Zhenshan Ethnic Village
- Foreign tourists like visiting the place since it is more authentic, looks really different, and isn’t built up.
- You can watch people spreading around grain and vegetables to dry around their houses and in the streets.
- The grey slate roofs and alleys look cool.
- A former fortified village, it is now a farm and tourist village of Miao and Buyi people.
- Hear the Lusheng flute music and antiphonal singing.
Surrounded by beautiful mountains and lakes, the small village of Zhenshan with more than a hundred houses dates to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The village is built against the mountain and encircled by water. The people build with rugged slate stone that they dig from the mountains. They use them for walls, pavement and roofs, and they even use them for other kinds of things like containers, tables, chairs and stoves. The people make unique houses. The entire village is built of stone. Today, a fortification and some barracks have remained intact. About 75% of the villagers are of the Buyi ethnic group, and the rest are Miao people.
People in Zhenshan have several festivals that are special to them. The most important is the Dancing Festival (Tiaohuachang) on the 10th day of the first lunar month of every year. This festival falls on various dates on the regular calendar. A legend tells of a forefather of the Buyi who was captured by bandits. Not being able to rescue him alone, they asked their Miao neighbors for help. Through the playing of the Lusheng and singing Miao songs not understood by the bandits, they were able to communicate and rescue the man. This festival is a celebration of the Miao helping the Buyi. Wearing beautiful costumes, they play the Lusheng flute and sing and dance for three days to celebrate as the moon waxes full.
In Zhenshan, they also celebrate the Siyueba Festival on eighth day of the fourth lunar month, and the Qiyueban Festival on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month The words Siyueba means ‘fourth month-eighth day.’ The words Qiyueban mean ‘seventh month-half way through.’ These festivals have become joyous days celebrated by the ethnic groups.
While visiting the village, it is also possible to dine with a local family. Both Buyi and Miao families open up their houses for tourists to taste their local food such as home-made smoked bacon bean curd, pickled vegetable soup, fresh fish and rice wine. While visiting the homes, you may see decorations or traditions from the past. One of these customs is singing ethnic songs in an antiphonal style and playing reed flutes called the Lusheng.
Zhenshan village is near the beautiful Huaxi Lake Scenic Area and the Tianhetan Scenic Area. You can rent a boat and enjoy the lake.
Zhenshan Village is about 20 kilometers from Guiyang. So you can take a bus or taxi there. If you want a scenic excursion, you can take a bus from Guiyang to the Tianhetan Scenic Area and Huaxi Scenic Area first. From there, you can either take a local motorcycle or hike to Zhanshan (2 km).
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I updated this article on December 16, 2012
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