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Guilin Local Culture

Guilin Local Culture

Introduction to Ethnic Minority Groups in Longsheng

There are many ethnic minority groups living in Longsheng Autonomous County, such as the Yao, Zhuang, Miao, Dong, and so on. Ethnic minorities in Longsheng account for 76% of the whole population. “The Yao live in all the mountains; the Zhuang live along all the waters; the Miao live in all the forests; and the Dong live in all the fields.” This sentence generalizes the distribution of ethnic groups in Longsheng vividly.

Clothes-Hanging Festival of the Red Yao

The Red Yao are a subgroup of the Yao ethnic minority in Longsheng. Red Yao women wear red clothes. Every year, on the 6th day of the 6th lunar month, the Red Yao people will slaughter chickens, ducks, and pigs to celebrate the arrival of harvest. Most importantly, the Red Yao girls of each family will bring every piece of their clothing to hang outside, on the hanging lines, corridors, and the window hoods. To the Red Yao people, this is the most important festival beside the Red Yao’s New Year.

The reason for hanging out all the clothes is that after exposing the clothes to the sun on the 6th day of the 6th lunar month, a hot day, the clothes won’t be moldy through the winter and the spring. On this day all the clothes are hung out. You can see exquisite embroideries on red and black skirts. You will be standing in a colorful, red sea of clothing.

On this day, every family makes Zongzi (steamed glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves). This is why Clothes-Hang Festival is also called Zongba (same as Zongzi) Festival. There are many other activities during the festival, including singing and dancing, embroidering shows, long hair combing shows, jumping bamboo poles, and so on.

The most captivating of is the “Torch Relay” at night. The Red Yao people light up thousands of torches and put them at the heads of the terraced fields. Looking at the top of the mountain, the torches on the fields form lines of dragons. This spectacular scene has attracted many photographers to visit during this festival.

Clothes-Hanging Festival is a festival to commemorate the hardworking spirit of the ancestors of the Red Yao who built the terraced fields. It is also a festival to feature mutual help between couples of the Red Yao. Every year, this huge event attracts thousands of tourists home and abroad, leaving them with a deep impression of Longshen and an unforgettable experience.