"Si Yue Ba"--A Grand Miao Festival


  " Si Yue Ba"means April 8th, is a grand Miao festival held at many places. The Miao in Guiyang, Huangping, Songtao, Anshun and west Hunan have the tradition to spend a festival called "Si Yue Ba".                      
   Among them, the "Si Yue Ba" in Guiyang is one of the most grand festivals, when the date of April 8th arrives, more than 10 thousand people come to join the festival with ceremonious activities. They are from various towns and directions such as the suburb of Guiyang, Qingzhen, Xiuwen, Kailyang, Xifeng, Pingba, Anshun, Longli and Huishui, etc. Nowadays, some Miao from Kaili, Leishan and Yunnan sometimes are also invited to participate in the festival. The ceremony center is in Pengshuichi(Waterfall fountain in English), formerly called "Tongxiangtai", then a lot of activities will be held during the day, young Miao boys and girls play Lusheng and dance Lusheng, at times, Buyi people also join the festival, young men play flutes, the festival ground becomes a sea of colorful festival dress, whatever men or women, the old or young, everyone is immersed in the happiness and enjoyment of the festival. The young are busy looking for love partners, and the old get together with their friends or relatives talking about the past and today, it is full of happy love songs, friendly harmonious atmosphere.
   When the festival date arrives, Miao gets together at Tongxiangtai on time, this is a festival to worship ancestors.
   About the festival, there is legend we can tell from. Long long ago, there was a Miao tribe living at "Ge Luo Ge Sang"( it's somewhere in Guiyang). There was an old man named "Gu Bo Yang Liu", he was the head of the tribe and he was brave with wisdom. He and his offspring cultivated the fields and made new homes at Zexiba( Zaiji area of Guiyang). As they worked hard, the crops grew very well, they had good harvest and spent a good life. At that time, the place was in the jungle full of flourishing forests and grass, wild animals often appear at night destroying crops. One day, Gu Bo Yang Liu shoot a female pig dragon. He knows the dragon heart is a treasure, it will rain when putting it in water, and it will be sunny while placing it on a dry place. Then he scooped out the dragon heart and storied it well. They really had good harvests of crops by the dragon heart, it made the people of the tribe so happy.
   The news about the dragon heart was spread to the ears of the Heduwu people, Heduwu was another tribe living in the east of Ge Luo Ge Sang. The tribe head of Heduwu sent some people disguised themselves as merchants, they used a fake dragon heart showing to Gu Bo Yang Liu's daughter and exchanging the real one from her by cheating her. Then they invaded the homeland of Gu Bo Yang Liu's tribe, thus started the fight. They fought for 3 days and 3 nights, Gu Bo Yang Liu and his son-in law died on the day of April 8th- "Si Yue Ba".
   After that, when April 8th arrives, Miao people in gala dress with Lusheng, flutes came to celebrate the festival so as to commemorate their heroes and ancestors. Because the Miao scattered at many places, they came from different places to celebrate the festival, it became a place and chance for people not only gather for playing Lusheng, worshipping ancestors, but also to look for love partner, exchange information and goods, etc.

   "Si Yue Ba" of Feiyunya--A Festival in Huangping
   "Si Yue Ba" in Feiyunya is a fair, it's a sacrificial festival, popularly called "Nong Ga Jiang Nue"( means eating cow congee ). On the 8th day of April every year, the festival- "Si Yue Ba" is held in Feiyunya, Dongpo township, Huangping county, the festival lasts 3 days. Sometimes more than 5 thousand people come to join the festival. The participants are mainly Miao, except for Miao, Han and Gejia(another small minority unrecognized officially) also take part in the festival, people are from Huangping, Shibing, Taijiang, Zhenyuan and Kaili.
   Feiyunya is an old complex with old architectures built in the Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty where one can see old Taoism and Buddhism architectures, flourishing forests, grotesque cliff, it's a beautiful and quite place worth visiting.
The festival is held on the flat ground in front of the temple gate, during the festival, Miao people play Lusheng and dance Lusheng, you can also see bird fight, etc. Usually the players are mostly the young, and the bird fight watchers are mainly the old or the middle age.
   The family of Pan starts the ceremony of playing and dancing Lusheng, then the others can join the dancing and playing ceremony, the climax is in the afternoon, after 18:00pm, the relatives or participants buy candies visiting their relatives at the host village, some families have more than 50 relatives for the visit, they stay overnight at the host's home, they drink rice wine at night and sing folk songs together.
   It is said that April 8th is the birthday of cows, for celebrating the cow's birthday, the Miao let the cow have a vocation for one day, and they raised cows with congee, thus got the name "Nong Ga Jiang Nue". Another legend goes, family Pan migrated from Jiangxi province and made new homes here, they built Feiyun temple and became one of the abbots. Every year, the monks spent the Fufo Festival, they invited the abbots for the meals, because the family members of Pan became more and more, later the monks were not able to supply with enough food, they used congee for instead. And the custom of liking playing Lusheng, dancing Lusheng was handed down from generation to generation.
   The festival date of this year(2014) is from May 6 to May 8, we are colleting private tour for this festival with Miao villages, textiles, costumes, old towns, Dong drum towers, wind and rain bridges and beautiful rice terraces, if you have interests for the tour, just feel free to contact us for the detailed itinerary and price, our tour is flexible, we will arrange the tour due to your requests.

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