Lusheng and Horse Fighting Festival
The Lusheng and Horse Fighting Festival is held regularly in November in Rongshui Miao autonomous county, Liuzhou, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. It is one of the most distinctive festivals in Rongshui, attracting a large number of ethnic groups to participate in it with their own traditional clothing.
The grand opening ceremony of the Rongshui Lusheng and Horse Fighting Festival. [Photo/Xinhua]
Rongshui Miao autonomous county is the first Miao autonomous county established in China and the only one in Guangxi. It boasts more than 500,000 people in 13 ethnic groups including the Miao, Yao, Dong, Zhuang, Shui, and Han. Among them, the Miao population accounts for about 42 percent of the county's total population. The Lusheng and Horse Fighting Festival is the main activity of "Pohui groups of the Rongshui Miao ethnic group," a set of celebration activities that was listed as part of the first batch of national intangible cultural heritages.
Lusheng and horse fighting have a history of 600 years in Rongshui, with profound cultural connotations and large-scale activities.
People watch horse fighting at the Ronghui Lusheng and Horse Fighting Festival. [Photo/chinanews.com]
A lusheng is a reed instrument. Most lushengs consist of multiple reeds, but some have only one or two reeds. The music of the lusheng was used to be played for the traditional courtship ceremony, but it has since developed into an all-purpose musical instrument in its own right that accompanies all manner of dance, acrobatics, and even martial arts.
Rongshui is located in a mountainous area, and horses are the main work and transportation means for local residents. The Miao people have the custom of raising horses, loving horses, and fighting horses since ancient times. It is said in a legend that 500 years ago, a smart Miao girl chose her husband by the way of horse fighting. After hundreds of years of evolution, the Lusheng and Horse Fighting Festival has developed into a way for local people to celebrate the bumper harvest and entertain horses.
In contemporary times, the Lusheng and Horse Fighting Festival has been successfully held 19 times and has become the most representative cultural event of the Rongshui Miao ethnic group. It attracts more than one million tourists from home and abroad each year.
Activities of the festival include the opening ceremony performed by local ethnic groups, parades, horse fighting, bird and cock fighting, lusheng dance competitions, and lusheng dance parties. In addition, visitors can also participate in food festivals to taste the delicious dishes of Miao families.
Delicious food with Miao characteristics is showcased at the Ronghui Lusheng and Horse Fighting Festival. [Photo/Xinhua]