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Folk Customs

China.org.cn, April 21, 2015
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Hunan's traditional culture sector has also expanded rapidly along with fast economic growth. The province is making its own unique mark on the map of the nation's cultural centers with an emphasis on traditional arts and crafts.

Hunan Huagu Opera

Hunan Huagu Opera is the general name for several genres of local opera in Hunan Province, such as Changsha Huaguxi, Hengyang Huaguxi and Shaoyang Huaguxi, which are all named for the regions where they are prevalent. Each opera has its own distinctive style.

Derived from Hunan folk songs, Huagu Opera has developed from a two-role drama (a female and a clown) to a three-role drama (a young female, a young male and a clown). There are more than 400 traditional plays and 300 tunes in its repertoire.

These tunes can be classified into four types according to their formal structure and musical style: Chuan Diao, Daluoqiang, Paizi and Xiaodiao, all of which have a simple and straightforward local flavor. Small suona and percussion instruments are the main accompanying instruments. The tunes are brisk and lively and are particularly suited to operas involving dancing and singing. The roles of the female lead, the young male lead and the clown all have their own distinctive artistic characteristics. There are more than 210 traditional plays for Huagu Opera, of which "Liuhai Cuts Firewood" and "Kite Flying" have won prizes at the national level. Influential plays created for Huangu Opera during the 1950s include "Sister and Sisters-in-Law" and "Father Luosi Buying an Ox." During the 1980s, more than 100 Huagu Opera plays won prizes.

The most famous Huagu Opera plays are "Liuhai Kan Qiao (Liuhai Cuts Firewood)," "Da Tie (Striking Iron)" and "Xi Caixin (Washing Leaves)." The genre's most famous performers are Liao Chunshan, Wang Yousheng and Zhang Shusheng.

Lusheng Pipe Festival

The Lusheng Pipe Festival is one of the major traditional festivals of the Dong ethnic group in Hunan Province. On the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, local residents go out to dance, sing and play the lusheng, a reed-pipe wind instrument particular to the Miao, Yao and Dong ethnic groups.

Song Festival

This traditional festival of the Miao ethnic group falls on the 14th day of the seventh lunar month. On this day, young men and women of the Miao people gather at Yanwan in Dabaozi Township to sing songs to express their pursuit of freedom and happy marriage.

Girls' Festival

People of the Miao and Yao ethnic groups in Suining and Chengbu hold the Girls' Festival in memory of their ancestors on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month. On this day, every family has a meal of steamed wu rice or wu glutinous rice.

Dongting Fishing Light Festival

This festival is held in the city of Yuanjiang by the shores of Dongting Lake. During the festival the vast surface of Dongting Lake is covered by reeds, and the lights on the fishing boats that cover the lake glisten as the air reverberates with the songs of fishermen.

King Pan Festival

King Pan Festival, the most holy and magnificent festival of the Yao people, is celebrated for seven days and seven nights or for five days and five nights starting on the 16th day of the 11th lunar month. In addition to solemn ceremonies, recreational activities such as poetry recitations, singing, dancing, talking and singing competitions are also held during the festival.

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