Festival of the Miao(Hmong) in Guizhou
Caishan festival is a traditional festival of the Miao(Hmong) minority
group in the north of Guizhou. Caishan festival is also given a name “Cai
Shan Ping” or “Cai Shan Bao”, it’s held during February-the period of
Chinese Spring festival.
There are more than 10 thousand people coming to join the festival, many
of them are young people(boys and girls). Among them, the majority is
Miao, the rest are Yi, Buyi, Gelao and Han, etc.
3 or 5 village heads are selected to be the person taking charge of
the festival. While the festival arrives, a flower pole(decorated pole
or tree) wrapped with dark blue, blue and white cloth is placed in the
center of the festive ground. Miao people, whether young or old, are dressing
them with finest holiday bests and coming to participate the festival
with different musical instruments such as Lusheng, Mangtong(a kind of
bamboo flute musical instrument), harmonica and tree leaves by which young
Miao boys can produce nice sound music. They come from various villages
and directions and get together at the festival ground.
When the festival ceremony
is started, the first is to sing a Miao(Hmong) song call “Cai Shan Song”—stepping
on the mountain slope, after the song, the ethnic groups play Lusheng
and all kinds of musical instruments they brought with. When the climax
arrives, young boys usually play a Lusheng dance called “Earthworm rolling
with sands”, this is a dance like acrobatics, and it’s very difficult
to dance which need an experienced and excellent dancer, and of course,
endless warm claps are always surely given to those dancers. Except for
those interesting activities, the ethnic groups also play other games
such as climbing the flower pole, kicking the corn shuttlecock, etc. Through
those activities, young boys and girls can express their love and feelings
to each other; old people can meet their relatives and friends to talk
about their lives and farm works.
Here the legend goes, long long ago, there was a local official at
the region called “Houshan”, he let his daughter stay at home days and
nights, he didn’t allow her to go out of the house. There was a magpie(
a bird ) singing songs every morning, so she heard the songs, while the
time passed by, she was ill, and couldn’t drink any water and eat food(rice),
then she became more and more emaciated. Finally the official Mr. Mo found
the reason why his daughter was ill, the sickness of her was caused by
a magpie spirit, formerly, his daughter was puzzled by the magpie spirit.
The official Mo sent his attendants to discuss the problem with the Miao
village head, the Miao village head told his son about the story of the
girl’s, then the young man killed the magpie and make medicine with the
bird, and gave to this girl to take. After that, she was cured. The official
was very happy and felt grateful, his daughter loved this young Miao man
deeply while seeing him at the first time of meeting him, she admired
him because of his bravery and talents, then she was allowed to marry
the young Miao man. Her father asked people to plant a tree with one thousand
roots and 10 thousand branches on the hill slope, so his daughter can
play Lusheng, sing songs , etc with the young Miao man every day there
or keep shelter from the sun.
To commemorate the young couple, the Miao(Hmong) people decided to
dance on this mountain slope for the festival, thus the traditional of
the festival is passed down.