One of the oldest cities in the ancient country, Liuzhou is more than 2100 years old since it was founded in 111 BC as the settlement of Tanzhong. Later known as Longcheng – Dragon City – after the name of the Long river that skirted the city like a dragon, the city got its current name, which translates as ‘place of the willows’ in 1736.
Now the second largest city in the Guangxi region, Liuzhou is home to a myriad of different ethnic minorities which means there are plenty to experience both in the bustling center itself and the beautiful countryside surrounding hills, forbidden peaks and mysterious caves. With a lot hotels near Liuzhoutravelers will be spoiled for choice when exploring this historic city.
San Yue San
After the Han majority group, the largest minority group in Liuzhou is the Zhuang, descendants of the ancient Baiyue people from southern China. The annual celebration of Zhuang – San Yue San – falls on the third day of the third month of the Chinese New Year and attracts tens of thousands of visitors from both China and overseas, much welcomed by everyone.
This event is marked by traditional folk songs and dances with participants wearing traditional costumes and bright colors. The older generation would bring colored rice and eggs to give as gifts.
Yao Folk Dance
Almost as old as Liuzhou itself, the Yao minority traces back 2000 years as well as China, found in Vietnam. The Yao can be recognized by their colorful clothing, often decorated with silver and black or red hoods worn by both men and women.
Over these thousands of years, the Yao people have developed complex and enchanting folk dances that record their local traditions. There are 18 major Yao dances involving melodies, choreography and elaborate props, including the Turtle Catching Dance, the Fairy Dance, the Horse Dance and the Hunt Dance. This can be seen in 16th the tenth lunar day of the Chinese calendar.
Miao Folk Dance
Not to be outdone, the Miao people have their own colorful traditions and costumes. Famous for their handicrafts such as batik, embroidery, brocade and jewelry, traditional Miao clothing is bright and eye-catching. They celebrate with several dance and music festivals throughout the year with the most famous and complex performance being the Lusheng or Reed Pipe dance. However, traditional Miao hospitality means that visitors to their village will be stopped on the street and greeted with songs and offerings of food and drink.
A complex society, the Dong people celebrate nearly two dozen festivals throughout the year. Famous for their singing, traditional Dong choral music has been registered by UNESCO as a unique cultural heritage. Their traditional dress incorporates embroidery, brocade and silver trim to stunning effect.
But it is for their carpentry skills that the Dong are most famous, with their village providing spectacular ornaments. As well as the traditional stilt houses, Dong built a ‘Drum Tower’ which, as the name suggests, is a circular family home rising three or four stories up. A larger tower was built for village gatherings. Dong also built a beautiful covered bridge, known as the ‘Wind and Rain’ bridge.
One last curious tradition in Liuzhou is the casket. An ancient Chinese poem refers to the city as a good place to die. This is less gruesome than it sounds because the area is known for the quality of the coffins, which are made from local sandalwood. Today this tradition is represented by miniature versions sold as good luck charms.
When Jessica travels the world, she stops at many beautiful places that most people don’t think of. He hopes to share the local joy of less traveled locations to ensure people can plan better trips