Main festivals of the Mulao

 

Around the year the Mulao have a social and ritual cycle whose main moments are the following festivals.

The Ox's Birthday Festival
On the 8th of the fourth lunar month.
They pray to the God of the Oxen. The oxen are very important for the economic life of the Mulao. This day the oxen are thanked for their work during the year. This day the oxen allowed to rest, and are fed with glutinous rice.

Huapo Festival
On 3rd day of the third lunar month. Huapo (The Lady of the Flowers) is for the Mulao the goddess that governs the births. They think that human beings are the flowers of her garden. If a couple has children, they consider they are flowers who Huapo gives to them. Before the temple of Huapo they offer a pig to the goddess. Then, the head of the village tells Huapo the situation of every family, and asks her to protect all the children. In this day the couples that have had children during the last year, distribute red eggs to the people.

Dragon Boats Festival
On May 5th of the lunar year. While in many places dragon boat races are celebrated this day, the Mulao make only a paper ship that is placed in the fields. Then a shaman sings enchantments to expel the insects, and ask the gods to help them to have a good crop.

Eating Insects Festival
On June 2nd of the lunar year. This day all the people living in a village meet before the Altar of Eating Insects. They sing and dance, and then they celebrate a banquet in which all the dishes are the insects that each family has cooked.
This festival commemorates a woman called Jia Nang, who, according to their legends, wanted to visit her relatives but, having no money to buy a gift, cooked some insects that her son had caught. All found them tasty, and they rushed to the fields to catch insects to eat. That year the crop was very good. From then on, every year Mulao people go to the fields to catch insects for this festival.

Climb Mountains Festival
It celebrates twice every year: Around Spring Festival the first time and Middle Autumn Festival the second.
Girls and boys dressed with their best clothes climb mountains to sing antiphonal songs. They sing love songs that serve to express their feelings. Through the songs they try to arrange future appointments with the loved ones. If she agrees or disagrees, must tell him also singing.

Yafan Festival
It means peace and prosperity. It celebrates every three years, at the beginning of the winter. Pigs and goats are sacrificed in the temples. The old men tell again the ancient legends about the ancestors of the Mulao. Some operas are played. There are also people performing the Lion Dance and Dragon Dance.

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