Combing Rice Seedling Festival in Longsheng

2015-06-02Life in Guilin

Longsheng County in Guilin is well-known for marvelous terraced rice fields and rich cultures of ethnic minorities. Due to the mountainous terrain, people in Longji Rice Terraces, the most beautiful and famous scenic area in Longsheng, mainly make living from farming and tourism. Locals respect the land they living by and generally express their deep reverence through various activities, many festivals are consequently celebrated in the area throughout a year.

Combing Rice Seedling Festival is one among these colorful activities. As a traditional folk festival in Longji (Dragon’s Backbone) Rice Terraces scenic area, it is held around the Grain in Ear (one of the 24 solar terms) every year. This year it falls on June 6. When thunder and rain sweep the paddy fields in Longsheng, local peasants pick up an auspicious day and led by the village head, sacrifice and pray with bamboo torches at the side of fields.

Below is the detailed activity flow on that red-letter day:

Time: 10:00—10:30
Place: Village gate near the Wind & Rain Bridge
Activities: Locals play the suona horns to welcome visitors while females in the village sing songs gaily and propose toasts to the tourists from afar.

Time: 10:40—11:00
Place: Altar in the “Seven Stars around the Moon” Scenic Spot
Activities: Villagers have the straw men standing in the fields to sacrifice the Seedling Mother (the patron saint of rice seedlings). Worshipers sound the bugle, play the drum, and comb the rice seedlings before transplant them. The seedling comb is said to be left by Seedling Mother, by using which the rice seedlings can grow well and drive injurious insects away. In the meantime, people pray for good weather and harvest of the year.

Time: 11:00—12:00
Place: The “Seven Stars around the Moon” Scenic Spot
Activities: After the sacrifice ceremony, all villagers will work together in the terraced fields and a live folk custom scroll painting opens--people shouldering seedlings and fertilizers, leading cattle, carrying ploughs and harrows, and walking on the stone-paved winding roads to the fields...

Time: 12:30—15:00
Place: A local family close to the village gate
Activities: June 6th is an auspicious day so it is chosen as the wedding day by a pair of lovers in Ping’an Village. A grand wedding based on the customs of Zhuang ethnic group will be held on that day. Holding red umbrellas, the bride’s female relatives will dress almost the same as her, when they go through the village, passers-by would whisper and guess which is the bride.

Time: 12:30—15:00
Place: The bridegroom’s home close to the village gate
Activities: Bridesmaid will throw an embroidered ball in a stilt style wooden house when the bride’s accompanying group having a rest on the way to the bridegroom's home. People who catch the ball will be endowed with good luck.

Time: 15:00—17:00
Place: The “Nine Dragons & Five Tigers” Scenic Spot
Activities: Villagers and tourists roll up trousers and take off shoes one after another to catch eels in the fields.

Time: 19:00—21:00
Place: The “Seven Stars around the Moon” Scenic Spot
Activities: When night falls, according to local customs, girl will carry a torch to the fields of her betrothed husband’ family to help with transplanting work, in return her sweetheart will give her a carved seedling comb. Torches are lit gradually in the village, and people carry the flaming torches walking on the field ridges to form a beautiful brocade. Fireworks are set off over the terraced fields, how spectacular the scene is!

Time: 20:30—22:00
Place: Primary School of Ping’an Village
Activities: Original song & dance party begins, enthusiastic and hospitable villagers dress up in holiday arrays and dance with guests from afar. People are sunk in the world of songs and dances, putting the hustle and bustle life behind.

People sow in spring and expect a bumper harvest in golden autumn…

--By Sophy (VisitOurChina)