Residing primarily in Chuxiong Prefecture in north-central Yunnan, a province in southwest China, the Luoluopo believe they are descended from tigers. In their own language, a dialect of the Yi tongue, the name Luoluopo means “tiger-dragon people.” Each year in the middle of the first lunar month they celebrate the Tiger Festival, which culminates in a ceremony where a costumed tiger figure travels atop a float to each home to deliver a blessing. They celebrate numerous additional festivals throughout the year, offering sacrifices to the dragons of the water and other spiritual beings for blessings and protection.
In addition to this group (the “Central” Luoluopo), two other, smaller sub-groups of the Yi self-identifying with the name Luoluopo exist. These groups speak different languages and cannot communicate with each other, though all are part of the Yi family of languages.
Though early in the 20th century some efforts were made by Catholic missionaries to reach the Luoluopo, little fruit was observed and all of their translated work has been lost. Today only a very small number of Luoluopo have been seen attending churches in local townships. The vast majority of the Luoluopo have never heard the gospel. The only current witness in their language is a handful of gospel recordings.