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Hakka Customs

Folk Customs of Pinghai Ancient City

  Folk customs of Pinghai Ancient City in Pinghai Town of Huidong County is quite unique. The popular dialect of "army language" in Pinghai is a unique dialect which has been gradually formed since the Ming Dynasty on the basis of Northern China's dialect and by combining Cantonese, Hakka dialect and Chaozhou-Shantou subdialect.The main folk customs currently reserved in Pinghai include the following: the Lantern Show on the Lantern Festival, the Opera Show on the 3rd day of the third lunar month, Dragon Boat Race on the Dragon Boat Festival, Moon Worship on Mid-autumn Festival. There are many other kinds of folk arts, such as folk dance titled "Carps Chasing the Spring", "Nine Phoenixes Flying toward the Sun", "Colored Butterflies in Love with Flowers" and "Fishermen's Song of Pinghai".

Fire Dog Show

  "Fire Dog Show" is popular in Lantian Yao Nationality (the Guoshan Yao branch) Township of Longmen County, and the time for the festival is on the evening of each Mid-autumn Festival. Ever after the ancestors of Lantian Yao Nationality immigrated to Lantian in the Ming Dynasty from Yaoshan area of Shaozhou in Northern Guangdong, Fire Dog Show has never stopped. Up to now, it has a history of over 300 years.
  Fire Dog Show originated from the Lantian Yao Nationality's worshipping of dogs. According to legend, in the ancient age, "Tan Xian Gong", the Chief of the Lantian Yao Nationality, lost his mother in early childhood, his father fed him with dog's milk. The Chief never forgot the care received from childhood and required his clansmen to remember that the dog is "the mother of rebirth", who should be commemorated as grandmother. According to regulations of the Clan, it is forbidden to beat dogs, scold dogs, sell dogs, let alone eating dog meat. After the death of a dog, its owner is required to bury it in his/her own garden outside the backdoor of the house. It is also stipulated that Fire Dog Show shall be held on each Mid-autumn Festival with village as the organizing unit. In Fire Dog Show, those who act as "fire dog" must be unmarried girls, implying that after they marry they should cherish their offspring as "the mother of rebirth" of the ancestral Clan Chief. Fire Dog Show is a kind of "puberty rite" for unmarried girls of Lantian Yao Nationality. According to the customs of Lantian Yao Nationality, each unmarried girl must participate in Fire Dog Show for at least three times, then they can be regarded as adults and get married. Moreover, Fire Dog Show is supposed to be able to ward evil and avoid illness.
  The number of unmarried girls acting as "fire dog" is indefinite. On the evening of Fire Dog Show, the girls gather at the public house (girls' house) and are led by two senior women with "blessing". The girls wear a skirt-like costume tied up with leaves of yellow ginger, their waist and arms are bundled with canes, which are sticked with burning joss-sticks. The girls wear bamboo hats sticked with joss-sticks, and they hold three joss-sticks at each hand. In ancient times, the ancestors of Yao Nationality didn't have clothes to wear but wear leaves of yellow ginger. The costume of "fire dog" takes the meaning of never forgetting hardships of the ancestors.
  At the beginning of Fire Dog Show, the girls line up in the order of height, first kowtow to clan chiefs (various generations of ancestors). Except kowtowing to the ancestors of their own family name in various villages, the Fire Dog Show teams will go to the biggest Public Temple of Chiefs in ShangJian Dong to invite the most reverent chief "Tan Xian Gong", traditionally known as "inviting the Master". Those who carry back the memorial tablet of the Master will be endowed with most blessings. After each Fire Dog Show team kowtow its ancestors of their own family name, the pioneering girl will lead the team to walk from the ancestral temple to the kitchens, repeatedly singing age-old, unique folk songs, go through streets and alleys to the kitchen of each family for worshiping. Then they go to the garden of each family to worship for vegetables to flourish. Finally, the Fire Dog Show teams in neighboring villages join together to a cluster as a dragon wriggles to the river bank outside the village. At this moment, the girls throw the leaves of yellow ginger, bamboo hats and joss-sticks bundled on their bodies to the river, then wash hands and feet with river water, symbolizing bath of the whole body, which can ward evil, finally they watersprinkle to each other for fun.
  In the whole process of Fire Dog Show, young men set off firecrackers by the side all the way for assistance. When they walk to the river bank, young men wait along two river banks, after the Fire Dog Show girls wash their hands and feet, they choose to sing in antiphonal style with the girls they like until the dawn.
  Fire Dog Show is not only characterized by solemnness and devoutness, but also has lively and grand scenes. The simple and unsophisticated movements have the full-bodied folk style of Lantian Yao Nationality.
  There is no music accompaniment in Fire Dog Show. The Fire Dog Show girls do the singing and dancing.

Customs of the She Nationality

  The She Nationality is the only minority of Boluo County inhabited in Zhangbei Village, Henghe Town. The festivals celebrated by the She Nationality mainly include the 3rd day of the third lunar month, the Dragon Separation Festival in the 4th lunar month, the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, the Day of Autumn Beginning, the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Chung Yeung Festival and the Spring Festival. The 15th days of the 2nd, 7th and 8th lunar months of every year are all the ancestor worship days for the She Nationality. The 3rd day of the third lunar month is a traditional festival for the She Nationality, when people go for a spring outing and eat black rice in honor of their ancestors. So it is also called "Black Rice Festival". Henghe She Nationality Folklore Garden takes geographical advantage of Henghe Town as backyard garden of Luofu Mountain. Integrating local unique cultural elements of She Nationality and graceful rural landscape of Henghe Town, it is an integrated rural tourism garden for tourism, relaxation, sports and culture.

Hakka Folk Song

  Hakka folk songs are mainly popular in dialectal areas of Huiyang, Huidong, Boluo and Longmen. Generally each song has four sentences, each sentence has seven characters, the 1st, 2nd, and 4th sentences are rhymed. The singing feature of various areas are slightly different. The folk songs of Huiyang mostly originate from Tonghu Town and Danshui Town. Huidong is most representative with folk song of Duozhu Town, known as "Xizhijiang River Folk Song", whose content of lyrics, subject for manifestation, structure of lyrics, tune and melody are quite romantic. Boluo is representative with Xian Village Folk Song, belonging to five-tone scale Yu Tone, characterized by storytelling style and and are narrative.

Folk Customs of the Yao Nationality

  There is the Yao Nationality inhabiting in Longmen County. From the upper part of Lantian Bay to Lantian Yao Nationality Township, there are many sites as Yao Nationality villages and ancient Yao Nationality relics. Folk customs of the Yao Nationality are fascinating. Lantian Yao Nationality Folklore Garden is at the foot of Shima Mountain of Lantian Yao Nationality Township, with an area of more than 40 hectare. Nearby there are famous scenic spots such as Longmen Iron Spring, Natural Hot Spring and Xinfeng Hot Spring. The Yao Nationality Folklore Garden is adjacent to many scenic spots, such as Paradise Lake Water Tourist Resort under planning, Guifeng Mountain Ecological Tourist Resort and Dipai Hot Spring and Longcheng Tourism & Culture Service Center.

Sky Hole Fixing Day

  The 20th day of the first lunar month of every year is Huizhou's folk "Sky Hole Fixing Day". On this day, people make sky hole fixing pancakes and put them in the open for worshiping the God, and then throw them onto the roofs to "fix the sky". It is said that there is still a gap in the sky after Goddess Nu Wa patched the sky, which is the reason why people make the pancakes to fill in the gap in the sky for fear of flood that might result from too much rain. The cooking method for the "Sky Hole Fixing Pancakes" is as follows: mix the glutinous rice powder with water, and stir them up into a paste, and then ladle the paste into the pan and fry it into soft pancakes before stuffing the pancakes with fried sugar, sesame, peanuts, pork slices, dried shrimps, shredded radish, onions and garlic and rolling them into small thick pancakes; some people might fry it into a big pancake before putting in all the fillings to turn it into a big thick pancake.

Editor:   Time:2015-09-29
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