javelins at the bull until the animal dies from a loss of blood, which seemingly barbaric ritual nonetheless pays homage to Jino ancestors whose very existence depended on killing these fierce animals with far more primitive weapons, and thus with the obvious risk to life and limb.

The water buffalo bull chosen by Jinos for Temaoke Festival (Photo from baike.baidu.com)

The meat is divided equitably amongst the households, after which the wives bring previously prepared food to the house of the head of the village, where the sun-drum ceremony will take place, and where the villagers, prior to the commencement of the singing and dancing that will carry on until daybreak, place sacrificial items ranging from rooster feathers to fresh flowers to iron hammers (one cannot underestimate the historical significance of iron to the Jino in the forging of agricultural implements as well as weapons) before the sacred sun-drum. The next day, the village blacksmith arrives at the home of the head of the village where he will be instructed to forge new agricultural implements for the villagers.

Jinos playing sun-drum on Temaoke Festival (Photo from baike.baidu.com)

Jinos singing and dancing on Temaoke Festival (Photo from baike.baidu.com)

Other parts of the festival run for three days, including a coming-of-age courtship ceremony for young men and women of age 15, and a coming-of-age career-choosing ceremony where young men choose a trade (they ask seasoned village craftsmen if they may serve as apprentices under them). For the courtship ceremony, girls of age 15 change their hairdo to that of an adult and they receive many presents of clothes, kitchen utensils, etc., while for the career-choosing ceremony, boys of age 15 are given the tools they will need to ply the trade they have chosen. From this age onwards, young people may marry and take on any other adult obligations.

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