Fire dragon dance staged to celebrate Lantern Festival in Gulin Village

Feb Mon 2024
On the evening of February 23, wonderful intangible cultural heritage activities such as the fire dragon dance and the molten iron fireworks show were staged in Gulin Village, Xinchang Town, Fenghuang County, Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture to welcome the arrival of Lantern Festival.

Dozens of local men carrying a giant dragon ran and shouted with the sound of gongs and drums, receiving cheers and applause from viewers. Firecrackers, fireworks, gunpowder and the winding and rushing golden dragon constituted a magnificent scene.

Subsequently, the men performed the fire dragon dance in a shower of molten iron sparkling like fireworks to pray for a smooth year and a bountiful harvest, providing the crowd around with a romantic audio-visual feast.

The fire dragon dance is a traditional sacrificial activity of ethnic minorities in Xiangxi. It has a history of hundreds of years in Gulin Village, Fenghuang County. It is held twice every three years on the eve of Lantern Festival (the 14th day of the first month of the lunar month). It has been passed down from generation to generation, expressing good wishes for a smooth and healthy year.

Dai Wenjie, Party secretary of Gulin Village, said that there was also a custom on the day that every family welcomes the auspicious dragon into their home in the hope of bringing good fortune.

Nowadays, more and more young people join the fire dragon dance team. Shi Zhu, who is 21 years old this year and still studying in college, has been exposed to the tradition since childhood and has taken part in the custom for four years. “The fire dragon dance is the liveliest event in the village all the year around. Young people should learn more about the intangible cultural heritage culture in order to better inherit and promote it,” he said.

Dai Wenjie said that the fire dragon dance is a traditional blessing ceremony of the village and also a symbol of the indomitable spirit of our ancestors.

Today, the older generation still sticks to the traditional skill of fire dragon dance and provides guidance for young people to practice the skill. He is overjoyed as more and more young people love and participate in the traditional folk activity. The traditional custom of fire dragon dance has inspired generations of Gulin people for hundreds of years, and it will continue to shine even more brightly in the new era.
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