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Miao Minority Chinese New Year Customs

 2015-02-05    Donna    Activities    Xiangxi Tujia    2245  

Chinese New Year is celebrated across China and is one of the most important festivals of the year. However, with a total of 55 ethnic minorities in China the customs and celebrations of these group all vary. One of the most notable ethnic minority groups is the Miao of Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Region. Celebrating the New Year, the Miao Minority have many distinct customs.




In preparation for the New Year the Miao people will prepare a variety of food, this often includes smoked bacon, glutinous rice cake, parched rice and chicken as an offering for ancestor worshipping. During the Chinese New Year there is plenty of entertainment to keep everyone entertained. The most notable events are the 100 Lion Dance and dragon lantern. The 100 Dragon Lion Dance is the most lively event, all villagers gather to watch the lion dance performance with 100 dragons. During the performance you can feel the atmosphere of the Miao minority as there will be villagers playing drums and gongs and setting off firecrackers.




During the Chinese New Year the Miao villagers will also perform a sacrificial ceremony known as “jiē long”. This ceremony has been around for over 5,000 years and this is when the villagers pray for a good harvest and a year of good fortune. The ceremony begins at dawn and involves a colorful parade where all the Miao ladies are dressed in their finest dresses accompanied with their intricate jewelry.





When it comes to Chinese New Year dinner the Miao Minority are always happy to invite guests over for dinner. At New Year if there are guests who are visiting the village, it does not matter how many guests, each and every household must invite the guests to have dinner. Guests cannot leave the village until they have visited every household.  


One of the heart stopping moment performances during the Miao Chinese New Year has to be the knife pole climbing. The pole is approximately 10 meters high and has 36 knives, each knife is 49 centimeters in length. The courageous performers must hang from knife pole using their legs and many other various poses. Those who dare to climb the knife pole are courageous and considered heroes. Spectators are amazed by the performance especially the nail biting moments where the performers are making the way up the knife pole.



With so much to see and do at the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous region during the spectacular Chinese New Year, making a visit to this amazing Miao village should be on your list of places to see on your China travels!

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