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Clothes Drying Festival celebration in Longsheng


Every year, Red Yao tribe in Longji rice terraces area welcome their annual Shaiyi (Clothes Drying) Festival on the sixth day of the sixth month on the Chinese lunar calendar. The festival has been observed for centuries in a vibrant celebration for one day each year. The date varies from year to year; and in 2015, Clothes Drying Festival falls on July 21th, 2015.

Origin of Clothing Drying Festival

Chinese people believe that the sunlight on the Lunar June 6 Day has the strongest power to disinfect clothes. Clothes drying under the blazing sun won't get moldy and avoid from insects. And even, the legend goes that the Dragon King - the ruler of water - spent the day drying its scales. Tradition has it that clothes are laid out to expose in the sunshine, in order to exterminate bacterium and get rid of the ill-fortune.

Festival Celebration
The Red Yao tribe is a branch of the Yao ethnic group, and have been named "Hong Yao" for their red clothing. Shaiyi festival is an extremely important occasion for the local people, only after the Lunar New Year. That day, Hongyao ladies take their clothes out and hang them out on the balcony. Rows of red blouses, black skirts, delicate sashes and belts, and hand-embroidered silk scarves are on display. Their traditional costumes, which mainly feature flower patterns in red, form a unique but beautiful scene.

What's more, the married-off daughters and matrilocal sons go back their parents home for family reunion. On this occasion, Zongzi (sticky rice dumpling wrapped by the reed/bamboo leaves) is to be made and served as the festive food.

Hongyao people have turned Shaiyi Festival into a signature tourist program. There are traditional sports and performances showcased. The schedule includes a welcome ceremony, commemoration of ancestors, showing spinning/weaving/embroidering skills, group wedding, and distinctive Yao medicated bath.

In the evening, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, the celebration reaches its climax. Yao people light up a thousand torches by the terraced fields, and fireworks are set off under the starry sky.

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