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The Miao New Year Festival in Guilin

Updated on November 4, 2012

Guilin is one of the most visited tourist attractions in China. It is a city within the prefecture-level and is situated near Li River. Because of the vast number of Osmanthus, the place was named as Guilin which means Sweet Osmanthus forest. Guilin is studded with picturesque and scenic places. Every year, Guilin lures millions of tourist. While most visitors might be tantalized by the natural gorgeous landscape, Guilin is also known for the annual Miao New Year Festival.

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What is Miao Festival?

The Miao Festival is the commemoration of the beginning of a new year. According to Miao’s tradition and calendar, it is during the tenth month of the lunar calendar where there is a change of year. This is the most celebrated festival of the Miao’s ethnic people. Because the Miao follows the lunar calendar, the exact date of the festival varies each year and is only finalized two to three months. This is the main reason that festival goers should be updated accordingly to prepare for the occasion.

The Miao New Year Festival is known to Guangxi Zhuang Region to be the most extravagant and grandest event of the year. During the festivities, tourists will enjoy watching the place transform from its contemporary ambience to the traditional look of the city. There are many highlights of the events which include customary Lusheng (bamboo musical instruments), ethnic dancing and singing, bullfights, basketball, chess, and horseracing.

There are three parts of Miao’s New Year Festival. These are the Big Year, Small Year, and Tail Year. The Big Year is the most awaited festival. Usually, the festival falls on October in which the harvest has just concluded. The Big Year is held for two to five days but there are some areas in Guangxi Zhuang Region where it is celebrated for ten days. Because of the bountiful harvest during this part of the year, most people will have enough resources to celebrate the local holiday. Traditionally, the Miao’s New Year Festival is also celebrated to offer respect and remembrance to the dead and to the Miao’s ancestors.

Historical Background of Miao People

The Miao’s New Year Festival is very significant for the Miao People. Every thirteen years, the festival becomes even more special for the local people and it is called as the Guzang Festival. This festival is only celebrated in TaijiangCounty, ShibingCounty, and SansuiCounty.

The Miao people are directly descended from Chiyou who is believed to be the tribal leader of Jiuli tribe. They are anciently located in the central and lower parts of Yellow River. Chiyou’s role as the leader of the tribe is to defend the city from oppressors and the as the leader who offers sacrifices. Chiyou is also tasked to understand the heavenly signs and predict future events. The discovery of Chiyou’s tomb in Puyang, Henan Province revealed many ancient traditions and their originality. It was soon learned that the Miao’s Guzang Festival is part of the commemoration of the alliances made between the local tribes in the region and to thank the gods and their ancestors of the peace and prosperity they experienced.

Today, the festival is considered as a living testimony of the rich and diverse Chinese culture.

What to do in Guilin

While you are in the place for the festival, you might also want to visit other tourist spots to truly enjoy your stay. You can visit the Dragon Backbone Terraces, Li River, YulongBridge, Huanggaoshu Waterfalls, Dragon Pool, and many others. The place offers unlimited pleasures and blissful moments for the tourists who like to experience Guilin. With all these being said, it is only proper to plan your next vacation in Guilin and have the experience of your life!

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