Each year, residents of Linyi county in rural Shanxi province get together to watch some of their fellow villagers poke holes through their own cheeks…
… and then blow water out of those openings.
The annual ceremony called zhamajiao dates back some 1,800 years to when it was first mentioned in ancient texts. Locals see it as a way to bring good luck and drive away evil spirits for the coming year.
Reportedly, there has been pressure in the past to stop the superstitious tradition, but locals have paid the calls no mind, and continued right along with driving sharp metallic sticks into their faces.
Though rural Shanxi isn’t the only place in China where you can witness the painful practice of cheek-piercing. In 2015, we also featured photos from the traditional Junpo Festival on Hainan island.
[Image via CGTN]
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