Youmai in China

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Send Joshua Project a map of this people group.
People Name: Youmai
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 2,700
World Population: 2,700
Primary Language: Iu Mien
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Yao-Mien
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

When the Chinese authorities first surveyed the ethnolinguistic composition of Guizhou Province in the 1950s, they found the Youmai people group so distinct that they were unable to place them under any of the officially recognized nationalities that had been created. By the time of the 1982 census, the government still did not classify them and placed them in a generic list of undetermined minorities. The government changed the status for this small group in 1985 and classified the Youmai as part of the Yao nationality. The Youmai did not appreciate this classification who see themselves as a completely distinct group with no relationship to other minorities in southern China. Living in a nation where governmental decisions are not open to debate, the Youmai have little choice but to accept their bureaucratic identity. The people living near them, however, recognize them as a distinct ethnic group.

The Youmai may be related to the various Bunu people groups in Guizhou Province, who are culturally Yao but linguistically Hmong people. After more than a thousand years of living near the Yao, these groups have absorbed many of their customs and habits.

The Youmai people only live in China's Guizhou Province.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Youmai observe several key festivals throughout the year, including the Zhuzhu Festival. The Youmai believe the date set for the festival is the birthday of their foremother, Miluotuo, in the fifth month of the lunar calendar. They hold the Huiqi Festival at the same time as the Autumn Festival in other parts of China. They hold traditional singing contests and people from the countryside crowd into the village which has been chosen as the sponsor for that year. Hosts entertain guests with sumptuous food. The Youmai only hold a festival or celebration with copious amounts of rice wine and whiskey.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Youmai worship spirits, ancestors and Daoism as their three most prevalent religious beliefs.

No one knows about the status of Christianity among the Youmai. Few people groups in this part of China, however, have ever heard the gospel.

What Are Their Needs?

The Youmai need to be able to access Bibles in their own language. They need health care, good shelter and clothing.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to send loving workers to the Youmai people and show them the way to Jesus.
May he send his Spirit to open their hearts to Christ.
Pray there will soon come a day when Youmai people will disciple others who will disciple entire families.

Text Source:   Joshua Project