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Reed-pipe Wind Instrument Festival

A traditional gathering for Miao People in Guizhou Province named after a bamboo music instrument is definitely a glory of the colorful Miao culture and customs. That’s Reed-pipe Wind Instrument Festival which is also known as Lusheng Festival. (芦笙节). People from different towns nearby usually dress in their most beautiful Miao costumes and flow to the valleys from all directions, play reed-pipe wind instruments(芦笙) and dance in lines or circles, filling the used-to-be-quiet mountain valleys with lush music and happiness.

Lusheng is the Chinese name of reed-pipe wind instrument, which is also called “Kongming Pipe” because it is believed that Lusheng was invented by Zhuge Liang who was also named Zhuge Kongming in Three Kingdom Period. The instruments were popular even back in the Tang Dynasty in Southwest China. A good player is always respected by others in Miao culture.
Time/Place 20172018
Near Kaili City, Guizhou Feb. 14 -Feb.16 (Feb. 15 is the best time)Mar. 5 -Mar. 7 (Mar. 6 is the best ime)
Gulong Da Zhai Village, Huangping county, Guizhou Nov. 15-Nov. 16Nov. 4 -Nov. 5
 The respected playing Lusheng The young playing Lusheng

When is the Festival?

However this jolly party doesn’t fall on the same day though the activities are similar! At the outskirt of Kaili City, Zhouxi Lusheng Festival is the most attractive and tremendous one which occurs on January 16th of the Lunar Calendar and lasts for almost a week, while the second biggest one, Gulong Lusheng Festival in Huangping County is celebrated from September 27th to 29th. What’s more, this is also a traditional festival for Dong People.
How people celebrate the Festival?

During the festival season, people play Lusheng, Tiao Lu Sheng (dance with the tune of Lusheng), take part in the horse racing and bull fighting. The festival is ended with a wonderful traditional activity of young ladies and gentlemen called “you fang” which actually is a kind of party for the young to choose their sweet hearts. They sing antiphonally to show their love and if a boy and a girl fall in love with each other they will get married. This is quite different from some other nationalities in China. In the ancient times, the marriage of the young was often arranged by parents in many families.
 you fang you fang
The legend of the Festival

The legendary origination of Zhouxi Lusheng Festival began with a beautiful love story. The heroine named A Wang was a talented and beautiful girl who lived in a small town in Zhouxi. She was good at embroidery and the butterflies would have mistaken her embroidery flowers as real ones. As a Miao girl, she also had a gift of singing. Everyone in the town loved her as she was kind-hearted and she was of course the apple of his father’s eye. However the attractive girl was greedily noticed by a pheasant monster who wanted to own her. It first pretended to be a rich man and then a handsome young man and proposed to A wang but was refused. Finally the monster caught A wang violently. The villagers all came to help by making loud sound with bronze drums and bull horns and setting fires hoping to frighten the monster. Hunters in the village also tried to shoot it with arrows. However the monster couldn’t be frightened or hurt unless someone shot its throat. At that moment, a young errant hunter came back from a far away place named Mao Sha who had heard about the news. Finally Mao Sha killed the monster with the help of the villagers and left after sending three pheasant feathers to A Wang who felt in love with the young hunter for the first sight. A Wang thought of Mao Sha all day and night without any appetite after his leaving for nowhere. This was noticed and understood by her father. However, Mao Sha was an errant hunter who traveled around and they had no way to contact him. Finally the brilliant father got an idea. He made lots of Lusheng with green bamboos and asked the villagers to spread the news that there would be a Lusheng party for everybody on the eighteenth day in January of the Lunar Calendar in Zhouxi which reached to Mao Sha’s ears fortunately. Mao Sha came back on the day and was welcomed by the exciting villagers and A Wang who showed her love to him by giving him a Lusheng decorating with handmade flowers. They got married at the end. In order to celebrate the reunion of the couple, people did the same on the same day in the following few years since the first party and it became a traditional gradually. This is the reason why the festival always ends with"you fang". Oh. This is really a long story to tell. Beautiful, huh?
Handmade flowers on LushengPheasant feathers on the hat
Till now, young men in Miao villages follow the tradition of tying several pheasant feathers on their hats or Lusheng implying they have the power to conquer the evil while girls always tie their handmade flowers on the instruments of their lovers to show their love.
Author: Echo  Posted in 2012      Re-edited by Sophia on Jan 9,2014   


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