Gulong Lusheng Festival

    Lusheng is a popular musical instrument among the Miao during festivals, weddings or funerals. Some festivals are called Lusheng, because Miao people use Lusheng for celebrating festivals.

 There are many interesting Lusheng festivals in Guizhou every year among the Miao. Some are large, some are small, the big ones are Zhouxi Lusheng festival on the first lunar month, Gulong Lusheng festival on the ninth lunar month, etc, usually they last for several days followed with lot of traditional activities.

 Gulong Lusheng festival occurs on the ninth lunar month, which lasts for three days. During the three days, thousands of people come to join the festival. They mainly are from Gulong, Huangpiao, Chong'an, Wengping and Miaolong, these Miao are called Gulong style Miao, a few Miao from Panghai, Kaitang and Wengxiang, they are called Geyi style Miao. Sometimes, you also can find a few Miao from Shidong(Shidong style Miao), Taijiang and some from Zhoxi(Zhouxi style Miao), Kaili.

 

 

Gulong is a small town in Huangping county, the town is 45kms away from Kaili, nearly two hours' bus trip. On the first day, the relatives or villagers start to come to Gulong, the villagers in Gulong are busy preparing food for relatives, but there are no interesting ceremonious activities on that day. The best time to see the festival is the second and third day. On the second day, about 11 o'clock, many Miao people in traditional festival dress begin to come to the festival ground which is located on both sides of the main street of Gulong, around 14:00 in the afternoon, you will find more and more Miao girls and women in silver ornaments get together in a big and flat area near the middle school, they wear huge silver necklaces and crowns, little babies also wear beautiful hats which are decorated with silver ornaments and embroidery. A big difference here is that the Miao women here can play Lusheng, they also dance Lusheng, in most other regions, usually men play Lusheng and women dance Lusheng, not women play Lusheng. Of course the men here also can play Lusheng. You will find the Miao women dance happily, one village will make one circle, every one is looking at the dancers to see whether she is pretty or rich, that can tell from how much the silver she wears, if she wears more silver, that means her family is more rich. On the other side of the street, you will hear men and children make huge noise, that's a place for bull fight, the Miao especially like buffalo fight. you also can find horse race, bird fight near the bull fight ground. The activities continues till around 17:00pm, then people start to go back home or go to visit their relatives in Gulong and wait for the next day's ceremony. 
    

For foreign tourists, you need to know something in advance, maybe it's much better to this information ahead. There is a toilet near the school, but it's very, very dirty, it's not possible for ordinary foreigner tourists to use it, for backpackers, ok, it's fine for them. you can't find a suitable place for bath room, so you must arrange for that in advance, for instance, you can drink less coffee and water on the way, or you can go to the bath rooms first before arriving at the festival ground, there are some small trees on the way from Panghai to Gulong, perhaps you can use the nature bath room there. One more thing is that many people will come to join the festival, so a lot of cars park there, and you have to walk a not short distance to get to the festival ground, and the street is very crowded.

The legend goes, many year ago, a dragon swallowed a Miao men's( his name is called Wang Bo in Miao language) son, so Wang Bo was very angry, and he killed the dragon, then it became dark all days and all nights, crops can not grow, people were starving. One night in his dream, the dragon told Wang Bo that he was very lonely in the hell, if Wang Bo told the Miao to play Lusheng for him, he will let the days be bright and plants grow, so Wang Bo told the villagers to play Lusheng and dance Lusheng, then it became bright, crops could grow well, the Miao had a very good harvest, thus they followed this tradition till today.

Anyway, the festival is worth a visit, it happens only once a year, not every day. For backpackers, there are also some buses from Kaili to Gulong, so they can find the buses in Kaiyunsi( Kaili transportation coporation).

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