Qingmiao Festival of Wa Ethnic Minority

Chinese Name:佤族青苗节
English Name: Qingmiao Festival of Wa Ethnic Minority
Date: May 20 – 21
Location: Gengma County in Lincang City/临沧市耿马傣族佤族自治县

Qingmiao Festival (青苗节) is a traditional folk festival in China, which was celebrated by three minorities. However, their way to celebrate this festival is different. Here are the brief introductions of the origin and various ways to celebrate it.

Qingmiao Festival of Wa people

Qingmiao Festival(青苗节) is held from May 20 to 21 every year in Gengma Dai and Wa Autonomous County(临沧市耿马傣族佤族自治县) . It is one of the most solemn festivals of Wa people around Gengma which has been passed down for hundreds of years. Long time ago, it’s said that seed was sown but couldn’t take root. A Wa hero named Dasai Ma(达赛玛), after he praying in a ritual to the god of grain, the seed began to grow and thrive.

According to the traditional custom, people celebrate Qingmiao Festival for 3 days. On the first day, as Han Chinese New Year, numerous Wa people wear traditional costume. They are busy in cleaning Wells, sinks, drinking wine, making Chicken Porridge(鸡肉烂饭), worshipping God of village and God of Household(寨神家神).

After the ceremony, People playing San Xian(三弦) and singing songs. The villagers also reward their cattle with glutinous rice. They believe that the cattle should not be forgotten when they harvest the rice every year. The next day, Wa people gather together to celebrate the Soul of Grain(谷魂). On the third day, the cheerful green seedling welcome activity wil be held as scheduled.

Today, the “Qingmiao Festival” has been passed down for hundreds of years and has become an important carrier and expression form of the traditional culture of Wa people in Gengma.

Qingmiao Festival of Zhuang people

The event is a folk festival of Nong Si(农祀) and is held in the seventh lunar month. At that time, pork, rice is put outside as offerings for the Seeding God(禾苗神). Then, villagers start to block the road, so as to avoid disturbing Seeding God. At the same time, the whole villagers gather together, drinking, singing songs, wishing a good harvest.

Qingmiao Festival of Sala people

It’s a folk festival of Sala people, which mainly popular in Xunhua Salar Autonomous County in Qinghai province and Linxia hui Autonomous Prefecture Salar Autonomous county in Gansu province. The festival is held on an auspicious day in the fourth and fifth lunar months every year. After the time of the festival is decided, every family start making Steamed Sugar Stuffed Bun (蒸糖包), Grilled Meat (手扒肉), Meat Stuffed Bun(肉包) and other traditional Sala food. Meanwhile, some rich families also butcher chickens and sheep, donating some food and provisions to the mosque.

During the festival, old people wear long shirts with cloth or silk belts around their waists; young men in white sweat coats, red cloth belt around their waist; women wear hoods and in black or tartan cloth. They go to the mosque to worship and listen to the Imam reciting of the Qingmiao Sutra. After dinner, some people visit friends and relatives, and some are play around the village. The young men and women gather to sing and dance. The lyrics of Sala song are vivid and lively; the tune is melodious; the rhythm is lively. It has an unique emotional appealling which sounds very please to hear.