The Largest Habitation of Miao People in China
In today's video, I was at the largest habitation of Miao people, a minority ethnic group in China. The name of the town suggests there are thousands of household in this town. In the video you'll see the dance, the dress, the village, the tradition, and the origin of Miao people. I'll also show you the traditional residence in the mountainous region in southwest China named diaojiaolou, a type of house built on stilts. This region is very attracted to foreign travelers because there are many minority ethnic villages here.
I'll make a series of videos in this region and the first stop Xijiang is here. Hi guys, good morning Do you like the view here I am in Xijiang, a town whose majority population is Miao People It’s in the east of Guizhou Province Miao People is one of the 56 ethnic groups in China The majority of them live in southwest China I'll take you exploring this town after I finish my breakfast Can you guys hear the music? Today is their New Year's Day although it's only November it's the New Year's Day for Miao people let's see how they celebrate the New Year Hello I am Yanyan in case you guys don't recognize me I am wearing the traditional dress that Miao People wear I really want to dance the traditional Miao dance for you but I don't know how There is a stream in the valley. This wooden path over the stream is a good place to take photos.
But it's not the only way to cross the stream. There are 7 bridges like this one connecting both sides of the river And they call it wind rain bridge The bridge is made of wood. There are benches on both sides of the bridge. When it's raining and windy, it could provide shelter for people. That's the reason behind its name.
When the sun gets out of the cloud, the scene outside is like a picture. The bridges are numbered. People use them as reference to indicate locations in the town. Local Miao people only dress like this during festivals or weddings. This is how they dress like in everyday life. they put a peony in hair bun in memory of their ancestral home, Luoyang.
Miao people believe they are descendants of Chiyou, who was the leader of one of the three major tribes in the Yellow River Region. Chiyou was defeated by the alliance of the other two leaders. As a result, his tribe had to leave. After five migrations, they finally settled down in this mountainous area in southwest China. Their descendants are Miao People.
Miao people have their own language but have no script. Their origin and history were passed on in folk songs and tales. There are dozens of villages in Xijiang. This is the entrance of Yedong Village, the earliest village here That's go inside.
To be precise, there are 18 villages in this town. The reason I chose Yedong village is because there are many old houses in this village where you can see the original status of a Miao village as much as possible. The village is built along the slope of the hill, which means the tour involved going up steps like this all the way.
It's not easy to go up the stairs I thought it's gonna be very crowed today because it's their new year. But actually it's very empty. Villagers all went to the capital of their county to celebrate the new year. This is a new trend in China. Villagers start buying commercial apartments in the center of their county or even in cities so their children could get better education. This phenomena contributed to another strong wave of urbanization in China.
It seems like where the music was from in the morning. These people just slaughtered a pig and they are cooking it to celebrate the New Year. it's their tradition After going up these steps, I arrived at an important place in the town.
On top of the mountain is the house of Guzangtou. Guzangtou is the leader of this town you can sort of think it as the king but there's no king now it's just the leader of the Miao people in this area Guzangtou is a title that is similar to a tribe leader. Tourists call Guzangtou the Miao King.
In Xijiang, the title Guzangtou is hereditary. the Tang clan has assumed this title for 800 years. now it's just a nominal role. Other than leading the sacrifice worship ceremonies during Guzang Festival, Guzangtou does not have any actual power.
Nor does government give him any stipend. This is the older brother of Guzangtou. Contrary to other hereditary title that is usually inherited by the oldest son in the family, Guzangtou is inherited by the youngest son.
His youngest brother inherited the title in 1992 at the age of 22. As you can see, these tourists were very interested in his family and asked him questions non-stop. He told us the local (Communist) Party leader is coming for New Year lunch, otherwise he would invite us to eat together. This is the photo of Guzangtou.
ladies and gentlemen, he is about to debut. See if you can find him. It's him.
Looks like an uncle living next door. I think the other one in the picture is the local (Communist) Party leader. He also looks like an uncle living next door. He is visiting Guzangtou and Tang family on New Year's Day. Mutual respect.
That's the key point in ethnic minority inhabited area. Although having no actual power, Guzangtou is respected by villagers here. When there's a dispute among villagers, they might go to Guzangtou to resolve it instead of going to court. Guzangtou's occupation is a doctor of traditional Miao medicine.
He has a clinic and a Miao herbal medicine store in this house. This is the house next to guzangtou's. Although I couldn't get into Guzhangtou's house, I tried to get into this one.
And the view is spectacular here. I'll take you guys to take a look. This is the house of Guzangtou that I just showed you.
Let's take a peek. There is indeed a banquet going on. Guzangtou does have the best spot in town.
In the cluster of houses, there is an arena. That's the location for performance. During festivals, villagers sing and dance in that arena. Walking ahead from Guzangtou's house, I arrived at Huolutou's house.
Huolutou is the leader of farm work. In the past, during Spring Ploughing Festival in March of lunar calendar, Huolutou would initiate the ploughing and instruct villagers knowledge and taboos. He would also lead the worship ceremonies to pray for favorable weathers. The title Huolutou is exclusive to the Jiang Clan in Xijiang and it's also hereditary. But it's inherited by the oldest son. From Huolutou's house, most people choose to go back down to the valley but I decided to make a detour and go further up to visit another place.
As the sculptures hinted, it's the place for dating. Each year on the third day of March in lunar calendar, young men and women from the villages would gather here to sing in antiphonal for seeking a spouse. This house behind me is an old house. It has more than 100 years history and this is the typical house in this area.
The house is half on ground, half on stilts. The reason is that on the slope of the hill, the space is very limited. If it's completely built on ground, this house would be only half size. In order to have larger space, the house is extended outside the ground and is supported by stilts. This one next to it is the same.
Half on ground, half on stilts. This kind of house is called Diaojiaolou in Mandarin. It's a typical residence in the mountainous areas in southwest China. It's especially common in ethnic minority inhabited areas. Almost all houses in this town are built on stilts.
With this kind of design, layers and layers of houses are built on the slope of the hill. Some of them even have several floors. And that's the reason why the house of guzangtou looks quite small on this side but is actually a three-floor house. Living in mountainous areas, Miao people made the slope of the hill into terrace.
Let's take a break here. The terrace, the house, the trail, the view is good. This trail leads to the arena which we saw earlier in the hill. There is an arena like this in every Miao village. It's where people sing and dance during festivals. In this arena, there's a performance everyday for tourists.
The music is from reed-pipe, a musical instrument that's made from reed. It's the one in the male performers hands. Miao people named their performance center Reed-pipe arena.
When night falls, the town feels totally different. Bars and restaurant by the river opened. Music is loud. Food on the street made me hungry.
I already made a reservation for a traditional Miao dinner. But before that, let me take a picture in front of this pair of wings. This is the dinner and it's called Long Table Banquet. During festivals, Miao people would combine tables together to make a very long table.
The wind rain bridge is especially beautiful at night. Can you hear the firework? Happy New Year in November! In my next video, I'll take you to another minority ethnic town in this area. You'll get to know another minority ethnic group in China, the Dong people. I'll tell you about their culture centered around the drum tower and you'll see a larger terrace. A Norwegian was once memorized by this terrace as well as this small Dong village and an ecological museum was established as a result. I am Yanyan.
I make videos about sights of interest in China and histories and stories behind them. Subscribe to my channel. I'll see you next time.