The Sister Festival is one of the Miao people's is an important and most active festivals. It is held on the 15th day of the third lunar month, and the Miao celebrate it with numerous traditional activities and customs. It's a celebration of love and spring. It was regarded as the oldest "Valentine's Day" of China.
The Sister Festival, held in Taijiang County, Guizhou Province, is the Miao people's busiest time of the year. It is an opportunity for Miao youth living along the middle reaches of the Qingjiang River to choose their dates. During the festival, Miao people eat "Sister Rice", dress up, dance, watch bullfights, compete in a canoeing contest and sing.
The legendary behind this celebration has been told through the minority people's songs. There are two sisters whose son and daughter grow up together and have a sweet childhood friendship. When they grow up, they fall in love with each other. But the girl's parents insist that she should marry her uncle's son (a Miao minority tradition). The girl refuses to do so, and the boy doesn't want to marry another girl.
To avoid being found out that they are still in love, they always meet outdoors. The girl always takes delicious rice with a bamboo basket for her needle and thread.
Finally, the girl's parents are moved and say "yes" to their marriage. In the Miao people's language, a meal that is taken to a lover secretly is called "gad liangl", which means "hidden meal", and was translated to "姊妹饭" (sisters' meals) in Chinese.
On 20 Apr 2016, thousands of women from the Miao ethnicity dressed up for a spectacular parade to mark the Miao Sisters’ Festival in Taijiang city, southwest China’s Guizhou Province. The festival is regarded as the oldest "Valentine's Day" in China, during which various activities will be staged, such as fish catching, horse racing, traditional Miao performances and Lusheng music.
Photos of Miao ethnic group catch fish as part of celebrations of the Miao Sisters Festival. Many young girls of Miao ethnic group attend celebrations of the Miao Sisters Festival at Taijinag County of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province, April 20, 2016. The Miao Sisters Festival, a traditional festival of the Miao ethnic group, was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2006. (Xinhua/Wu Jibin)
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