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Dongting Lake Festivals
People that live around the Dongting Lake celebrate several festivals around the year. However, four festivals are considered to be the most important- the lunar year’s twelfth month festival, the Mid Autumn festival, the Dragon Boat festival and the spring festival.
The dragon boat festival is considered to be most enjoyable and the busiest. Various activities are organized to celebrate this festival like hanging moxa and calamous on their front door, racing the dragon boats, enjoying the hsiung huang wine and eating Zongzi which is a glutinous rice dumpling.
The Tuija New Year
The New Year is celebrated three times each year by the Tuija ethnic tribe of the Hunan province- in December, June and October. In December the festival is usually on the 28th or the 29th. In June, the New Year is usually celebrated on the 25th while in October the festival is celebrated on the 1st. The day before the New Year eve, a celebration is enjoyed at night.
People usually build a huge bonfire on the open ground at the village. Women and men of Tujia would attend the Swaying Hands dance and would sing various songs for the New Year.
For the June New Year festivities celebrated on the 25th, people normally slaughter cattle and worship their deities in the olden times. This celebration is still enjoyed even today. In October each year, the New Year celebrations are enjoyed on the 1st. This tradition originated with the first ever bumper crop that the ethnic group enjoyed after their migration. That day, the Tujia people had held various celebratory activities light slaughtering pigs, wishing each other a happy and prosperous new year and drinking wine. The same tradition continues even today. The Tujia New Year is a very unique festival to be enjoyed and definitely something that everyone should attend at least once in their lives.
The Torch Festival
The Torch Festival is a traditional festival which is held by the Bai Nationality in Zhangjiajie in the sixth lunar month on the 25th day. This festival is celebrated for protecting the crops and killing all the pests.
On this day, the Bai Nationality people would hold various celebration rituals in which they wish for a bumper crop as well as for thriving livestock herds. The main activities are offering ancestors with a sacrifice, the torches, igniting torches, playing with the torches and jumping over the torches along with other activities.
The Flower Festival- October, November
Every year in October or November, the alleys and streets are filled with white, purple, yellow and red chrysanthemums which make Kaifeng a beautiful sea of colorful flowers. Various flower exhibitions are held in the Baogong Shrine, Big Xiangguo Monastery, Emperor Yu Platform, Iron Tower and Dragon Pavilion. More than a hundred varieties of chrysanthemums are exhibited.
During this festival, many trade and economic activities are also held. Kaifeng is known for its chrysanthemums since the Song Dynasty. Various activities like drinking of the chrysanthemum wine, opening of the chrysanthemum meetings, hanging beautiful chrysanthemum lamps have been carried out for thousands of years in history.
The Festival of Lanterns
This traditional festival has been celebrated for centuries, ever since the Song Dynasty. The exhibition during the festival showcases beautifully designed lanterns which makes this ancient city luminous and attractive. The new festive lanterns today are made with advanced technologies and new materials with breakthrough in design and colors. The festival also includes various other popular nongovernmental activities such as playing plate drums, the temple fair of Dongjin Emperor, flying beautiful kites and the cockfighting competition.