Festivals and Customs
In Guilin,not only the landscape scenery and human sight look attractive,but also the colorful ethnic customs that also obsessed. The population of 28 minorities in Guilin such as Zhuang,Hui,Miao,Dong is over 700,000,occupying 8.5% of the city’s total population.Hence traditional feature festivals here are also varied.The honest folkway, splendid culture,and the unique ethnic festivals etc.have constituted a rich and colorful folk customs picture, which has become a large tourist scenery in Guilin.
Chinese New Year in Guilin
Spring Festival, widely known as Chinese New Year in the west,the festival that has been stretching for more then 2000 years and also called Chinese New Year,has an irreplaceable memory and hope to all the Chinese people.It lasts from Lunar January 1th to 15th,usually between late January and early February of the Gregorian calendar.The origin of Spring festival can be traced to 2000 years ago,Shun became the emperor and led his staff to worship heaven and earth.From then on, people took this day as the beginning of a year,and later it was called Spring festival.
With the arrival of the Spring Festival,most of the villages and towns in Guilin such as Yongfu,Yanshan will organize various cultural activities in this period to make the local people enjoy the rich cultural feast of Spring Festival,for example,opera performances,calligraphy and painting exhibition, cock fighting, bird fighting, basketball game, dragon dance and lion dance, walking on stilts etc.Meanwhile the scenic spots will also hold various theme activities according to annual Chinese zodiac,and in some scenic spots the staff even dress up as the God of wealth to deliver exquisite gift or candy bag. However,no matter how various the activities are,they all have a common theme,that is “bid farewell to the old and usher in the new”.
Guilin locals celebrate the first day of the New Year with “lion” dancing. With the sound of firecrackers, the “lion” play and waves their body and go though the street, hence the name “Bainian”, which means pay a New Year call to families. People on the street follow behind the lion dancing team, and would like to get back with Good luck.
Guilin Spring Festivel Tour
Zhuang singing festival on March 3rd
March 3rd is Zhuang traditional song festival.It’s on annual lunar March 3rd that young men and women dress up and gather in the mountain,divide into teams,then they begin singing in antiphonal style,and most of the lyrics are about love and made impromptu,from shallow to deep and involve broad.There are many legends about the origin of Zhuang singing festival,the widest one is Liu sanjie.It’s said that in Tang Dynasty,Liu sanjie had beautiful voice and sang well,then she was regarded as a song celestial.The rich hated her for exposing their crimes through her songs,and while she went to the mountain for firewood,they sent persons to cut off the Yamato and made her fall into the valley and died.Then the posterity sing three days and nights to commemorate her on the day she died - March 3rd every year.
These days people use maple leaves, Huanghua grass, March flowers etc to boil and dye into glutinous rice to pay homage to Liu Sanjie.young men and women also have the activities of touching color eggs,throwing embroidered ball etc on the dike.Nowadays,the activities of Zhuang March 3rd are still very popular and the scale is becoming more and more magnificent.In addition,it has developed into the culture and art festival and become a influential large-scale national song festival.
Tomb-sweeping Day is a festival that descendants offer sacrifices to ancestors,the traditional activity is to pay respects to the dead person at his tomb.It’s on April 4th and lasts 3 days.It’s said that the origin of Tomb-sweeping Day can trace back to the ancient periods.The emperor,generals,and the prime ministers etc had the ceremony of worship to the dead emperor on April 4th,later folk followed and commemorated their dead relatives on this day.Ages followed and became a fixed custom of Chinese nation.
According to the old tradition, people will carry food and fruit, drink,paper money and other items and put the food in front of the grave of relatives，fire the paper money,add new soil for the grave and fold a few Liu branches in the new green insert in the grave,then kowtow and worship,finally eat the food and go home.Besides sweeping the bomb in this period,there are also a series of custom sports activities in Guilin like hiking, swing, playing Cuju,inserting Liu and so on.
In addition,one or two days before the Tomb-sweeping Day,Guilin people will also prepare Tzung Tzu, glutinous rice cake, mugwort leaf Baba, lotus root and water chestnut cake etc.This festival,which has both bitter tears of worship and the sound of laughter of spring outing,is a distinctive holiday.
Dragon Boat Festival
Dragon Boat Contest is held on May 5th in Chinese lunar calendar. Guilin Dragon Boat Contest is held every 3 years. Participants train very hard to be in the best physical condition for this important and prestigious event. The banks of the Lijiang River are crowded with spectators on the day as the dragon boats race on the river with the deafening sounds of dragon boat songs, bells and drums. The winners are awarded the traditional prizes of silver coins and treated to a roasted pig.
Guilin held its first International Dragon Boat Contest in 1998, which attracted Dragon Boat troupes from South East Asian Countries, Hong Kong SAR, Macau, and China 's Taiwan .
This festival is full of color and traditional and would be well worth including on your itinerary.
Lusheng Dance is a traditional recreation in festivals of Miao Nationalities. Young men play the Lusheng together. Ggirls are dressed in their traditional, costumes, wearing dragon and phoenix silver caps, silver hair clasp, and silver comb dance to the rhythm of Lusheng. Young people fall in love with each other through the dance.
Minority nationalities in the northern counties of Guilin have many festivals and folk customs, such as bull fighting, horse racing, and the Lusheng dance.
Ziyuan River Lantern and Song Festival
Held from July 13 to 14 in the Chinese Lunar Calender, River Lantern and Song Festival is the traditional festival from Ziyuan County which is 107km away from Guilin city.
During the festival, large gatherings will be held by Han, Yao , Miao and other nationalities. Lion dance groups, dragon dance groups, river lantern groups and arts troupes from all villages will combine together for colorful folk art shows. When night falls, people take the river lantern to the river to commemorate their ancestors and pray for the good fortune for their children. The river lanterns make a fabulous dispaly at night on the river. The art performances and singing contests last all night. The following day the market will be crowded with people who carry on the celebration.
Longsheng Red Clothes Festival
Longsheng County is an autonomous county with many nationalities. The Red Yao are a sub-group of the Yao Nationality in Longsheng whose women wear Red as there national costume. The Red Clothes Festival, also known as Zhaina, is held on March 15 in the lunar calendar each year at Sishui Town . During this festival, Red Yao people gather in Sishui Street to exchange agricultural implements and products, buy daily necessities, or visit their friends and relatives. The young people take the chance to try to find a potential husband or wife.
Red Yao people enjoy singing and dancing. Folk sports such as bamboo pole balancing, tug-of-wars and rooster fighting are practiced by the Yao . Women of Red Yao have extremely long hair and they wear it in a coil on top of their head.
The Red Yoa like to have beauty contests. A beauty contestant in Red Yao criteria must be pretty, knowledgeable, be able to speak well, sing well and have good moral standard.
Zhainai festival programs will contain singing in antiphonal style, long drum dance, sports contest, hair competition, and a Miss Village contest.
With the development of the tourist industry, Red Clothes Festival has become a festival for all nationalities. It is held on March 15 in lunar month, or April 8, at Zhaina ( Sishui Village ), or at the foot of Longji Mountain .
The Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn festival,which is also called Moon festival,originate from the ancient people's worship of the moon,legend has it that on August 15th the moon will be full round around the year and because it’s both in the middle of autumn and August,so it’s called the Mid-Autumn festival.
And full moon symbolizes reunion and entrust with the people's thought of love to relatives especially those who are away from home.Otherwise,people like to present moon cakes to relatives,colleagues,or neighbors etc to send their braw blessings before the festival.And on the night of this day,relatives get together to enjoy the glorious full moon with eating moon cakes and fruits,meanwhile reposing their endless love to life and the desire for a better life.During the Mid-Autumn festival many places in Guilin will hold varied activities for citizens,such as theme park visiting,lantern riddles,knowledge contest about the Mid-autumn festival,praying moon with grapefruit incense etc.When it comes to grapefruit incense,almost no one knows its origin,however long time ago.
The local minority worshiped the moon in this way.Nowadays there are still such custom in Zhuang region of Guilin.
In the past,fishermen in Lijiang river went fishing at night,there were often hundreds of rafts setting out and converging in Baisha River.Fishermen lit the raft fishing lamp so as to attract fish to swallow the bait then caught them .The shining lamps and waves of water droplets were just like the stars in the night sky,lighting on the rafts and the visible or hidden shoal in the water,coupled with the beautiful and charming scenery at the river side,the whole picture was as the acme of perfection.Since the year of 1999,Yangshuo county began to hold the first Yangshuo Autumn festival.Thereafter it’s held in annual deep autumn season for 3 days and takes the “fish light” “fireworks”, “bonfire” as the main line,meanwhile during these days there will be a lot of activities held in towns such as the culture and folk art perform ,arts Plaza, as well as the calligraphy, photography exhibition, basketball tournament, chess competition,bicycle race and so on.This time the whole county will present the jubilant scenes.In general,Guilin is just like a big melting pot,containing so many nation cultural characteristics and handing down intactly.Let visitors from all over the world experience the unique ethnic customs in a festive atmosphere and indulge in pleasures without stop.
Yangshuo Rock Climbing Festival
Yangshuo is a well-known for its unique Karst scenery, as well as a paradise for rock climbing for the climbers from all over the world, the forth Yangshuo International Climbing Festival will held in 1st to 4th December, 2011. In Yangshuo, you can not only enjoy the most beautiful scenery, but also can climb to the most diverse cliff and feels different ramps, as well as enjoy the most singularly climbing culture. Certainly this festival provides multiple awards and unprecedented experience of outdoor activities.
Yangshuo county now is right in the mid-autumn, the weather is so lovely, warm and dry, the weather forecast statistic shows it will be sunny during the festival, the best time for rock climbing, At present, as one of this year's Festival special guest, Xie Weicheng is determined his present, he is one of the best climbers of natural rock and as well as he owns the Asia Climbing Alignment License. Yangshuo climbing Festival registration system was launching to the public since October, the rock climbing fans from all over the world set off the first round of application climax. Base on the official website statistics, just one week, the number of registrations from all over the world up to 150, more than 20 of them from abroad. For more domestic and foreign contestants list are ready to confirm by organizing Committee.
This rock climbing Festival will become into a exciting, and distinctive annual climbing entertainment Carnival. The program Including rock climbing competition, natural rock relay race, introducing competition and difficult matches, the experts sharing, flat belt performance, climbing music festival, rock shows, Festival photo contest, the rock climbing festival history cultural exhibitions, and lucky draws will performed at this festival. "The climb" is the most creative competition, the contestants can choose any kinds of routs, according to the number of complete lines to get the value of the prize. The new rock culture exhibition is designed to let more people acknowledge rock climbing activity and join into this challenge outdoor sports.
Meanwhile, in order to better run this renowned rock climbing event, the raise funds of this Rock Climbing Festival will be used only for the climbing routs development and maintenance, to ensure all the rock dude’s safety and climbing equipments. Through this festival, the organizers hope that it can be provided an opportunity for the domestic and abroad climbers for experience exchange, and to promote and facilitate the development of rock climbing outdoor activities.