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Double Third Singing Carnival

Zhuang is China's largest minority group. The majority of them live in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Yunnan province, and the rest are scattered in Guangdong, Hunan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces. The Zhuang language used by the Zhuangs is a language branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.

Double Third Singing Carnival at the Third of the Third Lunar Month is the traditional festival for the Zhuang nationality as the ethnic groups is particularly good at singing. The area where they live is known as the “Seas of Songs” or the “siol floored with piano keys.” The Zhuangs, women and men alike, all begin to learn singing at the age of four or five. They sing of love, of play, of work, of sadness, of happiness, of celebration and of mourning. They sing to urge guests to drink at praties and to urge the gods to send rain for the crops. The Zhuangs even challenge each other's wit with antiphonal songs.

There are songs sung at different occasions. During the "singing meet in the day," young people will gather outdoors in the vast fields singing in a move to seek for the other half. During the "night singing meet," the songs are usually about work, life or history knowledge. The songs sung at different occasions can never be confused, especially at the time of marriage ceremony, worship, and funeral.

Once in a while, the Zhuang people would gather together to sing songs at the Singing Carnival. At the third of the third lunar month, the Zhuangs from around the area stretching up to hundreds of Li would all dress up to meet to sing. Men would bring gifts to the women they desire, and women would throw embroidered balls tied with gifts back to the man with who they fall in love. At some singing meets, people will bring colored eggs. With an egg in hand, young man will try to touch the egg grabbed in the hand of the woman he has a crush on. The woman, if like the man, will agree fro the man to knock on her egg. If not, she would just grab the egg tight, which means: man, no chance for you.

Sometimes, singing competition will be held between villages. For instance, Village A will send a silk ball to Village B and challenge it in a folk song competition. According to rules, Village B can only return the ball when it wins the game. If Village B loses in the competition, the embroidered silk ball will just stay. There will competitions in the following years until Village B Wins.

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