Taijiang Sisters' Meal Festival

   According to Miao old folk songs, the Miao had the tradition of spending sisters' meal festival in the past from the 1st lunar month to the 3rd lunar month, different ceremonious activities will be held on different days at various places. The sisters' meal festival in Shidong, Taijiang is regarded as one of the most interesting and the representative of the Miao's festivals, it's the Miao' festival for the young lovers, thus named a festival hidden in the pistil.

   It is said that long time ago, there was a boy called Jindan, and a girl called Ajiao, they grew up together and played together since childhood. When growing up, they fell in love with each other, no one wants to marry the others. Ajiao's parents want her to marry her cousin(the son of her mother's brother) due to Miao's old tradition, it is called " returning mother's head" in the past according to Miao's old custom. Ajiao was not willing to marry her cousin, Jindan vowed to marry Ajiao, not someone else and waited for her. Every day they secretly made an appointment with each other in the open country field for not been seen by their parents and the village old. Every time Ajiao carried steamed stick rice in the bamboo basket which is usually for storing silk floss for making embroidery. After many years, they finally married each other through long period of hard revolt, thus " sisters rice, also called sisters' meal" is popularly practiced and spread.

  Afterwards, we don't know how many years has gone, they say there are 800 girls in Shidong area, they can not marry because they can't find boy friends, 800 boys in Datang, Sanbin area can't find girl friends, and become singles. So the old thought of the story of Ajiao and Jindan, they told the girls to prepare steamed sticky rice and invite the 800 boys to eat the rice, thus everyone found his own love partner and finally married.

   In Shidong area, on the 13th day of the third lunar month, the girls from nearby Miao villages climb to the mountains and pick edible juice from plant leaves or flowers and dye glutinous rice into yellow, purple, green or red, then invite boys to eat the steamed sticky rice at night, they sing love songs to each till middle night.. The color of the sticky rice has some meanings. Yellow means bump harvest of rice, red is for the prosperity of the villages, white indicates pure love, purple symbolizes the weath of a family, green signifies the beautiful Qingshuijiang river. They put some gifts such as pine needles, bamboo hooks, cotton, chili or garlic in the steamed sticky rice. Pine needles mean the girl wants the boy to give her some silk floss to make embroidery, bamboo hooks mean that she wants the boy to give her some umbrellas, the numbers of the hooks is the same as the umbrellas', if the two bamboo hooks are connected with each other, that means she hopes to meet the boy more times in the future so as to know each other more. Cotton means she wants to marry him. Chili or garlic means she is not willing to make friends or know more about him in the future, that means she refuses him.









   During the 16th and 17th day, in the afternoon, the girls in gorgeous festive dress with plenty of silver ornaments together with their mothers come to the riverside of Qingshuijiang river in Pianzhai, they dance with the rhythm of wooden drum, the boys also come to join the dance in traditional brown shiny clothe. some boats are busy loading local Miao people, sometimes several cormorants are relaxing on the boats, everything is good looking.

   Every year I had tours to see this festival, and I really enjoyed my time with my groups there. Unfortunately this year(2011)they changed the place for the dance on a big new opened ground near the main high way, not at the former place near the river, and less girls came to join the festival, I think maybe the government changed this, it's a pity. So if you go there, please don't hope to get so much as before, if you wish to get more, you will be more disappointed. Finally I just hope this festival still can keep it's original tastes at the former place, hope the government won't do any wrong actions to it any more, just let it be naturally.

    Witten by Along-a Miao guide and tour operator from Langde village

Guizhou Travel guide, Guizhou Tour,Southwest

Guizhou Travel guide,Guizhou Tour, Southwest China Tours, Guizhou Travel Agency,Festivals
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Taijiang Sisters's Meal Festival-Tony Chen
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The Miao Fesrtility Festival in Langde-Tony Chen
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All texts and image by Chen Hualong Email: tony6868@163.com, alongdiscovery@hotmail.com
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