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Panwang Festival


Panwang Festival (盘王节)is the grandest festival of Yao people, who are mainly distributed in south China. Outgrowing its past as a traditional festival dedicated to ancestral worship, Panwang Festival has evolved into a comprehensive carnival festooned with distinctive Yao singing and dancing, such as the Chorus of Panwang King and the over 2000-year-old Long Drum Dance, sport competitions and trade.


panwang festival

On the sixteenth day of the tenth lunar month
, Yao people of all ages will dress up and gather together, singing the Chorus of Panwang King, performing the Long Drum Dance and preparing the most luxurious banquets among the whole year. To perform Long Drum Dance, Yao people usually pair up by twos or fours. Mysterious ancestral worship ritual coupled with funky parties make it irresistible for backpackers and China ethnic culture fans.


panwang festival

As an ancient festival dedicated to memorize Panwang King, the ancestor of Yao people, it obeys settled routines strictly. An altar will be erected to enshrine Panwang King and other minor gods. Then, the solemn worship will be in full swing. To bring out merry atmosphere, Yao people will shoot into the sky three times and display firecrackers. Sacrificial offerings including pig heads, glutinous rice cakes, chicken and rice wine will be presented to their gods piously. Standing in rows, Yao villagers will lower their heads to pray.

panwang festival


Staged to thank Panwang King and praise their diligent ancestors initially, Panwang King Festival is secularized and simplified later. Enriched by new contents such as trade, exhibitions and sport competitions, it draws people of all lines like a magnet. Yao also take this chance to celebrate harvest and make new friends. In some areas, Yao people will invite troupes into their villages to perform operas or acrobatics. Besides, unique entertainments such as firecracker display and Da Hua Gun(Stick Spinning) will be staged.


panwang festival


Panwang Festival can be celebrated separately by families or collectively by several villages. It will last from three days and two nights to seven days and nights. For travelers, it is time to feast eye on the extremely diversified Yao attires as well as a myriad of dances such as Long-Drum Dance, Umbrella Dance and Copper Drum Dance.

Panwang worship ritual consists of two parts and is presided over by four priests and four assistants. Besides, it also involves four beautiful Yao girls, twelve children, one Long Drum musician and one Suona band.

In the first part, four priests will perform fascinating dances imbued with rich religious connotations, which will leave the audiences spellbound. The second part featuring the fabled Chorus of Panwang King, is participated by all villagers. The Chorus of Panwang King is the encyclopedia of Yao nationality, from which you can peek into their history, myths, legends, mythology, folk tales, philosophy, art and culture. This ritual will continue for one day and one night. In a word, Panwang Festival is highly recommended during your stay in a Yao village.



panwang festival


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