The most ceremonious festival of the Miao ethnic group, the Miao New Year Festival was added to China's non-material cultural heritage list on June 7th, 2008.
When It's CelebratedMiao New Year is celebrated at different times of the year in different regions, usually in the period from the ninth to the eleventh month of the Chinese lunar year, usually lasting from 5 to 15 days. The majority of the Miao ethnic people celebrate it in the 10th month of the Chinese lunar year, after the rice harvest.
In 2014 Miao New Year is celebrated in Kaili ("minority capital" of Guizhou Province) on leap month nine (a second ninth month included to keep the lunar calendar in line with solar terms), days 16 to 20.
Each household prepares abundant food before Miao New Year, including pork, mutton, wine, and beef, of which the glutinous rice wine is a must. They also worship their ancestors by offering various kinds of fruit, and send gifts to one another.
Worshiping ancestors has been an indispensable Miao custom since ancient times. It is mainly attended by the seniors of the villages, and they offer fresh fruits and meat to their ancestors to express their respect and remembrance.
Lusheng (a musical instrument made from bamboo) performances are often held in 'Lusheng Hall', first by a little boy, followed by the other players together. Young girls and boys wearing new and magnificent Miao costumes, bedecked in silver ornamentation, dance to the music. The Miao girls entertain guests from afar with their homemade rice wine.
Visitors are highly recommended to participate to fully enjoy the festival.
It's an important folk custom for the Miao to visit neighboring villages during Miao New Year, which can strengthen understanding, friendship, and cooperation between different villages.
All the villagers of a village wear festive costume to visit a neighboring village, while beating drums and gongs and playing the lusheng. They serenade the host (usually the village head) of the neighboring village by playing three pieces of music before entering the village, and then the host and his fellow villagers welcome their guests by playing the lusheng as well.
After greeting each other, people from the two villages hold a get-together during the night, when a lusheng-playing competition is held to entertain the guests. It's an ideal chance for the young to seek their life-long partners.
Bull fighting, horse fighting, and cock fighting are also held during the festival. The bull fighting is considered a traditional event of the Miao New Year, attracting thousands of people.
Initially the Miao New Year Festival was only celebrated among the Miao in Kaili, Majiang, Leishan, Danzhai, and Huangping of Guizhou Province; followed by the Miao in Du'an, Bama, Dahua, Pingguo and Long'an of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Now it's widely celebrated among all Miao.
See Miao New Year for Yourself. Miao New Year is a great time to visit Miao areas. China Highlights can create a private tour based on your requirements to experience Miao culture.