Featured Miao clothes, warm smiles, horn spirit, you’ve started your fantastic journey in a Miao village. The exotic culture of the Miao ethnic group in Southwest China's Guizhou province has always been a fascination for tourists. As the best place to observe the Miao tradition and lifestyle, Xijiang Miao village is known as the "one-thousand household village" for its extensive coverage of wooden buildings unique to the ethnic group.
The village is located by the valley and surrounded by overlapping mountains, with terraced fields rising along the slopes to the clouds and the Baishui River flowing through and cutting the village into two. Much of he town is still traditional architecture, and people walking on the farmer's paths can see the nice scenery that includes a river valley with terraced fields, intricate wooden houses built in their architectural style, and farmer's working the land with their oxen.
Though the Miao themselves use various self-designations, the Chinese traditionally classified them according to the most characteristic color of the women's clothes. Clothes of the Miao ethnic minority are diverse across regions.
Men wear short coats and trousers, while women decorate themselves with very dainty and dazzling skirts and jewels. On their skirts, there are many patterns taking themes from life such as flowers, birds, etc. One of the most attractive, pleated skirts has as many as forty layers! The travelers to Xijiang are amazed at the elegant and glittering silver ornaments worn by Miao females during the holidays. The Miao women wear large neck rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, beads and sheaths of engraved silver for festival days. You can dress up as a Miao man or woman for a few RMB and have your picture taken, and you can browse in the town's several jewelry shops to take home Miao jewelry too.
Besides their unique clothes and jewelry, there are many interesting ethnic traditions you may have the chance to witness in Xijiang Miao Village as the village is also a center for grand Miao festivals and celebrations. Miao people from the nearby villages gather at Xijiang for festival celebrations. Famous festivals include the Lusheng Festival, the Miao New Year and Sisters' Meal Festival. Songs and dance are a major part of these festivals for tourists to enjoy.
The poultry ceremony, for example, is a common custom in Miao households. A chicken head is given to the senior member attending the celebration. The leg is given to the youngest person attending. Another common custom is the sharing of a poultry heart. Either a duck or chicken is killed, and its heart is presented to the guest. The senior member of the household presents the heart using a chopstick. The person carefully picks up the heart and presents it to their guest. In return, the guest must share the heart with the person who presented it to them.
The Miao people are great observers of etiquette. They are also very hospitable and pay respect to their guests. When people visit their homes, families will often kill a chicken to provide poultry for their guests to eat.
They also try their best to entertain guests, like providing a special drink called horn spirit - an alcoholic drink served to pay respect to guests. Visitors can feel like at their home in Xijiang Miao Village.