Name: Flowery Mountains Festival for the Miao people
Date: between the second and seventh day of the first lunar month
The Miao people living in Yunnan and some other places celebrate the Flower Mountain Festival, also known as the Festival of Treading the Flowery Mountains. During this annual festival, thousands of Miao people go to the hillsides located around their villages and hold various festive activities.
The so-called "Flowery Pole" is the mark of the festival. Usually, it is made from long, straight pine or cypress trees. Colorful flags and prizes for pole climbing like sweets and lusheng (a kind of reed pipe wind instrument) are hung about one meter lower from the top of the pole. The person who
volunteers to set up the flowery pole before the first dawn of the festival is generally recognized as a kind-hearted person. It is this person who takes responsibility to toast festival attendees and officially declares the beginning of the festival followed by the drum and gong beating and firecracker explosions.
At the time of the festival, the site consists of flowers and colorful flags, and resounds of merry making as people sing and dance. Activities such as folk song singing, lusheng dancing, lion dancing and bull fighting are held one after the other.
The festival offers a wonderful chance for young Miao people to find their sweethearts. On falling in love, the young man will present to his lover the gifts of flower embroidered puttees and waistband, while the girls give out scarf and turbans they embroider themselves.
The Miao people in northeastern and southern Yunnan celebrate this festival on the sixth day of the sixth lunar month. Legend has it that, in ancient times, the Miao people were distressed about their ancestors' suffering. On this date, however, their ancestors made an appearance and told them not to be too distressed.
The ancestors further advised the people to cheer up, dance and play lusheng. After that, suddenly a flower dropped on to a tree on a hilltop from heaven. Then everyone began to dance around the tree, playing lusheng and singing songs. That year there was a bumper harvest. From that time onwards the festival is celebrated on that particular date, every year.
Their celebration includes singing, lusheng dancing, bull fighting, lion dancing and the climbing of the flowery pole contest, in which the champion is awarded a pig head and fine wine. The winner of lion dancing is also awarded a pig head and wine.
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