Qiang’s New Year: Gather in the Propitious River Valley, Feel the Colorful Lixian County
Author: Dan Zhen, Pei Liexue Article/Picture Release Time: October 29, 2016
In the afternoon yesterday (October 28), when journalists came to Taopingqiang Village in Lixian County, they saw that the Chinese knots with Qiang nationality’s words made the whole Qiang village especially brilliant, and people of Qiang nationality dressed up and gathered together to jointly celebrate the coming of Qiang’s New Year. In such a happy festival, people walked into the “mysterious Eastern Castle” to feel the thousand years of Qiang nationality’s culture, stroll around the village, taste delicious food, watch shows, and pray and offer sacrifice to god with people of Qiang nationality under the leadership of Shibi… The special folk tradition and fold customs showed us that the activity of “Flower Naji Singing Competition Festival” which is one of activities for 2016 Sichuan Red Leaf Ecological Tourism Festival (main meeting place) and Lixian County Miyaluo Red Leaf Hot Spring Festival had began. Now, let’s follow the camera to have a look at the Qiang’s New Year of Lixian County!
In the picture: The Welcome Ceremony of Qiang’s New Year at Taopingqiang Village
Camera 1: Shibi Is Offering Sacrifice to Thank God
In the picture: Shibi Is Offering Sacrifice
Along with a burst of powerful sound from sheep-skin drums, young men stroke thousands of sheep-skin drums, and Shibi led people wearing traditional costumes of Qiang nationality to lift up tributes to worship god and celebrate harvest and pray that in the coming year, it can be safe, produce good harvests, and have a good weather for the crops, and the domestic animals can be all thriving. They joyously celebrated the coming of Qiang’s New Year in their own unique way.
In the picture: The Site of Shibi Offering Sacrifice
The most ceremonious ethnic festivals for Qiang nationality are “Mountain Worshiping Meeting” (also called Around Mountain Strolling Meeting) held in Spring and “Qiang’s New Year” (also called Qiang’s Calendar Year) held in Autumn. In spring, they pray for a good weather for the crops; in autumn. They thank god for granting them a good harvest.
Camera 2: Sing and Dancing for Harvest Celebration
In the picture: Men and Women Are Dancing “Young Men in Qiang Village”
After the sacrificial activities, people of Qiang nationality carried a basket on the back, drank Za wine, played Qiang flute and jew’s harp… People from five villages and towns including Puxi, Tonghua, Taoping, Muka and Xuecheng went on the stage to show the old and rich historic cultures and local conditions and customs with love songs, labor songs and Sharon dance that drew materials of labor interest in the field, wedding and funeral, production and living, and show the brave, thankful, progressive and optimistic spirits of people of Qiang nationality.
In the picture: Erma Ayi Is Singing “Beautiful Back”
The programs shows of six wedding customs including getting through three passes at the time of “Picking up Brides”, singing “Flower-like Happiness” songs in the ceremony of “Welcoming Brides”, and crying at the time of “Marring”, and so on made the people on site deeply understand the long historic culture of Qiang nationality. The wonderful programs also made tourists feel the happiness of people of Qiang nationality.
Camera 3: Accessing Qiang Village to Taste Delicious Food
In the picture: Tourists Are Tasting the Delicious Food of Qiang Nationality
Stone-ground tofu pudding, cured meat of Qiang nationality, local chicken, meat of fragrant pig, flower-shape cake… But these original ecological food in the eyes of tourists are only an ordinary meal of Qiang nationality in life. In this Qiang’s New Year celebrated by thousands of people, the characteristic catering was so eye-catching. After the meal, baking in the sunshine, listening to songs, and staring at the blue sky were so enjoyable.
Qiang’s New Year: Just as its name implies, it means the new year of Qiang nationality. In the language of Qiang nationality, it is called “Rimeiji” which means a happy and propitious festival. It is a traditional grand gathering in which the people of Qiang nationality celebrate harvest and family reunites. Its meaning is similar with the ethnic festivals such as the Spring Festival of Han nationality, Tibetan New Year in Tibetan region, and so on. After the people of Qiang nationality transited to farming people from nomadic people, they calculated that September 1 (namely, October 1 in lunar calendar) in Qiang’s calendar year was Qiang’s New Year according to the ancient ten-month solar calendar and the iron plate of “Shibi” in Qiang nationality, and treated that day as the most ceremonious and happiest festival of their nationality. Qiang’s New Year was also called “Cattle King Meeting”! In this day every year, all families without exception feed cattle with several liters of flour, hang the horns of cattle with a bunch of steamed bread, cover a red cloth on the cattle, and rub up the horn with lard oil.
From this day on, the farmers who have worked hard for a year enter the farm slack season, and the farming cattle who have worked hard for a year also get a short freedom because of that and can freely run on the mountains without farming in the field.