Miao gather to celebrate the sounds of their culture
Children dance to the sound of lusheng music at the festival. [Photo provided by Li Xianbo]
The lusheng is a bamboo reed-pipe instrument so integral and intertwined with Miao ethnic culture that it is impossible to separate them.
Its musical origins stretch back to the time of the Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220–280), and even today a skilled lusheng player garners great respect from Miao people.
And so on Feb 17, thousands of Miao people gathered in the city of Kaili in Guizhou province, to celebrate the final day of the Gannanxiang Lusheng Festival in style – dancing and singing in harmony with the unmistakable sound of their culture, their past, their future to come.
The festival itself dates back some 400 years, being held from the 16th to 20th days of the first month of the lunar year. Miao gather to pray for good fortune, favorable weather, and healthy harvests in the year to come. It is also a time for young Miao men and women to play the game of love, and seek out their soul mate in the hope of starting a family.