Bamei Village Culture in Guangnan County, Wenshan
Baimei Village is situated at the border of Bada and Ake townships of Guangnan County. Surrounded by mountains around and without available roads, the village can be only accessed by waterways in two Karst caves in the back and front of it respectively. A 10-minute journey along the winding Ake River would lead you to unveil the hidden village. Situated in remote areas and isolated from the outside world due to the inconvenient traffic conditions, Bamei is seldom known to people as a pastoral Zhuang ethnic village shrouded among mountains.
Being simple and kind, the Zhuang ethnic members in the village have kept the orthodox traditions of their own. They organize or spend assorted folk activities/festivals such as the March 3rd Festival, the Dragon Sacrificial Ceremonies, the Ancestral Worship Ceremony, Antiphonally Singing, the Colored Rice Festival, and Kicking Shuttlecock etc.
The residences of Bamei Village are designed in “stilt” style, locally called “Ma Lan Lou” and “Diao Jiao Lou” (Stilted House). Composed of two floors, a traditional building in the village is the dwelling of human on the second floor and the barn or stable on the first floor. As the manifestation of the long history of the village, these traditional houses are deemed “living fossils” of the Zhuang ethnic architectures.Setting foot on Bamei Village, you will find yourself in a dreamland. It deserves to be called the “Peach Blossom Valley”. (The Peach Blossom Valley is derived form “the Story of the Blossom Valley” by an ancient Chinese poet Mr. Tao Yuanming, 365-427( Blossom Valley equals to Eutopia.)
Traditional folk Residences
In Bamei Village, you can see the most ancient Zhuang traditional folk residences called Malanlou, the most ancient Stile House. Villagers here live a self-sufficient life. During the past, they seldom leave this village except for one situation: they run out of salt.
If you are interested, you can see the whole process of how a piece of Zhuang clothes is made, from weaving, dying to do embroidery. Men here wear black front opening tops, black loose trousers and black headgears, while women dress black, blue or purple round-collared, narrow-sleeved, left opening tops, black accordion dress or long trousers as well as embroidered shoes. The image of bird reflects their primitive worship.
Naked Bath: Bamei Village has a Man River and a Woman River, which serve as men’s and women’s public bathroom all year around. People here are very innocent, and take bathes naked.
Traditional Zhuang culture and customs
The traditional Zhuang culture and customs are still maintained here. Most of the villagers live in traditional Malan houses, a kind of diao jiao lou. Their customs and festivals are also well preserved. The Devil Festival, the Ox Soul Festival, and the Singing Festival are all celebrated grandly. People sing folk songs at their most important events, which is their way of interacting with others and expressing feelings.
The inhabitants belong to Zhuang minority. Bamei means ‘cave in the forest’ in Zhuang language. It is said that the ancestors of Bamei residents are a Zhuang family of Guangdong Province. 600 years ago, they escaped from brutal outlaws and found the cave by chance. They believed it was a perfect place to hide, so later they invited some friends to live with them. Since then, Bamei Village had become a Peach Blossom Valley for these virtuous, amicable Zhuang people.