Guilin Major Events & Festivals
Being a city more geared towards the fine arts and with a strong mix of Chinese ethnic minority in the area, Guilin holds many interesting event and festivals throughout the year. The biggest festivals in Guilin include the Lantern and Song Festival and the Red Clothes Festival.
Held from July 13 to 14 of the Chinese Lunar Calendar, the River Lantern and Song Festival is the traditional festival of Ziyuan County which is 107 kilometers away from Guilin city. During the festival, grand gatherings are held by the Han, Yao, Miao and other Chinese ethnic minority groups. Lion dance groups, dragon dance groups, river lantern groups and arts troupes from all villages will get together and give a splendid folk art show.
When night falls, people will place the river lantern to the river to memorize their ancestors and pray for the good fortune for their off-springs. The river lanterns make the river fabulous at night. After the river lantern show, the art performances and cross-singing contest will last all night. The market will be crowded with people on the following day. All these events make the town noisy and flourishing.
Longsheng County is an autonomous county with multi-nationalities. Red Yao is a branch of Yao Nationality in Longsheng. Women of Red Yao are in favor of red clothes, hence the name. The Longsheng Red Clothes Festival, also known as Zhaina, is held on March 15 in the lunar calendar every year in Sishui Town. During this festive occasion, Red Yao people gather in Sishui Street to exchange agricultural means of productions and products, buy daily necessities, or visit their friends and relatives. The young people will take the chance to find their lovers.
Red Yao people are good at singing and dancing. Folk sports
such as bamboo pole balancing, tug-of-wars, and rooster fighting,
are really interesting. Women of Red Yao have long and nice
hairs. They love to match beauties. A beauty in Red Yao criteria
must be pretty, knowledgeable, logical in words, singing well
and having good moral standard. Zhainais rich in content and
programs include singing in antiphonal style, long drum dance,
sports contest, hair competition, and Miss Village contest.
Minority nationalities in the northern part of Guilin have many festivals and folk customs, such as bull fighting, horse racing, and Lusheng dance.
On September 15 in lunar calendar, young people of Dong Nationality drink 15 cups of Youcha, and they drink and sing at the same time. Youcha, a kind of gruel of sweetened and fried flour, is the eating habit of Dong Nationality as well as other nationalities in northern part of Guilin. Youcha is made of tea, corn or rice, which are fried and boiled with Ciba, beans, and peanuts. Youcha is eaten with the ingredient of shreds of ginger, chopped green garlic, pepper powder, and cordate houttuynia. Meat Youcha is made with shrimps, small fishes, sausages, pork liver, and lean meat. When drinking Youcha, host and guests sit around the stove, and hostess makes and serves the Youcha.
Lusheng is a reed-pipe wind instrument. The Lusheng Dance is a traditional recreation on festivals of Miao Nationalities. Young men form a group of Lusheng and play the instrument together. The sound can be heard very far. Girls are dressed in their holiday best, wearing dragon and phoenix silver caps, silver hair clasp, and silver comb. Girls dance with the rhythm of Lusheng. Young people fall in love with each other through the dance. Boys who are good at playing Lusheng will be popular among girls.
The Guilin Mountain and River Festival is a grand ceremony introduced by Guilin Municipal Government to tourists from home and abroad. It has been held 6 times from 1992 to 1997. The event integrates mountain and river sightseeing with local folk lore, arts performances.
Other special features include lantern decorations, shows and games, and festivals with scenic spots along the Lijiang River. During the festival there are evenings to show Guilin's elegance, introduction and research of Guilin's scenery, folk customs, history and culture, and other cultural, artistic and recreational activities. Meanwhile, all kinds of expositions, trade fairs, and negotiation meetings are held. This festival has broadened the influence, deepened the cultural content, and improved the development of Guilin tourism.
The Dragon Boat Festival is the grandest of events on May 5 in the Chinese lunar calendar, but the Guilin Dragon Boat Contest is held only every 3 years. Participants actively make preparations and practice half a month in advance. The banks of the Lijiang River will be crowded with viewers on May 5.
In the contest, dragon boats cleave on the river with the
deafening sound of dragon boat songs, bells and drums. The
winners receive silver coins and a roasted pig. Participants
attach great importance to the final win of the contest. It is a nice time to visit Guilin Dargon Boat Contest in
May for tourists from home and abroad. Guilin held the first
International Dragon Boat Contest in 1998, which attracted
Dragon Boat troupes from Southeast Asian Countries, Hong
Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.