The Official Website of the People’s Government of Hunan Province Mobile 中文 Français 한국어 日本語

15 July 2015

Home < Customs and Practices in Hunan

The Miao's New Year

2019-01-25 Download Print

Several women is performing the Miao's drum dance in Layi Village, Huayuan County of Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture.
The Miao's New Year is a traditional festival to offer sacrifices to the Miao's ancestors and to celebrate a bumper harvest in the tenth lunar month. However, the exact date varies each year and is only disclosed one or two months in advance. 
The celebrations will be held in every village by the locals. Every villager turns out to join the excitement, girls dress up in their most spectacular traditional costumes and silver headdresses, and dance with traditional instruments such as lusheng music. Every family does cleanings, butchering chicken and pigs, makes polished glutinous rice cakes, makes rice wine and buys special purchases for the New Year. At the New Year's Eve, every family worship gods and offer sacrifices to ancestors, praying for an abundant harvest of all food crops and safety of people and domestic animals. Then members of the family gather together happily and share a rich dinner. From the first day of the New Year, people begin to visit relatives and friends, wishing them a happy new year. Youngsters wear rich dress and take part in all kinds of entertaining activities as reed-pipe dancing, stepping to wooden drums, bullfight, horse race, roaming around, antiphonal singing, etc. Everywhere in the whole Miao village is filled with sound of firecrackers and reed-pipes. The whole region is immersed in atmosphere of joy and happiness. In recent years many sports such as bullfight, horse race, basketball match and chess-playing contest are held during the festival, making the old festival take on a new look. 
With the influence of the Han Chinese, Miao began to substitute this holiday with the Chinese New Year. However, traditions and customs remained. At this holiday, dancing, singing, horseracing, bulling will be seen. In addition, it is a time for young guys and girls to meet.
Traditionally, after Miao year, Miao will keep their Lusheng at a safe place. They will cover the "eye holes" of the Lusheng with cotton balls, indicating they are not going to play this instrument. Some tribes/villages even seal up drum or flutes. This is a preparation for ready for spring, for a new year of hardworking ahead.





Ten Eye-catching Things of the Miao's New Year

1. Beautiful Miao villages in the mountains

2. Miao girls dance to the Lusheng (reed-pipe) music

3. Bull fighting, a traditional event of the Miao New Year

4. Gorgeous costumes worn only for festival

5. Miao girls dance in magnificent costumes

6. Cheerful children during their favorite festival

7. The ceremony of worshiping the ancestors is mainly attended by seniors

8. Miao girls entertain guests from afar with homemade rice wine

9. The copper drum with ancestral totems is an indispensable part of the ceremony worshiping their ancestors

10. Miao girls bedecked in silver ornamentation