We may be already back from our relatively short visit to China, but the stunning experiences we had at the biggest Twins Festival in the world still feel surreal. The food tasted different than expected, we taught Chinese people how to play basketball, took more selfies than ever before and participated in a very unusual event: all in just two days.
As we mentioned in the previous post, one of the biggest highlights of our journey was the blackface event that took place on the second day of the festival. Many people might find it offensive and weird as the “Blackface” events are getting more and more criticism all around the world, but once you get to know the actual story behind it, everything starts to make sense.
We have a very diverse team at London City Royals and we were worried that the participation in this event might be hurtful to some of our colleagues. However, as it turns out, the event has nothing to do with black culture and is far from being racist.
The blackface party is a tradition that has been part of the Twins Festival for many years now. It turns out that the Hani people, who live in the Mojiang region, used to worship the god of fire and thus black, the colour of soot, is important to the locals. Wiping ashes from the bottom of a pan onto other people’s faces actually brings good luck, according to popular belief.
We got to know that if you wipe the ashes on a girls face, you wish that she will grow more beautiful, for a boy that he will grow strong, for the elder that they will live in good health and for children to grow well.
If the locals slap the ashes on a foreigner’s face, they hope he or she will become a good friend to the Hani people. This is why it has become an important part of the Twins Festival, as the Hani welcome foreigners from all around the world.
Visit out YouTube channel to see our vlog where we’ll take you through the festival and our experiences in a video.