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Guizhou Miao Ethnic Minority Festivals List



The Miaos mostly reside in the bordering areas of China's southwest provinces. The Miaos have their own language and are mainly engaged in agriculture. Hunting is their sideline. Their arts and crafts, such as the embroidery, brocade, wax printing, and paper cut, are famous home and abroad.


The Miaos used to believe that every life being in the world was spiritualized, so they worship ancestors and the nature. They have many festivals. In addition to the traditional and worship festivals, there are also festivals related to food, such as the Duck Eating Festival, Fresh Tasting Festival, Fish Festival and Tea Collecting Festival, etc. Apart from meat and wine, the seasonal foods are necessarily prepared.

 

Miao New Year Festival


The Miao New Year Festival is commonly celebrated on the first Mao day (the fourth of the twelve Earthly Branches) of lunar January. It lasts 3-5 or 15 days. Prior to the festival, every family prepare abundant foods. Apart from slaying pigs and cattle, they have to prepare sufficient glutinous rice wine. The Year feast is very sumptuous with "seven colors" and "five flavors". They also use the best glutinous rice to make New Year cake. People invite each other to feast and exchange gifts.

 

Miao Fish Teasing Festival


The Fish Teasing Festival of the Miaos occurs on June 18 of each lunar year. On the midnight of the day prior to the festival, people stand on the slope and shout to welcome the advent of the fine day. On the morning of the festival, girls go to the brook bank to wash and dress. Around 10:00 a.m., the bird fighting game takes place. The winner will gain the first prize.


At 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon, the Fish Teasing Game begins. It is in fact not fish teasing but man teasing. At the beginning, people from two villages stand in line headed by a group of young men. Each of them holds a small tree with leaves on the top, walk along the riverbank, shouting each step, stopping per ten paces. They keep shouting till they get to the set location of fish teasing. Then, 40 fellows walk out from the group, keep turning in a circle and step on the ground reciting a pithy formula. About half an hour later, a senior citizen steps out of the crowd, and spreads leaves into the river, representing pesticide. Then, two men jump into the river, with waist tied with couch grass, hold each other and welter in water, pretending that they are poisoned by the pesticide and fall into a swoon. They keep crying and weltering. All people are involved in the game. They spring and shout. The clamor echoes in the valley. The game lasts more than one hours till the wallowing fellows writhe to the riverbank.

 

Miao Fish Hunting Festival


March 9 of each Chinese lunar calendar is the Fish Hunting Festival of the Miaos residing in Longli, Guiding and Fuquan areas of Guizhou Province. On this day, people go to the riverbank and fork a fish from the river. They set pot and make a fire, and use river water to cook fresh fish. They drink wine and pray for rain, good weather and bumper harvest. There is a tale about this day:


Long ago, the Heaven God had a pretty daughter, smart and intelligent. The Heaven God took her as the apple of his eye. One day, the princess was sick and his father was very anxious. He sent the his subordinates to look for the elixirs, drugs, glossy ganoderma from Kunlun Mountain, ginseng from Changbai Mountain and pearls from the sea. But all these drugs did not work. She was getting worse. Her father was so anxious that he could hardly eat and drink. Later, the Heaven God was informed that there were one hundred kinds of fishes in the river of the human world. He sent deity to fetch the hundred kinds of fishes and decocted. In a couple of days after taking the drug soup, the princess recovered. To thank the fish, the Heaven God gave an order that prohibited people from harming the fishes in rivers and lakes, and he instructed the Rain God to focus raining on the seas, rivers and lakes, without a single drop to human.


At that time, people suffered from drought. The Miaos were very anxious. Hence, they slaughtered pigs and cattle to worship the Heaven for rains. But the Heaven God did not deliver a drop of rain to human. At last, there were no livestock for the sacrifice. On March 9, the villagers caught some carps, chubs, crucians, salmons and giant salamander from the seas, lakes and rivers to take the place of pigs and cattle as offerings. As the Heaven God saw that people in the world killed the fishes for the sake of survival, he cried for three days, and it thundered and rained cats and dogs. Hence, the crops and plants survived.


Till now, the Miaos from Pingpo in Jiuli, Guangming in Guiding City and Xin'an Village in Fuquan will go to the riverbanks to hunt fish on March 9 of each year.

 

Miao Drum Worship Festival


It is the largest worship activity of the Miaos, which is held in small scope per 7 years and in large scope per 13 years. It is held on the Yihai Day between lunar October and November. On the occasion, people will slaughter a bull and perform the Lusheng (reed-pipe wind instrument) dance to worship the forebears. They invite friends and relatives for a dine-together to improve relationship and harmony.

 


Miao Amatu Festival


On the first day of the festival, people will slay chickens to worship the alien ghosts and make by braiding the signs of bamboo strips to prevent its aggression. In the morning, men and women, old and young, all villagers clean up the well, weed and sweep the paths. Then, the "Moba" or the senior of prestige slays a white cock to worship the well and the mountain, for they believe that the water comes from the mountain, and mountains are nourished by forests. Hence, the people there commonly build the well under a tree. At noon, the worship is given to the pagoda of the village, which is built of clay and located in the center of the village. It is the earliest construction of the village. After the worship, every family will set a feast, which is lined down the slope starting from the pagoda and referred to as the feast of the street. All males have to take part in the feast to show their solidarity. After the ceremony, they begin to worship the forest.


The so-called forest is an exuberant wood near the village. The plants in the wood are protected. Women are not allowed to enter the forest. While worshipping the forest, the Moba, the chief of clan, and the senior will beat gongs and worship with blood and three cobbles prepared in advance accompanied by two young men disguised as one male and one female. One cobble is dyed red by the virgin blood of the village girl and are placed at the left side of the tree root, which is referred to as the worship to the dragon (the mountain and the dragon is incorporated; the water will be clean and the wood, exuberant if a dragon exists in the mountain); one cobble is dyed with pig blood, and placed in front of the tree to worship the forest, including the ancestors; the third cobble is dyed with dog blood, and placed at the right side of the tree root to worship the ghost. The disguised man and woman stand for the virginity, standing at both sides of the tree. The three elders chant the incantation to pray for the prosperous offspring, the bumper harvest and safety from the disasters while offering the three cobbles. The worship lasts seven days. It starts from the 3rd day prior to the Dragon day. People stop all farming and fairs. In case the careless enter the village, he or she will be detained and not allowed to exit for seven days.

 

Miao Lusheng Festival


It is also known as the February Lusheng Party Festival. It takes place in mid February of each lunar calendar year, and lasts three days.


The participants of the festival entertainments are the Miaos from Diba, Xinqiao, Shuangjing and Wengxi in the neighborhood, and Gulong, Xinzhou, Chong'an of Huangping County and Panghai of Kaili City. The entertainment of the Lusheng Festival starts from Changshan Village of Baixi. The Lusheng Teams of the surrounding villages led by the senior of prestige go to the Gupa Slope of Changshan Village and blow the Lusheng to pray for the good weather in the current year as well as a bumper harvest.


On the second day, the place of the entertainment is moved to the Lusheng Level Ground in Tunshan Village. Girls dress up and perform Lusheng dance. In addition, there is the game of the thrush match held by the middle-aged and the senior. The horse race is also organized.

 

Miao Flower Mountain Festival / Miao Tioahua Festival


It takes place between January 1 to 15 of each lunar calendar year to pray for happiness of the Miaos and bless with safety and prosperity. During the festival, the Miaos get dressed up and go to the large lawn near the village. They play the Lion Lantern Dance, swing, blow bamboo leaves and play the bamboo flute. People erect in the mountain a "flower pole" dyed in red and blue in 12 segments to pray to the god for giving birth to children. Young men and girls riot in dancing and singing and seek their lovers. The entertainment lasts three days, and the Miao villages are filled with animated dance and songs.


On the very day, the erection of the Flower Pole is to precede the activity of the Flower Mountain Festival. The Flower Pole is the icon of the Flower Mountain. It is also the performance tool in the festival. It is made of straight and decorticated fir in several zhang (1 zhang = 3.3 m) high. Afterwards, people plant it in the middle of the Flower Mountain to form the center of the entertainment -- Lusheng ground. The Lusheng players play the Lusheng and dance under the Flower Pole with the contests of climbing pole when playing Lusheng, and climbing pole when playing Lion Dance. There are also programs such as the antiphonal singing, bullfight, horserace, bird match and various martial arts performances, which make the Miaos immersed in great happiness.


The festival not only provides all villagers with the festal gathering, but also the unmarried young people with the chance to seek their lovers. In the mountains south of Yunnan Province, the homemade telephones are installed to enable young men and girls, without knowing each other, communicate with each other or sing through homemade call before date. There is another interesting way of selecting lovers: the young men wander in the crowd. As he found his favorite girl, he will stealthily draw near to her. When he stands at her side, the young man will open the umbrella to cover the girl and sing to observe her reaction. At this moment, the girl keeps silent and skews at the young man. If she finds the young man unsatisfied, she will still keep quiet or refuse by singing. If she likes the man, the girl will look at the young man and sing a sweet song tenderly. As they feel satisfied with each other, the girl will offer her ring to the young man as the keep sack. When the Flower Mountain Festival ends, the spoony girl will follow her lover.


In the Flower Mountain, the most favorable young men are those fellows who climb the Flower Pole while heading down and taking up the Lusheng and pig head. He has to climb up and down keeping playing Lusheng, which can match with the acrobatics. The crowned young man is not only regarded as the hero, but also the icon among the girls. It is said if the young man courts some girl, she will surely fall in love with him.

 

Miao Beginning of Autumn Festival


It is a traditional festival of the Miaos. It is also known as Yanu Festival. On the very day, the Miaos in the neighborhood will gather around the fountain pool to hold various entertainments, which is in memory of the hero "Yanu" in the ancient time. The participants of the annual festival reach more than 200,000. A man and a woman dressed in traditional Miao costumes, upholding the corns and paddy, hold the ceremony for the celebration of the bumper harvest under the swing frames; then the dressed-up Miao people begin to play swing, climbing "sword ladder" and perform Lusheng dance. The young men and girls will take chance to seek their lovers. The singers sing songs with partners to greet each other. The scene is full of harmony and passion.

 

Miao Sister Meal Festival


The festival is also known as the Sister Meal Festival. It is the traditional festival of the Miao women in Hainan Province. It takes place on February 15 or March 15 of the Chinese lunar calendar.


On the first day of the festival, the sisters of the village gather to fetch fish in the paddy field for the sororal meal. Afterward, they go to the playground in groups to watch the children games or to take part in the entertainments. In the evening, young men and girls get ready to sing in antiphonal style. The young men from other villages have to win, or they would not be allowed to have the sororal meal. On the second day, the festival reaches the upsurge and become the mass entertainment gathering. The dressed-up girls perform antiphonal songs, and Lusheng dance. They dance by beating drum or watch the bullfighting and horserace. When the young men of other villages are going to leave, the girls will pack the sororal meal (colorful glutinous rice) in handkerchief and put in basket to send to their lovers. According to the local practice, the married women also have to go back her parents' home to celebrate the festival.

 

Miao Rat Eating Festival


It is the traditional festival of those Miao people with the surname of Long (dragon). It occurs between 1st and 2nd of the twelfth month of the lunar year.


On the occasion, the men of the Long family working far away and the married young ladies have to hurry back home to worship the ancestor. The rite of the worship is rather simple. They just place the offerings near the kitchen or on the spirit tablet. The young men burn joss sticks and the host offers the food and wine to the spirit of the ancestors praying for the luck in favor of the offspring. It ends up soon. The only special is the offering. The rat meat is indispensable, and the more, the better. If the rat meat is really not available, the glutinous rice cake in the shape of rat could be the substitute. In order to make sufficient preparation, every family starts catching rats after the autumn harvest. If the rats cannot be found around the house, they will go to the field or the mountain to entrap wild rats. If the game is the small rat, they will kill on the spot; if it is a big rat, they will slay and clean up the viscera and bake it for the offering. Hence, the supper of the worship is a feast of rat meat. As all family members get home, it seems to be a New Year festival, which is named by people as the Rat Festival or the Rate Killing Festival.

 

Miao Bullfight Festival


There is a large Bullfight Festival in many Miao villages of Yunnan Province. It is the largest festival of the Miaos.


The bullring is commonly set on the grassplot enclosed by the exuberant trees. On the occasion, the dressed-up Miaos from various villages pull the bulls and gather on the bullring. At the beginning, people free all bulls into the bullring. All of sudden, tens of bulls furiously seek the rival. They charge to each other. The loser runs away quickly and the winner chase closely. It is not until the rival escapes from the bullring and disappears in the crowd that the winner will get back and look for the new rival. When all losers from the first ring vanish, there will be a new battle among the winners. The defeated bulls run away again. The gainers of the third round will wrestle till the last couple of fighters remain in the ring. This is the duel of the greatest highlight between two bulls. As they are equal in power, the fight gets more furious. Sometimes, the fight lasts several hours. It is not only the question of bout of power, but also the contest of skill. Both seek the weakness of the opposite and charge at each other. The horns bump, producing earsplitting sound. Sometimes, the duel lasts till the sunset. The final winner proudly stands in the center of the bullring. Its master puts a large flower on its horn and leads it to walk around. The audience feed it the red eggs and food. Many flowers are scattered toward the final winner.


On the evening, people make a need fire on the bullring. Lads play Lusheng while gals dance. The elders narrate the old tales. People feast over night.

 

Miao Bull Worship Festival


The Bull Worship Festival is the most ceremonious old custom of the Miaos. This festival is actually to challenge the god rather than to worship the god. This is a test to prove the human's conquering power over the deity. Legend has it that in the remote past, the bull was tameless and ferocious. It had blood red eyes like double copper balls. Its horns were sharp like the sword. The beasts of the mountain were scared of it and escaped at its presence. Hence, it was titled as "Spirit Bull".


One day, the bulls in groups went on the rampage to the village. All villagers were scared. Every family burnt joss sticks and prayed on bent knee for forgiving. However, the bulls walloped in the village and ran down the walls and killed people. Blood spread everywhere in the village and the houses crashed. The chief led villagers to escape from the village and ordered that the one that captured the bull be listed on the hero record of the clan and worshipped by generations. A strong and martial young man named Yanzha showed up and told the chief, "There is never an evil unbeatable under the spearhead of the Miaos. " The chief was surprised and asked: "Dare you fight the 'Spirit Bulls'?" "Yes!" answered the fellow. "Don't you fear them, do you?" "No!" He answered. The chief was very happy. He prized the fellow and awarded him the spear and asked the necromancer to pray for him.


Yanzha, a guy full of courage and skills, chased the crowd of bulls in company of the beating of drums. The bulls, hopping mad, besieged him. Yanzha, shaking the long spear, twisted his body to avoid attack, stabbed with rush. Some bulls were wounded and conflicted to each other. Most bulls escaped from the village. The only left three were two buffaloes, one black and one white, and an unwounded scalper, which made a converging attack to the fellow. Yanzha did not fear at all. He fought even valiantly.


Other young men saw that Yanzha killed and wounded the spirit bulls; they were free of the fear and joined the battle with spears in hands. They killed the scalper and wounded the black one. But the white buffalo attacked Yanzha from the behind. He had no time for hedging. In this critical moment, an arrow shot from afar and hit the nose of the white buffalo. It felt such a great pain that it could not move any more. Yanzha scratched its nose and the others compelled with spears. They pulled the white bull out of the village. At the gate of the village, Yanzha saw Abi, the old arrow shooter of the Miaos, taking a bow in hands. He then understood.


Since then, the bulls have been tamed, and used for plowing. Yanzha vanquished the "Spirit Bulls" and made contributions to the village. According to the order of the chief, people held a singing party for him to celebrate the victory. On the occasion of the celebration, people replayed the scene of bullfight, which was followed by generations and became the actual old custom.


The Bull Worship Festival is commonly held at the time when farming is finished and the garners are full of the cereals. On the occasion, the village chief will ask the necromancer to choose a fine day and extends invitation to all villagers of the Miaos. The host of the ceremony will use the bull skull to worship the Fortune God; then, black, white and yellow bulls, one for each will be taken as the "Spirit Bull". The necromancer will play magic power to drive out the ghost on the "Spirit Bull", so as to safeguard the village, keep human and livestock safe, bring about good weather and longevity.


In three days prior to the Bull Worship Festival, all villagers, friends, relatives, and guests have to prevent from the disasters of the bull ghosts. During the evenings of the three days, hosts, guests, as well as neighbors, will make a need fire, sing and dance to welcome the advent of the ancestors' spirit and share the offerings and incense offered for the Bull Worship Festival.

 

Miao Dragon Boat Festival


The dragon is the symbol of the luck and power for the Miaos. From May 24 and 27 of each lunar calendar year, the Miaos and peoples from other ethnic groups in the neighborhood will gather at the Qingshui riverbank of Taijiang County to hold the boating contest for the celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival.


The dragon boat of the Miaos is rather special. It is commonly made of a large fir or phoenix tree. The boat body is around 20m long. The head of boat can rise high above the water and a dragonhead is installed on it. The two bending horns take the shape of the bow and a string hanging banners is drawn between two horns. Behind the horns, there are four pheasant feathers to give a look of portliness. The poop is also over water surface and the grass is inserted on it, which is named "Phoenix Tail".


On the festival day, people are in crowd at the Qingshui riverbank. The dressed-up girls of Miaos gather along the riverbank and watch the contest of boating. Several dragon boats respectively carry 40 strong shipmen dressed in uncolored clothes. There is a drum commander for each boat.


Before the contest, the villagers will offer every dragon boat at presence with chicken, duck, goose and pork. Some gifts are kept on the board, and some hang on the fore. At the noon, with three cannon shoots and cheers, tens of dragon boats cut a feather. The gongs and drums beat to cheer for the contests and pull the festival to upsurge. The winner will be awarded with brocade. After the contest, the horserace, bullfight and bird match will be held. The young men and girls will enjoy antiphonal singing and drum dance, etc. The entertainment will last deep into night.

 

Miao Jumping Flower Party / Miao Tiaohuapo Festival


On the occasion, all people of Miaos from the scope of several kilometers away will come to take part in the entertainment. The Bouyeis and Hans will also come to be lookers-on. There are usually over 10,000 people.


The young men and girls of the Miaos participating in the Jumping Flower Party will all be dressed in new costumes. Whether the young men have Lusheng or not, they have to wear a girdle around the waist; regardless how pretty they are, the girls must have a handkerchief or a strip in hands in order to allow them to "pull sheep" when the party officially begins. To "pull sheep" is slang used in public in courting young men and girls. When the emcee announces the beginning of the party, the young men with Lusheng will strive for stepping in the dance floor and turn around the flower tree. They blow the "Lusheng" while dancing and try to attract a girl by his cheesy dance. When a girl outside the dancing ground gets satisfied with some young man in the place, she will follow him by turning around. If now the possible partner is in the dance floor, the girl will choose among the young men outside. If she likes a young man, she will entrust one of her relatives or friends to send the message to the young man. If the latter agrees, the girl will send him a towel as a gift to show her friendship and make an appointment to be "pull sheep" partner in the official party.


As the young men playing Lusheng walk forward in line, the girls enter the dancing ground that have already localized their partners for the "pull sheep". They walk around the flower tree one passel after another. When they finish one or two rounds, the "pull sheep" starts. Girls tie one end of strips around the waist of the young men they like and hold the other end, and then follow the young men. Young men who are followed by several girls in a fan shape look like a peacock. It is an envious scene. The young men in favor are proud of it. Their friends are proud too. In two or three hours, the emcee announces the end of the game. The girls exert a pull, and the strips come away. The game of the "pull sheep" winds up and the audience starts to empty. However, the young men and girls will continue to take part in the "Zhoushengnian".


The "Zhoushengnian" is the game of courting between girls and young men excluding the "pull sheep". Girls stand in pair. The young men, also in pair, will play Lusheng in front of the girls. They blow a little while and turn back and walk forward. The girls will follow the young men and walk several rounds if they like, but they will not "pull sheep" and just keep standing if they don't like the young men. If the young men find the girl does not follow, he will stop playing and goes to seek for other girls. But the girls won't disappoint the young men, whether they like the young men or not, they will follow the young men for several rounds. The Zhoushengnian will end up in less than one hour. The partners of "pull sheep" will invite each other for home guest. If there is moonlight in the night, they will play Lusheng dance in partner. In comparison to the Lusheng dance in daytime, this will be even more interesting.


The dance on the Flower Ground of the 2nd and 3rd day is just similar to that of the 1st day. The girls invited their favorite young men to visit their families after lunar January 25. If the young men show up at the invitation, they will become lovers. If the young men break the appointment, the friendship will be interrupted. It is the same case with the young men.

 

 time£º2014-11-19 20:44:44

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