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Flowery Mountains Festival

Miao people is one of the largest ethnic minorities in southwest China. They are mainly distributed across Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan and Sichuan provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and a small number live on Hainan Island in Guangdong Province and in southwest Hubei Province. Most of them live in tightly-knit communities, with a few living in areas inhabited by several other ethnic groups.

Flowery Mountains Festival between the second and seventh day of the first lunar month, is celebrated by the Miao people mainly living in Yunnan. It is known as the Festival of Treading the Flowery Mountains. The so-called "Flowery Pole" is always the mark of the festival. The person who volunteers to set up the flowery pole before the first dawn of the festival will be widely recognized as a kind-hearted person.

During this annual festival, thousands of Miao people will go to the open hillsides among their villages and hold various festive activities. At the time, the festive site, full of flowers and colorful flags, is just a sea of singing and dancing. Activities such as folk song singing, lusheng dancing, lion dancing and bull fighting are held one after another.

The festival offers a wonderful chance for young Miao people to find their sweethearts. Once falling in love, the young man will present his lover flowery embroidered puttees and waistbands as gifts, while the girls give out scarf and turbans they embroider themselves. And Childless couples use the occasion to repeat vows to the god of fertility. They provide wine for young people, who sing and dance under a pine tree, on which hangs a bottle of wine. Young men and women may fall in love on this occasion, and this, it is hoped, will help bring children to the childless couples.

There's a legend about its origin. In ancient times, the Miao people were distressed about their ancestors' suffering. Once on this date, their ancestors made an appearance and told them not to be too distressed. Instead, the ancestors said they should cheer up, dance and play lusheng. After that, suddenly a flower dropped to a tree on a hilltop from heaven. Then everyone danced around the tree, playing lusheng and singing songs. That year they had a bumper harvest. Since then, they celebrate the festival on the date every year.

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