Ancient customs kept alive by Miao people

Aug Fri 2023
Fenghuang Ancient Town in the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in Hunan Province has witnessed the revival of diverse customs and traditions.

The Flower-Jumping Festival kicked off on May 26 in Shanjiang Township in Fenghuang. The annual event, held on the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, is a major traditional festival celebrated by local Miao people. It has been listed as a national intangible cultural heritage event and illustrates the long history of Miao culture.

During the festival, Miao residents in splendid costumes sing cheerful folk songs and dance together to celebrate the most important day of their ethnic group.

The Ganqiu Festival, a traditional Miao festival celebrating the approaching autumn, is a time when local people stop working in the fields, dress up, gather on traditional autumn slopes, play Miao drums and engage in entertainment activities such as swings, bamboo flute playing, singing and dancing.

The festivities are part of Xiangxi’s local culture, which express reverence for the Miao ancestors.

There are also performances of intangible cultural heritage skills such as climbing a knife ladder, showcasing Miao people’s devoutness when worshipping their ancestors. A tall, sturdy wooden pole is pushed into the soil of a field, with dozens or even hundreds of large knives inserted in a ladder-like pattern.

Worshippers then clamber up the structure to demonstrate their devotion.

In recent years, Fenghuang county has incorporated these intangible cultural heritage projects into the tourism industry through performances, which help protect and inherit ancient culture and art.

Local residents wearing Miao ethnic clothing take part in an event. 
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