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Munao Festival: Heavenly Celebration on earth

No matter who you are, where you come from and how awkward you are at dancing, Dehong Munao Festival (Munao Zongge Festival) of the Jingpo from south Yunnan, will stimulate your dance cells and brighten your trip in China with the most welcoming atmosphere.
munao festival jingpo people

Taking place in the 15th day of the first lunar month and lasts from 4 to 5 days, Munao Festival is highlighted by Munao Mass Dance. Participated by thousands of and even ten thousands of tribal villagers, it is recognized as the grandest collective dance on earth. Take a deep breath and let your senses to explore.
munao festival jingpo people

Munao Festival is performed during various occasions, such as ancestral worship ceremonies, birthday parties, entertaining guests and festivals. Since 1949, the establishment of the Republic of China, the function of encourage soldiers has become outdated. Munao Mass Dance follows strict rules laid down centuries ago, and involves over 100 main figures helping to prevent this mass dance from being reduced to a mess. All the 100 figures must be good-looking and upright. Munao Mass Dance is so solemn that it has little room for mistakes, especially during the first dance and the last dance. Well-trained Jingpo villagers deem a chaotic dance team and chaotic dance steps as ominous sings, which will bring bad luck to the village.
munao festival jingpo people

Munao Mass Dance is reputed as the repository of the Jingpo culture. The poles erected in the heart of a dancing square physically, mentally and culturally form the centerpiece. They are carved with mysterious motifs to crystallize the Jingpo’s origin, primitive totem, talisman, epic migratory history and even routes, religious beliefs, folklore customs as well as ethnic singing, dancing and art.
munao festival jingpo people

To ensure everything is in order, Munao Mass Dance is leaded by Shamans and their assistants. Clad in vintage silk robes, feathered hats and shinning blade, these Shamans stand out from the crowd as the hotspots. Accompanied by queer music from assorted music instruments, Jingpo villagers in colorful attires stream into the dance square gracefully. Men usually carry long swords, while women bring fans.

Munao Festival is romanticized by a beautiful legend. In the remote antiquity, nine scorching suns shine day and night till the rivers run dry. Endangered by droughts, the Jingpo villagers, together with animals and birds, held an urgent meeting to come up with solution. Finally, one hundred species of birds were voted as messengers to bring the news to the God of Sun. Arriving in celestial palace of the God of Sun, these birds performed enchanting singing. Spellbound by the fabulous voice, the God of Sun demolished 8 suns without hesitation per their request. During their stopover in the palace, these birds were enthralled by one kind of collective dance unique to the paradise and learned the tactics. Upon their return to Dehong of south Yunnan, these birds were stunned by trees laden with golden fruits. Overwhelmed by joy, they performed the collective dance in heaven. At this time, some Jingpo girls passed by and were attracted by the beGuiling dance without exception. Later, the forerunner of Munao Mass Dance was introduced into Jingpo villages. Since then, this dance originated from heaven, thrives on earth like wildfire.
munao festival jingpo peoplemunao festival jingpo people

Where to see Munao Festival

Longchuan County(陇川县), Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture features the most densely distributed Jingpo people on earth. It is famed as “the hometown of Munao Mass Dance”.

Numbering at 119,209, Jingpo people are also found in Luxu City, Ruili City, Yingjiang and Lianghe, all of which belong to Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture.
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Author: Sophia            Posted on Dec 11, 2013


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