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Guzang Festival of Miao Nationality, Miao Top Festival


 
As the grandest ancestral worship ritual of Miao Nationality, Guzang Festival(牯藏节) prevails among southeast Guizhou and northwest Guangxi. The Minor Guzang Festival will be held annually while the Grand Guzang Festival will be celebrated each thirteen years and last from three to four years. Main festivities include a mysterious and solemn ancestor worship ceremony, an impressive parade as well as several days' Lusheng dance and bullfighting. Epitomizing the essence of Miao people’s faith, it will lead you into the core of Miao people’s spiritual realm.
 
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 the solemn Ancestor Worship Ceremony of Miao
 
 
Origination of Guzang Festival

Legend had it that the first female ancestor of Miao Nationality was born from one maple tree. After being cut down, this tree underwent incredible changes. Its roots turned into loaches, its trucks a copper drum, it branches a bird and its core a butterfly which laid 12 eggs. Mother Butterfly, the counterpart of God in the West, hatched 11 children include Thunder God, Ghost God, dragon, snake, tiger, leopard, Yongye(Adam) and Niye(Eve), ect. However, three years past, there was one egg remained unborn. Mother Butterfly asked a storm to do her a favor. When falling into the abyss and crashing into a rock, the egg crackled finally and a naughty bull appeared. Bearing hatred for Mother Butterfly, this bull became the black sheep of the family and contributed to her death. Lamenting the death of Mother Butterfly, Yongye and Niye punished this bull by making him plow the field for eternity, but no matter how fertile the land was and no matter how hard they worked, they ended up with empty-handed during the harvest season. Beholding their plight, Ghost God told Yongye and Niye that the land was cursed by Mother Butterfly and only by killing this bull can they have a good harvest. Following the suggestion, Yongye and Niye sacrificed this bull to Mother Butterfly, and the next year, their warehouse was filled with tons of rice and corns more than they can eat.
 
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 Procedures of Guzang Festival

In the first year, five brilliant and competent married men will be voted by villagers as Guzangtou(Leader of Guzang Festival).

In the second year, Guzangtou will select top bulls for sacrifices carefully. Meanwhile, they will fulfill a series of drum rituals. Accompanied by solemn music and numerous villagers, they will flock into the previous host village to pick for the sacred drum. Returning home, they will perform the “Drum Wakening Ritual”, the prelude to the Ancestor Worship Ritual.
 
 
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The third year marks the official start of this festival. The first day is highlighted by a thrilling bullfighting which will last for several days. In the second day, four local musicians will visit these Guzangtou and chant the mysterious ancestor worship songs in their homes. The third day will see bull horns offered to ancestors and the fourth day will witness the marvelous Lusheng dance and Copper Drum Dance, the zenith of this event. The remaining 11 days feature various activities such as prepare special food out of rice, face-painting and torch-throwing, etc.
 
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Except the Ancestor Worship Ceremony, outsiders can participate in the rest festivities include bullfighting, Lusheng dance and indulge in eating, drinking and singing to their hearts’ content.

Carnival for Miao people, this festival is a doomsday for those well-chosen bulls. Except the lucky minority, the rest will either be killed by their rivals during the fight or slaughtered by Miao as sacrifices to heaven, earth and ancestors for good harvest.
 
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Copper Drum of Miao People
 
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 Lusheng music
 
 
 
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Believing that the spirits of their deceased ancestors still dwell within those maples, Miao people will make drums out of maple trees and beat them to summon spirits from another world.


 

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