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Munao Festival

Keep dancing for two days straight

Munao Festival is a festival of Jingpo people, who mainly live in Yuannan Province. The Jingpo language is a branch of Sino-Tibetan language family based on Latin letters. The ethnic group believes in primitive religion of multiple-gods. The biggest sacrifice ceremony, Munao Festival is kicked off on the 15th day of the first lunar month and lasts for four or five days. Munao Festival was originated from "Munao Mass Dance", which means all people gather dancing. The festival mainly features singing and dancing, hoping to invite happiness and felicity in the coming years.

All Munao Festival activities are conducted around two Munao poles erected in the central of a big square or grassland. The poles measures 20 meters high, and two shining huge swords placed between them symbolized bravery and persistence of the Jingpo people. According to the Jingpos, people standing on either of the two high platforms set up in front of the poles can foresee into the future.

Thousands of Jingpo people participated in the chaotic dancing. Women waving handkerchiefs and men waving swords. The choreographic steps and sequence sometimes dramatize actions of hunting, farming and their daily life. The sound of traditional flutes and gongs is so loud that it can shake the mountains. The excited Jingpo people will keep dancing, even for two days straight.

"Munao Mass Dance" has a long history. Legend has it that the special singing and dancing style of the Jingpo people originated from God of the Sun. It is said that only the children of the Sun can dance in that special manner. Once, the birds of the Earth participated in the Sun's party and learned the dancing of Munao. Later, the birds were dancing in the forests and the ancestors of the Jingpo people went to watch and learned the dancing from them. Surprisingly, after the first dancing and singing in that particular manner, the Jingpo people found the productivity of both human and livestock all significantly improved.

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