As one of the ethnic minority groups in China, the Zhuang ethnic group mainly live in provinces of Guangxi, Yunnan, Guangdong, Hunan, Guizhou and Sichuan, of which Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has the largest population of Zhuang people. In the year 1990 there were 15.48 million Zhuang people in China. According to the fifth nationwide population census conducted in the year 2000, the population of the Zhuang nationality was 16178811. Nowadays the Zhuang nationality has the largest population among all the 55 ethnic minority groups in China and most of them live in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region . There are also one million Zhuang people living in Yunnan Province , most of whom live in areas of Wenshan City, Honghe City and Qujing City. In Lianxshan Zhuang and Yao Autonomous County of Guangdong Province, Congjiang County of Guizhou City, and Jianghua County of Hunan Province there are also distributions of the Zhuang nationality. Before they were uniformly called Zhuang people in 1965, there had been various names of this nationality called by both themselves and other ethnic groups. The appellations of the Zhuang people in Guangxi at that time included Buzhuang, Butu, Buliao, Buyayi and so on, in total there were more than 20 different times. While in Yunnan Province they were called Nongren, Sharen, Tuliao and so on.
Zhuang ethnic group mainly live in Lingnan areas. As early as ancient primitive periods, there had been human beings living in Lingnan areas. In the pre-Qin period ( before 221 BC ) , the ancestors of the Zhuang nationality belonged to the Luoyue and Xiou People in Baiyue area in south China. As early as the late stage of Palaeolithic Age, in today's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, there were Liujiang People and Ganqian People in today's Liujiang County, Qilin Mountain People in today's Laibin City , Lipu People in today's Lipu County , Gnaan People and Jiulengshan People in today's Duan County , Bailiandong People and Dule People in today's Liuzhou City, Baojiyan People in Guilin City, Dingmodong People in Tiandong County, Linghshan People in Lingshan County , and so on living in Lingnan areas. All the places mentioned above where these ancient human beings lived happened to be the area where the ancestors of the Zhuang nationality lived as well as the inhabiting areas of today's Zhuang ethnic group. Judging from these information, some experts conclude that there is possibility that today's Zhuang nationality could be the descendants of these ancient people.
In pre-Qin period, Luoyue Kingdom was situated in today's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and there were Luoyue People, Xiou People and Cangyu People living here. Luoyue was a very famous kingdom in ancient times and the ancestors of the Zhuang nationality lived in this kingdom. The name of this kingdom was first mentioned in the book 'History of the Zhou Dynasty', and it was mentioned as Lu People. In the book 'Interpretation and Explanation of History of Zhou Dynasty', which was written by a scholar named Zhuyouzeng in the Qing Dynasty, Lu people was referred as Luoyue People and this explanation was widely accepted. History of Zhou Dynasty was a historical book written in pre-Qin period and most of the records were about the history of the kingdoms in Warring States Period ( 475BC--221BC), and also there were records about the history of Shang and Zhou Dynasties , which were also believed to be valid. In the Chinese history book ' Lvshichunqiu ', fungus of Yueluo was again mentioned. Gaoqiao, a scholar from the Han Dynasty, explained that Yueluo was actually the name of the kingdom, and fungus referred to bamboos from the kingdom.Yueluo was a pronunciation from the Chinese language, and in fact it referred to the grains or birds from the kingdom , and the Yue people from the kingdom called themselves Luoyue people in their own language.
Luoyue People and Xiou People were two important branches that later constituted today's Zhuang nationality and they have actually existed for more than one thousand years and created the splendid civilization of rice-planting. Today the ancient culture inherited by the Zhuang ethnic group was actually created by the ancient Luoyue and Xiou People. The various civilizations and cultures from the ancient Luoyue kingdom, such as Rice-planting Civilization, Big Stone Shovel Culture, Dragon Culture, Bronze Culture, Bronze Drum Culture, Hushan Culture and so on , are all considered as precious cultural treasures of the Chinese nation. Worked with Cangwu People and Xiou People, the Luoyue people first invented the methods of cultivating rice artificially , which has contributed a lot to the Chinese nation as well as the whole world. In the area of Nanning City, which is the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, 14 relics of shell bound from the ancestors of Luoyue People have been found, and archeologists have excavated some production tools from ten thousand years ago including stone saddle querns , stone pestles, and simple stone mills, which were believed to be used to exuviate rice. In addition, this kind of tolls excavated from areas of Tingziyuh of Nanning City, are believed to be 11000 years old after tested by C14. The charring pieces of rice found from the relics of Cangwu People who are believed to be the ancestors of Zhuang nationality, are over 12000—20000 years old, and what’s more, 1000 years older than the same relics found in Wannian County, Jiangxi Province. In Luotian Period, the Luoyue People had already done very well in cultivating the farm land for growing rice and they had already been able to choose the best farm land according to the rising and ebbing of tide water. Nowadays all ethnic groups living in south China take rice as their main food, to which the ancestors of the Zhuang people have contributed a lot.
Huashan Culture , which mainly refers to the world famous rock and cliff mural painting , is a very precious treasure created by the Luoyue People. It is mainly distributed along the two sides of Zuojiang River and its tributary Mingjiang River, covering a length of over 200 kilometers. In addition, there are another five relics of Huashan Culture distributed in the drainage basins of Zuojiang River including areas of Pingxiang City, Tiandeng County and so on in Guangxi. In total there are 287 groups of fresco paintings, distributed in 183 places. The main contents of the paintings are God of Frog, the body of which looks like a human being while the whole shape looks like a frog. It is in red color, and painted as the image of a ghost. The two arms of this image are bent and raised up, semi-crouched as if it is riding a horse, however judging from the whole statue it looks just like a swimming frog. The frog is dancing and singing crazily and passionately, which is very eye-touching and amazing. The Huashan Cliff Painting is a very sacred place for the ancient Luoyue People to worship the God of Frog and it was made according to the scenes when they were worshipping the God of Frog . Besides the image of the God of Frog, there are also other images such as running dogs, deer, birds, bronze drums, bronze gongs, stars, the sun, and so on. These paintings are believed to be made between the Warring States Period and the Western Han Dynasty, altogether 700 years, with a few of them made much later by copying the original ones. The Huashan Cliff Painting in Ningming County of Guangxiis the largest-scale cliff painting of Huashan Culture. It is called Byaraiz by the Zhuang people here, which means mountains and flower patterns. As it is the largest group of painting, now it represents the whole cliff painting in Zuojiang River area. Compared with cliff and rock paintings in other parts of the world, Huashan Cliff Painting has its own significant features and characteristics. The image of the God of Frog is not only the same in all paintings but also has lasted for over 700 years without any change, which is considered to be very rarely seen. The Huashan Paintings in Ningming County are over 40 meters high and 170 meters wide, which is the largest of its kind in the whole world. On the paintings more than 1300 images of different people and animals are able to be identified. There are altogether over 40000 images, which is really unique in the world. Huashan Cliff Painting is the concentrated display of the rice production culture, and as an art treasure that displays the rice civilization in such a large scale it deserves a magnificent masterpiece in the world. Huashan Painting is not a kind of static ancient culture, but instead it is a living culture, as what it shows about the rice production can still be seen now in the areas where the Zhuang people live. Nowadays in the north border of ancient Luoyue Kingdom , in Donglan and Fengshan areas of Guangxi on the two sides of Honghe River, the Festival of God of Frog is still kept by the local people to worship the totem of this nationality. When the frog dances are performed in festivals ,the dancers wear frog head hats and dance like the frogs in the cliff paintings. In some other places the style of dancing is also quite similar to the images of Huashan Paintings. As a result the Huashan style dance called Frog Dance by many famous dancers.
In most areas the Zhuang nationality people are used to have three meals a day, while in some places the local Zhuang people have four meals a day that means they have one more snack between lunch and supper. The breakfast and lunch are both very simple, at which they usually have some porridges, and they take supper as a very formal dinner, as a result they have more dishes besides rice. Rice and corns are grown abundantly by the Zhuang People, as a result they are also the main foods for them naturally.
In daily life the vegetables they eat include green vegetables, young plants of melons, leaves of melons, cabbages, little cabbages, rapeseed plants, mustard, lettuce, celery, spinach, Chinese kale, water spinach, radish and so on, and even leaves of soybeans, leaves of sweet potatoes, young plants of pumpkins, flowers of pumpkins, and young plants of peas are cooked and eaten by the Zhuang people of. Putting the vegetables into boiling water is a very common way to cook them and lard, salt, and scallion are also put into the water before finishing the cooking. They also have the habit of pickling vegetables. Sour vegetables, sour bamboos, salty radish, kohlrabi can all be pickled and eaten.
The Zhuang people eat meats of all poultry and livestock, such as pork, beef, mutton, chicken, duck, goose and so on, however in some places the meat of dogs cannot be eaten, while in some other places the local Zhuang people love to eat dogs. When cooking the pork, they also first boil a big piece of it in hot water, and then make it into small pieces and mix it with condiments. The Zhuang nationally like to put fresh chickens, ducks, fish and vegetables into boiling water until they are seventy or eighty percent cooked, then sauté them in a hot pan , which can keep the fresh flavor of them.
The Zhuang ethnic group like to cook wild animals and insects and they are also quite experienced in curing illness with diet therapy . They usually make dishes using the flowers, leaves and roots of Sanqi Flower , which is a herbal plant that can be widely used in traditional Chinese medical science. The Zhuang nationality is also adept at baking, frying, stewing, pickling and salting different food. They love alcohol as well as hot and sour food. Flaky and spicy vegetables are quite favored The main special dishes of this nationality include spicy pork and blood, torch meat, roast duck, salty chicken livers, crispy bees, spiced soybean insects, fried sandworms, powers of animal livers and skins, meat of wild rabbits with fresh ginger, sauted wild frog with Sanqi flower, Bahang chicken ,and so on.
The Zhuang families also make rice wines, sweet potatoes wines, and cassava wines themselves, usually with a low degree of alcohol. And rice wine is the main beverage when treating guests or celebrating important festivals. In some places people also mix rice wine with chicken galls, chicken giblets or pig livers to make special wines. When drinking wines with chicken giblets or pig livers , people have to drink it up at one time , then chew the giblets or livers in the mouth slowly, which can alleviate the effects of alcohol and in the meanwhile serve as a type of food.
Typical snacks: The Zhuang nationality has a lot of famous dishes and snacks, the main representative snacks of which include meat slice of horse hoofs , fish, roast sucking pig, colorful sticky rice food, rice dumplings in Ningming County, No 1 Scholar Meat, sliced dog meat, flaky and spicy chicken, boiled broken dog face, and small intense and blood of pigs.
The Zhuang people who live near rivers and urban areas usually have brick or wooden houses, the walls of which are whitewashed and the eaves of which are decorated with various patterns of pictures. As for those who live in the countryside or remote mountain areas, they usually live in titled wooden or earthy buildings, while some still live in straw houses. There two styles of these buildings, which include Ganlan style and Quanju style. The former style of buildings are built with pillars supporting them and therefore keep a distance from ground, while the latter one refers to building that are entirely built in the ground.
Ganlan style buildings are also known as wooden buildings or Diaojiaolou. Many ethnic groups in south China, including nationalities of Zhuang, Miao, Dong, Yao and so on live in this kind of houses. Usually there are two stories in the building. On the second floor there are usually 3 or five rooms, in which the family members live. And the second floor is supported by several wooden pillars from ground. The first floor can be used to store production tools, fire wood, sundries. Sometimes on the first floor bamboo or wooden walls are also built between the pillars, after which animals can be raise here. Some of the houses can be more complicated with attics or subsidiary buildings.
Most of the Ganlan style architectures are constructed in special places which are surrounded by hills in one side and waters on the other side as well a as facing the farm land and also people can have a broad view and receive enough sunshine here. One village is just like one group of several families, and being observed from a far place, they are both splendid and magnificent. In some areas, different villages are connected and each family is also connected with other ones, which make it one group, therefore the whole area just looks like one big family. As for the decorations and designs of their rooms, different nationalities have their own styles. In the Zhuang nationality villages in Longji Town of Longsheng County, Guangxi, the whole architecture is built with a shrine in the center. Behind the shrine is the room of the grandfather of the family and the left side is the room of grandmother, and there a small door in the room which connects the room of grandfather. The room for the hostess is on the right side while the husband’s room is on the right side of the hall. The guest room is on the left side of the front hall. The girls live near the staircases, which make them date boys much more easily. The main characteristic of this design is that the husband and the wide live in different rooms, which is a custom with a long history. Nowadays inside of the Ganlan style buildings, the structures or designs are a little different from that in ancient times . However the main structure has not yet changed much.
The clothes of the Zhuang nationality are mainly in three colors, which include blue, black and brown. The Zhuang women have the habit of planting cottons and spinning, and spinning, cloth weaving and cloth dyeing are three kinds of family handicraft industry. The cloth that is weaved from the cottons planted by themselves isalled home made cloth, which is thick, abrasion proof and with good quality. Then the cloth is dyed into blue ,black or brown colors . Daqing, which is a kind of local bush herb, can be used to dye the cloth in blue or green colors. While some plants from the bottom of fish pond can be used to dye the cloth into black color and dye yam is used to make the cloth into brown color. Different branches of the Zhuang nationality have different styles of clothes. Men and women wear different clothes and the headwears of men, women and unmarried girls are different from each other and each of them has its own features.
The difference between men and women’s clothes
The men wear two styles of clothes which include right opening style and front opening style. The right style coats or jackets for men have no collars, the buttons are stitched from right side just bellow the armpit to the middle of front side. The lappet is embroidered with a small piece of colorful cloth, the buttons on which are copper ones. Long belts are also used. As for the front opening clothes, they usually refer to leotard shirts, which are worn by the Zhuang people while doing farm work. Women usually wear right opening clothes without collars and the sleeves are usually bigger than that of men. The coats are very long , usually covering the knees. The button for both men and women’s shirts are made of copper or cloth. While the trousers for men and women have almost the same designs. The bottoms of the trousers are always specially designed with embroidered borders and they are nicknamed Ox Head Trousers. The married women have a embroidered belly band on their coats or jackets, on their waists an ear-shaped small pocket is tied there , which is connected with keys. As a result, while they are walking, rustles and clicks of keys can be heard clearly. Men like to wear long gowns with a short jacket outside as formal dress. Therefore this style of dress is known as A Long Gown Matching a Short Jacket. In the past the Zhuang people liked to wear round caps, later they wore formal hats instead. Nowadays most of the Zhuang people wear quite modern clothes, however, the old people still wear blue or black clothes generally.
Peculiar and unique headwears
Unmarried women like to keep long hair with a bang from which whether or not a girl is married can be judged. Usually they comb the hair of the left side to the right and then fix it with a hair clip. Sometimes they just have long plaits, at the end of which a colorful turban is used to bind the hair tightly. When going to work in the farm land, they twist the braid into a bun and fix it on the top of the head. While married women usually have Dragon& Phoenix Style chignons. They first comb their hair to the back of their head and make it look like the waist of a phoenix , then plug a silver or bone hairpin to fix it. Nowadays green cotton yarns or white handkerchiefs are seldom used to wimple the head. Instead they mostly use black handkerchiefs or colorful wimples. Only middle-aged women like to make hair chignons, and also they like to put an embroidered belt to the forehead. In winter women usually wear black wool hats, the patterns of the edge differs according to the age of the woman. Both men and women wear cloth shoes. Middle-aged women like to wear the Cat Ear Shoes made by them when going to do farm work in the mountains. This style of shoes look like straw sandals and they are commonly known as Cat Shoes, with both ears and heels, which are connected by a long narrow cotton yarn belt and the degree of tightness can be adjusted freely.
Headwears of children: Caps for kids are sewed with a piece of embroidered cloth which is usually two or three inches wide. It has topless and used to cover the forehead of the children. In ancient historical books, records of ‘ bareheaded and barefooted ‘ and ‘ covering of forehead ‘ are again embodied from the style of children caps. Caps of this kind are used to protect the head as well as a headwear. The braces for kids are usually much larger than that of the Han nationality people. They are in the shape of butterflies, the body of which is almost one meter long and 72 centimeters wide , and on the middle of which pattern of pictures or the Eight-diagram Palace from Daoism are embroidered. While the wings of the butterfly on the two sides are as long as 3 meters and as wide as 40 centimeters. This style of braces is called La by the Zhuang nationality. After the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, the belts were gradually changed into smaller and smaller sizes, and on some of them instead of the original patterns of pictures some words were embroidered, which mean peace, safety, happiness and so on, showing the people’s wishes for a happy family.
The Zhuang ethnic group is very hospitable and amicable to foreign guests. In the past no matter which family in the Zhuang villages one visited, he would be treated as the guest of the whole village. Different families always invited the guest to their home for dinner one by one, sometimes one had to eat in at least five or six families. In normal times, they always like to visit other families, and when one family kills a pig, they will invite one person from each family in the village to come for a dinner. While treating a guest, there must be some wine on the table, which shows the hospitality of the host family as well as the importance of the guest. The custom “Union of Wine Cups”, which means the guest and the host drink with their hands twist with each other’s；actually they do not use cups, but white ceramic soup spoons instead. When guests come, the host family must do everything in their power to provide the best food and accommodation, especially hospitable to the elderly and the new guests. While having dinner, all people have to wait until the eldest person comes and sits down at the table. Any dishes that haven’t been tasted by the seniors or elderly, the juniors cannot try first. When serving tea or food to seniors or the guests, one should use both of his hands, and what’s more he cannot pass the tea or food to the other person while facing him or behind him. The person who finishes the dining first should tell the guests or seniors to take their time or wish them a nice meal before going away. It is considered to be impolite for juniors to finish the dining at last when all others have finished.
Respecting the old and loving the young is a traditional custom of the Zhuang nationality. When meeting an old person on the way one should come up and say hello forwardly, and at the same time give way to the old person. It is impolite to sit cross-legged in front of an old person. One should never speak dirty words or foul languages to the old. Also jumping up and down in instead of walking slowly in front of old people are also not acceptable. When killing chickens to cook them, the heads and wings should be offered to the old people first. When meeting old people on the way, one should call the man Grandpa and woman Grandma. When meeting a person carrying heavy things on the way, one should give the way to him, if he is an old person, one should help him carry the load and send him back home.
The Zhuang people do not kill animals on the first day of the first lunar month, and in some areas the young women do not eat beef or meat of dogs. When a baby is born, in the first three days, in some places, the first seven days, strangers are not allowed to enter the courtyard of the family. A woman who has just given birth to a baby and if the baby is less than one month old, this woman is not welcome to visit other families. When a foreigner climbs up to the bamboo building of a Zhuang family, he should take off his shoes. People who wear a bamboo hat or carry a hoe are not welcome to enter the house of other families; as a result, one should take off his bamboo hats, put down the production tolls before entering the courtyard of a Zhuang family. The firepit and the kitchen stove are the most sacred and holy places in the Zhuang family, as a result it is not allowed to tread the tripod on the firepit as well as the kitchen stove. When the young people in the Zhuang families get married, pregnant women are not welcome to attend the wedding ceremony. What’s more , the pregnant women should never take any look of the bride. And they are also not allowed to enter other pregnant women’s houses. If there is a pregnant woman in one’s family, he should hang a sleeve, a branch of trees, or a knife on the gate to tell others that there is a pregnant woman in this family. If anybody who enters the courtyard of this family, he or she should make a name to the baby, offer a suit of clothes, a chicken or other things as a gift. In the meanwhile, he or she should agree to become the new baby’s godfather or godmother.
The Zhuang people are a nationality with a long history of rice civilization and they love and respect frogs very much. In some places they even have the Frog-worshipping Rite, as a result, when coming to area where the Zhuang nationality people live, one should never kill , cook or eat frogs. Whenever there is a flood or any other disaster, the Zhuang nationality will hold activities of worshipping the dragon and the ancestors; pray to the Almighty Dragon for a good harvest as well the ending of the disaster. When the worshipping ceremony is over, a tablet will be erected in front of the village and strangers are not allowed to enter inside.
The Zhuang people are adept at both singing and dancing. The people living in Youjiang area call it Huan, which means happiness, and the people in Zuojiang area call it Shi, which means poem, and the Zhuang people in north Guangxi call it Bi and Huan, which mean competition and happiness. Actually all the names mentioned above refer to the activity of singing ballads. Geyu, which refers to the activity of singing ballads, is held regularly. The time to have this activity is different in different places. However, on the third day of the third lunar month, there is the most ceremonious and grandest Geyu for the Zhuang nethnic group. Dashan Geyu is participated in by over ten thousand people from the Zhuang nationality. And the contents of the activity Getyu include asking for a song, requesting a song, provoking a song, singing in antiphonal style, polite songs, pushing songs, singing goodbye songs, singing love songs, singing songs as gifts to others, and so on. Liusanjie, who has been known as Queen of Ballad, is the most famous and typical representative singer from the Zhuang people. During this period, other activities including Throwing Silk Balls between men and women as well as Throwing Eggs are being held. Also in all families people will eat colorful sticky rice food . In Wenshan region of Yunnan Province, the Zhuang people also have operas and goods and materials exchanging during the Geyu period. In the past, the Zhuang people grew and harvested rice only once a year and March 3rd was the time to do some preparations for the coming spring ploughing as well as farming season. Holding the activity of Geyu is to inspire the people to prepare for the farm season physically and spiritually. The Zhuang people eat colorful rice food and colorful eggs during this period on order to wish for a bumper harvest.
The Zhuang nationality had already created their own style of dancing as early as the Tang Dynasty (618AD—907AD) . For example, the dance of Husking Rice is originated from the Tang Dynasty, and it shows how the people husk rice, accompanied by the hit of other musical instruments. In the Song Dynasty ( 960AD—1234AD), they had Shoulder Pole Dance, Tea plucking Dance, Shrimp Catching Dance, Spring Ox Dance and so on, in which men were dancing energetically and vigorously, and women were dancing in an exquisite and beautiful way. These styles of dancing have been handed down generation by generation until now. In the Qing Dynasty, with the influence of operas from the Han nationality, the Zhuang people began to have their own operas. The first kind includes Shigong Opera and puppet shows, which are both performed in the Zhuang language. And the second kind refers to the song and dance dramas developed from the folk dramas of the Zhuang community. In different places there are different kinds of Zhuang operas. In areas of Baise County, Xilin County and Tianlin County in the north of Guangxi, North Road Opera is very popular, and it has been developed from the Bench Opera of Yunnan Province, and the singing characteristics of Yunnan operas were absorbed. The accompaniments of Beilu Opera include Horse Bone Fiddle, Bottle Gourd Fiddle, and Muye from the Zhuang nationality, and the bamboo flute, the trichord and Two-stringed Fiddle from the Han nationality. The South Road Opera, which is popular in Qingxi and Debao areas in south Guangxi, is developed from the local folk dramas and besides their own Horse Bone Fiddle and Bottle Gourd Fiddle , the accompaniments also include gongs, big cymbals, small cymbals, two-stringed flute, trichord, flutes, drums and clappers from other local minorities.
Geyu, which refers to the activity of singing ballads, is very popular among the Zhuang people. In different places people hold the Geyu activity in different times of the year. However, most of the activities are held tremendously in spring and autumn. In spring, Geyu is held usually after Spring Festival. January 4th, January 7th, February 19th, March 3rd, March 16th ,and so on, can all be the possible time. In autumn it is usually held after Mid-autumn Festival, on August 15th , September 9th or October 10th.In addition, there are also a lot of Geyu activities held irregularly. Generally speaking it is very frequent to have this activity. The regular Geyue is usually held two or three times one year, participated in by over ten thousand people in big activities, and one or two thousand people in smaller ones. The irregular Geyue activities are usually in a very small scale, with 10 to 50 people. All the topics of the songs in the activities are about the love affairs between young men and women. The contents include greeting songs, inviting other people to sing songs, new songs, love songs, saying goodbye songs and so on. It usually lasts for one day, but sometimes it can be two or three days. The people taking part in the Geyue activities include not only the young people, but also the elderly people and young children. The old people and the kids are mainly there watching, appreciating and enjoying the young people doing it. Sometimes the old people also join in, but instead of singing songs themselves, their only job is to help the young people and work out ideas for them. The geyu is actually very exciting, besides the ballads between the young people, there are also people who are giving operas and doing business. Various articles of daily use, cloth and silk, food and cakes, meat of chicken, duck and fish, vegetables and so on are all available. Actually the Geyu activity also plays a role of the trade fair.
The Singing Festival is different from the above-mentioned Geyu, and it is believed to originate from Geyu. There are no regular times for this festival and people can celebrate it at any time they like. The number of people participating in this festival can be as large as one thousand and as small as twenty or thirty. The songs during the festival are mainly about the Zhuang people’s wish for a better future, a better life and a better society. It begins with opening songs, competition of singing, appreciating songs, learning songs, and so on. Most participants are adult people who are interested in politics, news, and social affairs.
The Zhuang nationality began to cast and use bronze drums as early as two thousand years ago. Up to now, relics of bronze drums from different periods of history have been found in most of the countries where the Zhuang people live. There are various kinds of bronze drum with different sizes. The surface of the drum is round and flat, the body of it had nothing inside, but decorated with different patterns of pictures on the surface. In the history of the Zhunag ethnic group, the bronze drums not only served as musical instruments, but also symbolize power and wealth. Judging from the casting and moulding techniques, the bronze drums that have been excavated Guogailing area of Tiandong County, Guangxi were made in the Warring States Period, and the bronze drums excavated in Gui County and Xilin County of Guangxi were made in the Western Han Dynasty, and both of them were casted in very high-level techniques.
The Zhuang Brocade
The brocade of the Zhuang nationality is a very famous textile craft with high reputation. It is weaved with cotton yarns and colorful velvet . The pattern pictures on it are very unique. In addition, the Zhuang brocade is very durable and can be used for a very long time. As early as the Tang and Song Dynasties over one thousand years ago, there were records about the production of Zhuang brocade. Later in the Qing Dynasty, the production of Zhuang brocade had spread all the areas where the Zhuang nationality lived and it was widely used for the Zhuang people to make quilts as well as widely sold all over China. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the technology of Zhuang brocade production was very well developed and more and more new patterns of pictures were designed and created. The application of the brocade were enlarged in an ever larger scale, for example, in the production of wall hangings, tablecloth, cushions, sofa cloth and so on, the Zhuang brocade was widely used. Nowadays the Zhuang brocade made in Binyang County and Jingxi County of Guangxi has been widely sold both at home and abroad.
The Zhuang Boxing
The Zhuang Boxing not only has a history and tradition, but also is the unique custom of the Zhuang nationality. Fox example, in the Ming Dynasty, the Zhuang boys living in west Guangxi had to learn martial arts after ten years old. The local chieftain encouraged the all the Zhuang people to practise martial arts and everybody loved martial arts at that time. Every year in winter when there is no farm work, in each of the Zhuang village, kungfu masters were invited here to teach the villagers martial arts and this tradition lasted for a very long time until the 1950s. Nowadays the traditional martial arts of the Zhuang nationality has revived and developed gradually.
There are two forms of marriages in the Zhuang nationality, one is free love and the other is arranged marriage by parents. Normally the young men and women have enough freedom to choose whom they love . However, their love affairs and marriages are often interfered by their parents. Monogamy is the marriage system of the Zhuang nationality. Both men and women are the labor force of the family, but only men have the right to inherit the family property. In the marriage system, they have the custom of Staying at Home or Not Living with Husbands, that means after getting married, the wife just goes back to live with her own family. Even nowadays some branches of the Zhuang nationality still to keep this custom. After the young men and women get married, the wife just go back to her parents’ family and she only come to live with her husband for a short period during important festivals or busy farm season. Only after getting pregnant, the wife begins to live with her husband’s family forever. As a result, it may be three or five years during which the wife and the husbands have to live separately. In ancient times during their separation, they had the freedom of enjoying sexual life. However, later as they were influenced by the Confucius culture, free sexual life during the separation period was considered unacceptable and was forbidden. Otherwise they would be forced to divorce or punished for some money or property. Today the Zhuang young men and women enjoy the right of self-determination in love and marriage.
The Zhuang nationality mostly worships the nature and their ancestors. After the Tang and Song Dynasties, both Buddhism and Daoism spread to areas where the Zhuang ethnic group lived, and more and more temples of Buddhism and Daoism were built. In 1858 Catholicism was introduced to the Zhuang people, and in 1862 Protestantism was introduced here, however none of which spread widely among the Zhuang people. In each house of the Zhuang family, there had shrines to worship their ancestors. In recent times, Both Catholicism and Protestantism spread again to the Zhuang community.
The Zhuang nationality people take Moz as their main religious belief. Moz is a religious belief that has been greatly influenced by both Buddhism and Daoism. And blending with Daosim is the main feature of Moz. In addition, the Zhuang people also worship different Gods, which are very complicated and in various kinds, including God of Nature, God of Society , God of Patron, and so on. The religious ceremonies vary according to the different functions of different Gods.
Buluotuo, who is a mythology character in the oral literature created by the ancestors of the Zhuang nationality, is believed to be the God who created this world, was the ancestor of the Zhuang nationality and also the God of morality. The merits of Buluotuo include creating the sky and the earth, creating everything in the world, arranging the orders of everything, establishing ethic standards, and so on. Buluotuo is a pronunciation in the Zhuang language, and Bu is the title of honor for prestigious old people, Luo means knowing a lot, and Tuo means creating a lot of things. Buluotuo can refer to the leader in the mountains, the old person in the mountains, old people who know everything, and so on. Buluotuo culture has been designated as one of the Intangible Cultural Heritages of China.
Buluotuo Epic is the scripture of the Moz religion. And the contents of this book is about the stories of the God Buluotuo, including creating the heaven and earth, establishing ethic and moral standard of in the world, and enlightening the people to pray for peace and security as well as live a happy life. Primitive religious concepts such as nature worshipping and ancestor worshipping could be observed all through the scripture. Each section of the scripture can be read and understood independently. As most parts of this scripture is about the creation of heaven, earth, animals, human being, plants, and everything in the world, it is also considered the Epic of World Creation from the Zhuang nationality. Also because the contents are often sung as ballads , and the Zhuang people sing it when they hold worshipping ceremonies , as it result it is also believed to be the religious literature of the Zhuang ethnic group.
Written in the forms and languages of poem , Buluotuo vividly described the creation process of heaven, earth, the sun, the moon, stars, fire, grains, rice, ox, and so on, and then told people how the heaven, earth, the sun, and the moon came into being, as well as the origins of human beings, all kinds of crops, and animals. In addition, the customs of ancient people’s life was also introduced. This epic enthusiastically praised the great merits of their ancestor Buluotuo, who wad believed to be half-man and half-God. The whole epic is as long as more than ten thousand rows. It has been spread orally by the Zhuang people in Youjiang area, Hongshui area of Guangxi and Wenshan area of Yunnan Province from ancient times until nowadays.
About in the Ming Dynasty, besides the orally spreading of Buluotuo, it was also written down in ancient Zhuang letters , and was preserved. Some parts of it became the scriptures some folk religions among the Zhuang people. The original Buluotuo Poem was entirely written in ancient Zhuang letters , in the form of folk ballads and with rhymes. As for the contents, the mythologies, religions, ethics, customs are all combined together, so the epic is very abstruse and difficult to understand. However , as it has been spread among the Zhuang people for almost one thousand years, the languages have been refined and touched up in a large scale, the languages now are very beautiful and rhythmic. In additions many ancient Zhuang language words, and religious expressions are still kept inside, which is very unique and special.
The contents of the Buluotuo Epic could be divided into three parts, which include mythologies about creation of the world, standards of ethics and morality, and religions and taboos. The academic values of this epic can be studied in many aspects. The stories of Buluotuo include six aspects, such as his creation of heaven and earth, human beings, everything on earth, leaders of the common people, words and calenders, and the establish of moral standards. This epic described the history of human beings from savage periods until agriculture times as well as the social situations of the clannish tribes of the Zhuang nationality ancestors.
According to the version that has been revised by experts, the whole epic is divided into four sections. The first section is the beginning introduction of the whole epic, consist of Chapter 1—Etiquette, Chapter 2---Answering Ballads, and Chapter 3 ---Ballads of Stone Eggs. The second section is the ballads of creation, including Chapter 4---Creation of heaven and earth, Chapter 5----Creation of human beings, Chapter 6---Creation of the Sun, Chapter 7---Creation of fire, Chapter 8---Creation of rice, and Chapter 9---Creation of ox. The third section is the ballads of ruling the world, including Chapter 10---Creation the heaven and earth once more, Chapter 11---Establishment of family names, and so on. The last section is about the standards of ethic and morality.
TOPOther religious beliefs of the Zhuang nationality
Goddess of Huapo Huapo is believed to be the wife of Buluotuo, while some brances of the Xhuang ethnic group believe that she should be the mother of Buluootuo. Huapo is the goddess that is in charge of the birth of babies, and she is also known as the Virgin Goddess. The Zhuang people believe that babies are the flowers in their courtyards, which belong to the Goddess of Huapo. The blossom and withering of the flower is controlled by Huapo. As soon as a baby is born, the parents have to make a paper flower and hang it on the head of the bed. Whenever there are festivals as well on New Year’s Day, mothers have to take their children to worship the Goddess of Huapo. When a baby is ill, the parents also will go to worship and pray for her protection. In the south of the areas where the Zhuang nationality live, the local people worship the Goddess of Huapo more frequently and than ceremoniously than any other God they believe in.
The Land God The land god is believed to be in charge of a everything on the ground in each place. The Zhuang people believe that, drought, flood, pest , disease of human beings as well as animals are controlled by the land god. As a result, the temple of land god could be see in each of the Zhuang village, but without statues inside, instead a red piece of paper on which the characters of land god is written can be seen on the wall in the central part for the local people to kneel down and worship land god. Whenever there are festivals or important events especially dangers, diseases or disaster, the villagers would come to the temple, offer sacrifices and kneel down to pray for the protection from land god. The amount of sacrifices depends on how important the event is. Before the ceremony starts, people must not eat the meat of dogs. In normal times, the whole village has a small worshipping ceremony each year and a big one every three years. In spring every year, villagers come to the temple to pray for a seasonable weather for the growing of crops as well as the security and peace of both human beings and their livestock. In spring, if they have had a good harvest, the whole village should come to the temple again to thank land god for his protection and help.
Shegong Shegong is believed to be the guardian of the Zhuang villages. They usually build an altar under the big trees in the village, inside of which are several stones, and sometimes a stone statue of dog is put inside. On New Year’s Eve every year, each family prepares wines and meat for the worship of Shegong. When the ceremony begins, all the respectable old people in the village gather together in front of the altar, and talk about what will be done and what reforms need to be made in the village in the coming New Year. All the young men and teenagers also come to the altar, and then pay respect to all the seniors and old people in the village. New married girls also have to go back to her parents’ village to attend the ceremony with their husbands. New born babies are also taken to the altar, his parents hand out red eggs to all the villagers there and the host of the ceremony put on jewelry to the baby, wishing him or her peace, health and good luck. If a baby is more than three years old, he or she will be taken to the altar by parents, who bring wines and chickens as sacrifices to worship Shegong. The young baby has to kneel down and ask the uncle to give a name for him or her in front of the altar. At last the [parents cut the chicken into small slices and hand them out to each family with brown sugar, in the meanwhile, inform each family the baby’s name. The young girls will also have their ears pierced and then put on earbobs in front of the altar. After the whole ceremony is over, at night, all families put the meat, soups, sticky rice dumplings and red eggs they have brought to the altar in front of the doors of women’s rooms who have children, by doing this they believe that the souls of the children will be redeemed back. At last, the remaining soup and food will be used to feed the livestock and poultry, which is believed to make them grow much stronger and healthier. Whenever there are insect outbreaks to their crops, the Zhuang people from all villages will hit gangs to gather all villagers, and then they kill pigs, sheep and chickens, and bring them to the altar to worship Shegong. The blood of the animals they have killed will be use to dye paper strips, which are later hanged on sticks in the field, symbolizing that Shegong has been there. By doing this they believe that the insect damage will be stopped.
God of Crops On June 6th each of the Zhuang family will kill chickens and taken them to the fields to worship the God of Crops. All villagers get together and sing songs happily. They also put small paper flags on the edge of the field in order to pray for a good harvest. If there are insect damages, they would perform Yellow Dragon Dancing to dispel the insects away. When sowing seeds, they always throw a few grains or peanut shells at the entrance of their village in order to pray a good growing of the crops. During July, in some villages, the Zhuang people hold the ceremony of Worshipping Young Crops. They prepare some wines and pork and then assemble out of their village, both young and old, drink the wines together and sing agriculture songs to pray for a good harvest. After harvest in autumn, the ceremony of Eating New Rice will be held. People will first pick some new rice from the fields and then cook it, at the same, they kill chickens and ducks as sacrifice, with which they bring to the fields to hold the worshipping ceremony before they begin to reap the rice.
God of Ox There is a legend among the Zhuang nationality that ox is sent by God of Heaven down to the earth to help people to do farm work and May 5th is the birthday of ox, which is known as Ox Day, on which it is not allowed to kill an ox and the Zhuang people will burn incense to worship God of Ox. Colorful sticky rice food will also be prepared to feed the ox. In some places people also use calamus realgar wines to feed the ox. As soon as the spring ploughing begins, ceremony of Summoning Ox Souls will be held, and on this day chicken, fish, meat, and colorful sticky rice food will be prepared as sacrifices for people to worship the God of Ox in the byre or in the grazing place. People have a big dinner together and wrap the colorful sticky rice food, meat and vegetables together with leaves of bananas, and it is not allowed to whip or hoot to the ox. They believe that as the oxen all work very hard in the farm season, and their souls fly to other places because of tiredness, so they have to summon the ox souls back.
In addition, the Zhuang nationality also worship God of dragon, thunder, water, fire and other natural things, and they often prepare sacrifices and hold grand ceremonies to worship them.
Ancestors are widely worshipped by the Zhuang ethnic group, especially those who are considered as great heroes.
King Moyi : King Moyi is believed to be one of the heroes that could control winds and rains, dispel ghosts, defeat enemies and invaders , and did everything in his power to protect the Zhuang people. In many places where the Zhuang nationality live, especially in the northwest part of Guangxi, not only the Temple of King Moyi is built in many villages but also in the house of each family the shrine of King Moyi is propitiated for people to worship. Incenses are burned there all through the year. They also have to kill pigs, oxen, chickens, and ducks as sacrifices to King Moyi. Knowledgeable scholars will be invited to read scriptures for several days and nights , as a result worshipping of King Moyi always costs a lot a money. However, families who cannot afford it can burn some incense to worship Moyi King , tell him that they respect and love him , and ask for the king's forgiveness. Besides King Moyi, there are many other kings who are also considered as the ancestors as well s great heroes of the Zhuang nationality.
Ancestor of the family:
In the main hall of each family, a shrine must be put on the table, in order to worship the ancestors of this family as well different Gods, such as God of Kitchen Stove, God of Wealth, and so on. The names of the ancestors of this family are written on the middle part of a piece of red paper and the names of other Gods are written on two sides. The two most important worshipping ceremonies are held in the Spring Festival and Ghost Festival respectively. On New Year's Eve, people clean their houses; prepare good tea with rice flower sugar inside to welcome the souls of their ancestors back home. In the morning of the New Year, different families visit each other, propose a toast and bow to the ancestors of other families to show their respect and all families celebrate the festival together. On January 2nd , they say goodbye to the souls of their ancestors , if relatives or friends come to visit, they also bring sacrifices and offerings to the host family to worship the ancestors ,. In addition, the visitors also have to burn incense in front of the shrine. Between January 1st and January 15th, there are offerings in front of the shrine all the time. Both in the morning and in the evening, families have to kneel down and kowtow for three times as well as light three sticks of incense. From July 13th to July 15th, there is the Escaping Ghosts Festival. It is believed that during this time all ghosts will come out of the hell and seek for food in the human world. And the bad and evil ghosts always do a lot of bad things. As a result, all families stay at home to avoid the ghosts, and offer sacrifices at home to worship the God of Ghost. During this time nobody dares to walk outside. On March 3rd and October 10th of the Zhuang nationality calendar, people all go to the graveyards to worship their ancestors. At that time colorful sticky rice food are offered and fake paper money are thrown on the grounds of the cemeteries.
After people's death, their bodies are first put in the main hall. Then they are washed with water that has been boiled with leaves of pomelos, peaches or gingers . When the corpse is put into the coffin, all the families members cry loudly and sing funeral songs at the same time to express their sorrows of losing their beloved. All relatives and friends will come, spill wines and offer sacrifices. All the favorite things of the deceased are put around the corpse, bronze coins used to cover the eyes and mouth, sticky rice food or leaves of tea are sometimes also put into the mouth. By doing this people want the deceased to have enough food and money on the way to the infernal world. In some places people use vermilion to cover the five sense organs of the face. The corpse is covered with a piece of white cloth. The family of the deceased person squib fireworks or hit drums to express their sorrows. If the deceased person is a woman, the family has to inform her parents' family, and they cannot put the corpse into the coffin before the woman's family members come to see her for the last time. Sometimes the children of the deceased person have to invite two singers, who sing funeral songs all day long. One singer play the role of a nephew, and the other plays the role of the uncle. The two people sing in the form of asking and answering questions. The purpose of doing this is to praise the merits and virtues of the deceased person and educate people to respect seniors and old people as well as never what their ancestors have done for them.
The Zhuang nationality has the custom of Second Funeral. Usually after three years of the funeral, the coffin is opened and relics of deceased person's bones are collected and put into a pottery pot, which is then placed into a grotto or cave. Then after choosing a proper and lucky place as the cemetery, the deceased person will be buried for a second time. After this is done, the deceased has the qualification of being worshipped as one of the ancestors of the family. People who die unnaturally are believed to become evil ghosts after death; as a result the corpse must be cremated. A necromancer has to be invited to chant scriptures, and then remains will be carried over a fire pit by the necromancer who jumps over the fire pit. Only after this can the soul of the unnatural deceased person be accepted to enjoy the same and equal status with the souls of other ancestors.
Withes refer to the people who can communicate with ghosts or Gods. They are also called Little Witches, as they often host small ceremonies. They wear muftis when hosting the ceremony. They have no teachers or students. And they do not have their own books or scriptures either. Ladles are used by witches as musical instruments, and they call the ladles Ding. Some of the withes also shake small bells while working. They usually do some witchcraft activities and pretend to be able to visit the infernal world for people and ask questions on behalf of people to the ghosts as well as find the souls of the deceased and send messages to them from their families. They are also believed to be able to inquire the ghosts about fortunes or disasters. Necromancers are also called teachers or great masters. They have their own students but without organizations. They eat both vegetables and meat and they can get married. Their main job is help people to dispel ghosts, pray to ghosts, help people choose the best time or place when they want to do something important, and tell fortunes. Their have their own scriptures, which are written in informal Zhuang language. The contents are mainly about the legends, history, geography, astronomy, and calendar. Witches and necromancers are a very important part of the Zhuang nationality culture and the latter is often invited to host funeral ceremonies, assemblies, disaster-dispelling ceremonies and other big religious ceremonies. As a result, they are also called Big Necromancers.
The indigenous religion of the Zhuang ethnic group is called Moz, which was prohibited and criticized as a form of feudal superstition in the 1960s. Many Buluotuo Epics were burned, and the witches and necromancers in many places were persecuted, some of them even died. The Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s made the Moz religion of the Zhuang ethnic group almost extinguish entirely. From the 1980s, with the implementation of the ethnic and religious policies published by the Chinese government, Moz religion of the Zhuang nationality was revived and developed. However after the 1960s, most of the young people from the Zhuang ethnic groups knew little about the Moz religion and Buluotuo Epic. And few of them chose Moz as their religion, which made a interruption in the development of the Zhuang ethnic culture.
There are many great heroes and famous people who have given deep and long lasting influence to the development of society in the history of all ethnic groups. The men and women created by one civilization just demonstrate the essence and characteristics of this civilization as well as its soul. The Zhuang nationality also has created many great heroes and famous people. There have been numerous outstanding and distinguished people in the history of the Zhuang nationality. These people include , Buluotuo, who is considered to be great ancestor of the Zhuang nationality, Luocheng, Liangfeng, Panchangan, Huangshaoqing, Anong, who is the mother of their great ancestor Nongzhigao, Nongzhigao, who used to be a great king, Mrs Wa, who used to be a great hero in the resistance of invading foreign troops, Zhengxianfu, who was a famous scholar in the Qing Dynasty, Lutao, a famous general, Weibaqun, who used to the a leader of peasant movement, Lurongting, a famous general, Weiguoqing , who used to be the leader of China, Ganku, also the leader of China, Huangxianfan, a famous scholar, Lining, who is a famous athelete , and so on. There are too many of this kind of people.
The Zhuang ethnic group has many festivals and there are festivals almost in each month all through the year. Of all of them, the Spring Festival, March 3rd, July 14th are the three most important festivals for the Zhong people. The other festivals are celebrated almost in the same way as the Han nationality.
The Spring Festival
The Spring Festival of the Zhuang nationality lasts three days from December 30th until January 2nd according to the local calendar. But January 4th and 5th are also considered to be with the festival. The Spring Festival is the most important and ceremonious festival in the year. The Zhuang people begin to do preparations for this festival from December 23rd. All families have to clean their houses , make new clothes, buy special purchases for the festival, put up couplets on their doors, bake cakes , kill pigs, make rice dumplings , and so on. The Spring Festival is also a time for all the families to gather together, as a result, all the families who work in other paces will manage to get back home to have a big dinner with their family on New Year's Eve. During the festival, besides visiting relatives and friends, the young men and women also take part in different activities including singing ballads, playing peg-tops , dancing, ball games, operas and other kinds of cultural and sports activities. On New Year's Eve, all families kill chickens and ducks; make braised pork, pork surloins, and barbecued pork and so on. There are eight dishes for the big dinner, and chicken must be included. In families who have old people, stewed pig feet and chickens are also prepared. They also a lot of rice, for the coming few days, which also symbolizes wealth.
On New Year's Eve, all families have to wait for the arriving of the new year. When they hear the cockcrow, all families burn fireworks to say goodbye to the past year and welcome the new year. In the past, the Zhuang people in some area called the the squibbing of fireworks Summoning the Ox Souls, as they believed that the souls of their oxen still stayed outside in the wild fields, so they had to call them back. After the new year, the ox has to work hard again for his master. When beginning to summon the ox souls, some families hit drums and gangs, and played flute , which created a very happy and exciting atmosphere in the whole village.
January 1st and January 2nd
On these two days, when there are guests coming, sticky rice dumplings must be served and the rice dumplings are always served to treat distinguished guests by the Zhuang families. There are different sizes of rice dumplings, the big ones can be as heavy as one kilo, and smaller ones may be about 100 grams. There is another kind of dumplings named Fengmo, which is very big and more than 10 kilos in weight. Rice dumpling is mainly made with sticky rice, but there must stuffings inside. The stuffings are mainly green beans with skins peeled off, good quality pork and some sauces. With the stuffings inside, the flavor of the rice dumplings can be much more delicious.
The Peg-top Festival
In the Zhuang ethnic areas of Guangxi, a very famous sports event ---the Peg-top festival is held once every year. The whole festival lasts for almost two weeks, from two or three days before the new year until January 16th. Peg-top is called Lejiang in the Zhuang language, and there are different sizes of them, all weighing differently. Some of them can be as big as big pomelos , and as heavy as half a kilo. The smaller ones can be as small as eggs, only weigh about 100 grams. Materials used to make peg-tops must be very hard and solid. The head of it must be made as circular and lubricious as possible. When playing the peg-top, people will first tangle it with a one-meter-long hemp rope, they can stop when they feel the peg-top has been tangled properly, then they grab the end of the hemp rope with the third finger and little finger of the right hand, at last fling the peg-top to the ground. Then it will twirl on the ground in a very fast speed. The good quality peg-top can twirl for as long as seven or eight minutes before it stops. The competition of playing peg-tops is very widely loved by all the Zhuang people. The person who wins the competition will be given the title of King of Peg-top. It is said this activity has a long history of more than three hundred years.
Longsuan Festival is a traditional festival celebrated by the Zhuang ethnic people living in Funing County of Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Magistrate in Yunnan Province. Longduan is a pronunciation from the Zhuang language, and it means going to a wide and flat place to gather together. It is believed that this festival has a long history of more than 700 years. Originally it was to commemorate Nongzhigao, who was the great hero of the Zhuang nationality and led the Zhuang people to fight against the exploitation of the Song Dynasty government in April, 1052 AD. Nowadays Longduan Street has become the place for the Zhuang, Yao, Miao, Yi and Han nationalities living in Funing County to exchange their daily use good and materials and celebrate the traditional festival together. It is said that in the Northern Dynasty, in order to resist the cruel oppression and exploitation from the feudal rulers , Nongzhigao led the Zhuang people in Guangxi to fight against the government troops and gradually received more and more victories , at last, he established South Heavy Kingdom, and called himself the king of South Heaven. He then led his troops and conquered Nanning City, Qinzhou City and Guangzhou City, and many places were controlled by him. However, he was defeated later by the government troops and retreated to today’s Funing County. Then the Zhuang people were divided into several small groups and forced to move far away to live in different places of Guizhou Province by the Song Dynasty government, who wanted to weaken the forces of the Zhuang troops. Before the separation, the Zhuang people were very sad and they promised to come back the next year to see their relatives and friends. From then on, the Zhuang people who had moved to live in other places wold come back to their homeland to visit their relatives and friends in March every year. As time went on, there came the Longduan Festival, which now starts from March 25th, and lasted from three days. Before the festival, the host villages would kill pigs and oxes to prepare enough food for their friends. They would also build stages to make operas later and prepare everything well including food and accommodation. Girls would wear beautiful top clothes and batik skirts, with embroidered patterns of pictures on the sleeves. Breast pockets as well as embroidered shoes would also be worn by the girls , which would make them much more beautiful. Energetic handsome young men come to have parties with the pretty girls , dancing and singing together until sunset. If they still want to go on after nightfall, they could go with the girls into the village and have antiphonal ballads.
Chili Festival, which means a festival of happiness and celebration, is celebrated by the local Zhuang people especially in areas of Longzhou County and Pingxiang City of Guangxi. The Zhuang nationality has the habit of celebrating the Spring Festival. However, in 1894, just as the Spring Festival approaches, the border of China was invaded by French troops from Vietnam, in order to kick them out of China, many young men from the Zhuang nationality joined the army and went to the battlefield to resist the French invaders. Their home land was eventually protected. On January 30th, when the Zhuang soldiers came back home, people prepared chickens and mutton, cooked sticky rice cakes, and treated the brave young men in great hospitability. They celebrated the victory as well as the Spring Festival, even though almost one month later, they were very happy. Then there came the Chili Festival, during which the Zhuang people performed lion dancing, playing dragon lanterns, sang songs and danced a lot, which was very exciting and ceremonious.
In zhening and Suowu areas of Guangxi, on the Day of Rabbit in April every year, the Zhuang people will kill an ox, a pig, two chickens and 48 fish, with all of which they go to Yabai Mountain to worship the woman Yabai, who used to be a leader of the Zhuang nationality. On that day, all men and women, young and old have to attend the ceremony. It is very ceremonious. Legend goes it that Yabai used to the leader of a Zhuang village, and she led all the villagers to fight against the government troops, at last they were defeated and Yabai was killed. Then she was buried on the top of a mountain, which was later named by her name. Every year on the day when she had been killed, the Zhuang people would kill pigs and oxes to worship her in the mountain. They kept the worshipping activity every year without interruption. Gradually there came the Yabai Festival for the Zhuang nationality.