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Pan Wang Festival

The Yao ethnic group is mainly scattered in the mountain areas in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, as well as Hunan, Yunnan, Guangdong and Guizhou provinces. The Yao people have their own spoken language and many Yaos are also familiar with the Han and Zhuang languages. And without written form, they commonly use written Chinese.

Pan Wang Festival falls on the 16th of the tenth lunar month. King Pan is regarded as the ancestor of the Yao ethnic group. For this reason, the Yao people celebrate this grand traditional festival to pay tribute to their ancestors. They also hold large-scale singing fair during the festival, on which young Yao people sing love songs to select a sweetheart to express their love for each other.

There's a legend about the origin of the Pan Wang Festival. In ancient time, there was a war between King Ping of the Yao Mountain and king Gao. In order to win the war, King Ping offered his most beautiful daughter, the third princess, in marriage to whoever could bring back King Gao’s head.

Unexpectedly, on the next day, a dragon-dog took the head of King Gao in its mouth to see King Ping. King Ping kept his promise so that the dragon-dog married the princess. However, the dragon-dog, whose name is Pan Hu, wanted to become a human being. He then asked the princess to steam him for seven days and seven nights. After six days and six nights of steaming, in fear that her husband was steams to death, the princess opened the steam box, finding her husband turning into a strongly built man. After that, Pan Hu was sent by his father-in-law to rule the Kuaji Mountain as King Pan. Year passes, the couple raised six sons and six daughters, who later became the ancestors of 12 clans of Yao.

One day, while hunting in the mountains, Pan was run down from a cliff by an antelope and died in the accident. To remember their father, the children caught the antelope and made a drum out of the antelope's hide, which they beat sharply to express their anger and sorrow in their loss. The legend formed the Pan Wang Festival, which has gradually evolved into a holiday of great joy for the Yao group to celebrate a good harvest and worship their ancestors.

And since Pan was originally a dragon-dog, up to this day, eating dog is a very taboo for the Yao people.

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