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Mouthful: Villagers from Linyi County in central China take part in the tradition for Chinese New Year

Chinese weather custom sees men force metal spikes through faces

Mouthful: Villagers from Linyi County in central China take part in the tradition for Chinese New Year

Custom: Two men join in the ancient tradition of face-piercing which has been going on for thousands of years in northern China's Shanxi province

Chinese weather custom sees men force metal spikes through faces

Custom: Two men join in the ancient tradition of face-piercing which has been going on for thousands of years in northern China's Shanxi province

Custom: Two men join in the ancient tradition of face-piercing which has been going on for thousands of years in northern China's Shanxi province

Chinese weather custom sees men force metal spikes through faces

Custom: Two men join in the ancient tradition of face-piercing which has been going on for thousands of years in northern China's Shanxi province

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Tradition: One villager from Linyi County in central China celebrates the Chinese New Year with the tradition of face-piercing

Piercing: This man understandably dribbles water after going through the ancient ritual of face-piercing

Chinese weather custom sees men force metal spikes through faces

But now there are calls to cancel the practice - where locals drive away evil with face-piercing - as critics say it is too 'bloody'.

Painful: The 2,000-year-old tradition of face-piercing to celebrate Chinese New Year is facing calls to stop by some who say it is a 'bloody practice'

Chinese weather custom sees men force metal spikes through faces

Painful: The tradition of face-piercing to celebrate Chinese New Year is facing calls to stop by some who say it is a 'bloody practice'

Whipping up a frenzy: One stage of the tradition is Pao Ma where men who have their faces pierced to whip the crowd with straw ropes

Chinese weather custom sees men force metal spikes through faces

Whipping up a frenzy: One stage of the tradition is Pao Ma where men who have their faces pierced to whip the crowd with straw ropes

Delicate: Women of the Chin tribe have smaller and more delicate tattoos that only cover part of the face

Meet the last tattooed women of Burma

Delicate: Women of the Chin tribe have smaller and more delicate tattoos that only cover part of the face

Good luck: The men dress in special outfits and cover themselves in frightening face paint to ward off bad luck

Chinese weather custom sees men force metal spikes through faces

Good luck: The men dress in special outfits and cover themselves in frightening face paint to ward off bad luck

Parade: Once their faces have been pierced, the men go on a parade through the town and whip villagers with whips to drive away bad luck

Chinese weather custom sees men force metal spikes through faces

Parade: Once their faces have been pierced, the men go on a parade through the town and whip villagers with whips to drive away bad luck

Piercing: A sharp metallic stick is forced through a man's cheek in the Chinese practice  known as 'zha ma jiao'

Chinese weather custom sees men force metal spikes through faces

Piercing: A sharp metallic stick is forced through a man's cheek in the Chinese practice known as 'zha ma jiao'

Mouthful: Villagers from Linyi County in central China take part in the tradition for Chinese New Year

Chinese weather custom sees men force metal spikes through faces

Mouthful: Villagers from Linyi County in central China take part in the tradition for Chinese New Year

Frightening: The participants have their faces painted in bright colours to ward off evil as part of the festival

Chinese weather custom sees men force metal spikes through faces

Frightening: The participants have their faces painted in bright colours to ward off evil as part of the festival

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