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Azhe of China

Prayer Month: July 2010
Focus: Northeast Asia
Country: China
People Name: Azhe
Population: 65,000
World Population: 65,000
Language: Azhe
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Progress Status: 1.0
% Adherents : 1.00 %
% Evangelical: 0.07 %
Complete Profile: Click here
Azhe of China

Identity
In 1960 the Azhe were officially placed in the Yi nationality. The Azhe, however, refuse to intermarry with other peoples and are culturally and linguistically different from their neighbors. The Azhe are not the same ethnolinguistic group as the A Che people farther to the west, who speak a language from the Southern Yi branch.

History
The Azhe say they originated in northern Yunnan. They migrated south to Jianshui during the Sui and Tang dynasties (581-907). At that time they were giving military assistance to the Luodian Kingdom. Later, the people separated. Some went back to Yimen and Shuangbai counties where today they are the A Che people.4 Despite their shared origins, the languages and customs of the Azhe and A Che today differ remarkably.

Customs
The Azhe celebrate the annual Torch Festival. On the first day of the festival, many weddings take place. On the second day, the men sacrifice an ox at the foot of the sacred village tree.

Religion
After sacrificing an ox during the Torch Festival, the Azhe "engage in much chanting to invoke spirits. Having finished the chanting the men take the heart of the ox and boil it together with a rooster in order to appease the god of the Mountain. The meat from the ox is divided among all the men who participated in the sacrifice, and the ox bones are dispersed evenly to each family of the village. No one works during the Azhe Torch Festival and every night of the festival the youth engage in dancing, singing, and courtship." The Azhe hold many holidays centered in animism and polytheism. On the 14th day of the tenth lunar month, the whole village goes to a sacred mountain. They slaughter a cow and two chickens in hope of appeasing a mountain god whom they believe to be in charge of their welfare.

Christianity
There is one known Catholic meeting point among the Azhe, situated in Mile County. French Catholic missionaries worked extensively in the region in the first half of the twentieth century. Today, however, most Azhe are completely unaware of the gospel or the name of Christ, having been cut off from outside influence for generations. In the early part of this century the Sani people, located to the north, were reported to have more than 7,000 Catholics, but there is no evidence of Sani outreach to the Azhe who have a different language and culture.

AdditionalPrayer Points:    www.PrayerGuard.net
Azhe of China

Click here for complete Azhe of China profile
 
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