Most festivals are celebrated the same manner by the
Maonan as the
Zhuang and the Han Chinese, with the
exception of a few which have Maonan characteristics.
Among the festivals are the Chinese New Year, the Dragon
Boat Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Double Nine
Festival, to name only a few.
The most important festival for the Maonan is what is
called theFenlongjie (Festival of Dividing the
Dragons) in Chinese, ormiu in Maonan, literally
'(festival of) the temple' .
It falls on the first Day
of the Dragon after the Summer Solstice (21 June in an
ordinary year, 22
June in a leap year). According to a
number of researchers, 'Dividing the Dragons' means to ask the local deity (Yu Huang Da Di) to 'divide' or
allocate even numbers of dragons to the Maonan area,
with the belief that the amount of rainfall will depend
on the number of dragons: too many or too few can cause
flood or drought.
During the festival, there are many activities. The most
important one is the ritual to offer sacrifice to the
Temple of Gongsamgai ('Lord (of the) Three Kingdoms'),
or Sanjiegong in Chinese, an immortal and a worship icon
of the Maonan people. The immortal Gongsamgai is alleged
brought production techniques and luck to the Maonan
area. The Festival lasts for three days. The first day
is presided over by the religious masters in the Temple
of Gongsamgai where a series of religious ceremonies are
carried out. An ox is sacrificed before the temple. The
ox is killed with a big nail hammering into the ox's
head on the second day of the festival. There used to be
many religious performances in the courtyard and inside
the temple. The activities are calledvaemiuin Maonan,
literally 'do temple'. Activities of this kind have gone
out of practice since the 1920s (Meng 1999: 23). I
happened to be in huljok (the Sixth Market) to witness
the miu there
29 and 30 June, 2004. On 29 June, thousands of people
flocked into the sports ground of Xianan High School to
watch traditional performances by religious masters.
There were also some performances by amateur actors from
among local high school students (see picture, courtesy of Mr Qin Zikun). There was a bull
contest among the performances. A dozen buffaloes were led onto the stage one by
one. The members of the panel of judges scored the
buffalos according to their fleshiness and overall
confirmation. The prize winner received several dozen
Chinese yuan prize money. On the last day, every family
offered sacrifices to their ancestors at home.