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The Song Festival of the Zhuang Nationality

The Zhuang nationality is the aboriginal in the south of China,with over 16 million people residing in Guangxi,the Zhuang is China's largest minority group. One of the outstanding characters of these folks is that almost everyone, the young and the old,men and women,is good at singing. The most famous singer was Liu Sanjie—the legendary Queen of Zhuang folksong. The Zhuang people have developed and maintained their old tradition of meeting friends with songs,selecting the excellent through singing contest,and expressing affection through folksongs for centuries.

The Song Festival falls on March 3rd in Chinese lunar calendar and it's a traditional Zhuang carnival. It's also the most important social event and lover finding moment for the young people of Zhuang. So in some way it can be compared to the Valentine's Day in the West. On this occasion,single young men and women dress in their best and go to the Fair,which is normally on a mountain slope, meadow or in the park. Customarily,the singing contest consists of two camps with boys in one camp and girls in the other. As for the folk melodies,they include several different kinds,such as love songs,cross-questioned songs,pan songs,agricultural songs and ancient songs,among others. Singers often edit and sing songs randomly following the request of the other side. As one song falls,another rises,and the whole spot buzzes with excitement. By singing songs in an antiphonal style,they quickly come to know each other. If the lad and lass find each other congenial,they will exchange keepsakes as a sign of promise.

Besides choosing one's sweetheart through singing,other activities to be held during the festival include recreational self-entertain performance and sport competitions,such as colliding colored eggs,throwing embroidery balls,dancing on a high stilt,land boat performance and cockfighting. There are also unusual art shows such as Zhuang Opera,Shigong Opera and Tea-picking Opera.

Of course March 3 is not the only opportunity for singing in a year;there are other occasions on which the Zhuang can display their singing talents and entertain themselves,such as the song fairs on January 15,April 8 and August 15.