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Shuagetang Songfest of Yao Minority

2014-07-22 09:27:35



Liannan Yao Autonomous County of Qingyuan City in northwest mountain areas of north Canton is the only habitation of Paiyao in our country, and it is also the popular region for Shuagetang songfest. Shuagetang songfest is a large-scale cultural event held on 16th day of the tenth lunar month by Yao minority. It is the most ceremonious and greatest traditional festival, mainly popular in villages of six towns - Sanpai (including Nangang), Woshui, Daping, Xiangping (including Panshi), Sanjiang (including Jinkeng).

Shuagetang songfest held by Yao minority on 16th day of the tenth lunar month is a traditional festival to spread historical knowledge and to celebrate the bumper harvest after hard working for one year. Specific performances include ancestor worship, Chugetang, Guozhou dance, long-drum dance, singing and antiphonal singing, performance of Fazhen, chasing and beating black-faced monster and so on. According to historical materials and data, in Hongwu Period of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1398) when Paiyao was in its golden age, Shuagetang songfest was already complete. Until now, it at least has a history of 600 years.

Shuagetang songfest is the ceremonious event for Liannan Paiyao to honor the ancestor, retrospect history, celebrate harvest, worship the hero, and spread knowledge. It also is a folk festival when the young men and women talk about love, and people get together to sing and dance. The big songfest lasts for three days, and it is held every three or five years; the small songfest lasts for only one day, and it is held every two or three years on 16th day of the tenth lunar month when is the birthday of Pangu King.

The Yao people always make elaborate preparation for the coming of this festival. Early in the sixth and seventh months of the year, every family begins to store cereals, soybean, and to feed out pigs, cattle, chickens, ducks and so on. At the same time, "Tianchanggong" (the chief of the Paiyao), "Toumugong" (the assistant chief) and other elders will meet in advance to discuss and fit the budget for the festival. And then collect the funds from each family. The money will be used to repair and maintain the temple, to paint and retreat the statues of Pangu King and other ancestors, to buy the wine and meat, joss sticks, candles and other necessities for the songfest. Each family will then notify their relatives and friends and invite them to join in the fun at the appointed time. On the day before the festival, the village will start to kill hogs and cattle, prepare meat of chicken, duck and fish, grand soybean for bean curd, make rice cake, brew rice wine and receive guests from all directions.

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