Leju, a 600-year-old village on the way to revitalization

 Leju village, an old village which is not far away from Kunming. [Photo/ Linhai]

Some Leju villagers sit in front of their folk house.[Photo/ Linhai]

Leju village, located on the west of Kunming, has a history of over 600 years old.

In the wave of urbanization in China, more and more villages are demolished. Countryside lifestyles and values are being changed.

Leju village also faces the same changes. It is a village built up by Yi People, with many customs and traditions that are gradually disappearing.

Longtan lake, Huzhai river, old houses, flagstone paths, things that are existed in the village for hundreds of years, have witnessed villagers' life changes as well as their fading traditions and customs.

The village also owns another old thing that deserves to mention: a big stone mill. The big stone mill, which weighs 42 tons and has been written in Guinness World Records, is regarded as the world's biggest stone mill.

Folk-custom experts who have investigated in the village found out that a kind of special connected buildings normally known as "Yi Ke Yin"("一颗印"in Chinese) in China's building history is seen everywhere in the village.

Leju village.[Photo/ Linhai]

Leju village.[Photo/ Linhai]

According to China's building history, the kind of the building began from Ming Dynasty, and finalized its form in early periods of Qing Dynasty.

With small forms, well-adapted characteristics, the kind of the building was welcomed by Leju village's villagers, since it is built suitable for local climate and rural production and living.

Except for old things and buildings mentioned above are still kept in the village, some traditional customs such as "blind date made by young boys and girls in Qingming Festival" and "squeeze the bride in front of the bridegroom's bridal house" are losing as time goes.

Along with time variation, the local Yi people's customs conserved in the Leju village slowly disappear.

In 2008, Yunnan Shengong Group with Kunming Comfort Travel Service Co., Ltd. cooperated to invest 4 million yuan in the village for protection of original appearance of the village and preservation of local Yi people's traditions and customs.

In 2011, Kunming government regulates the Leju village as a historical and cultural village which needs key protection and revitalization in Yunnan province.

In August, 2013, a showroom to display the Leju village's Yi people's culture has been constructed. The showroom which covers around 100 square meters mainly exhibits more than 300 daily-use items that could demonstrate Yi people's traditions and customs.

A cultural heritage group which is formed of 3 aged persons of the Leju village is also established lately. Villagers of the Leju village are actively protecting their traditional culture in action.

All people who care for protection of Yi people's traditional culture hope the 600-year-old Leju village could be revitalized soon.

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    (Editors:: Cathy Chen, Lynn)

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