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Folk Customs of the Southwest

Lhasa Parkhor Street

In the center of the old district of Lhasa, Parkhor Street has kept its ancient traditional appearance. Buddhist believers, prayer wheels in hand, walk around Jokhong Monastery on the street, which is often full of pilgrims . Parkhor Steet is lined with many busy shops, which sell a great variety of local arts and crafts, such as prayer wheels, Tibetan incense, Tibetan knives, rings, earrings, bracelets, and Tibetan costumes.

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Norbo Lingka

Norbu Lingka, in the western suburbs of Lhasa , means Treasure Garden in Tibetan. It was first built in the 1740s, during the time of the 7th Dalai Lama . It was later expanded and became the summer resort of the Dalai Lama, who came here to administrate political affairs and hold religious ceremonies from the 4th to 9th month of the Tibetan Calendar. The whole structure occupies an area of 360,000 square meters. It features a combination of Tibetan and Han architectural styles, with carved beams and painted pillars.

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Guiyang Hongfeng Lake of the Dong

Hongfeng Lake, with an area of 57.2 square kilometers, is at the border of Qingzhen and Pingba counties. The lake consists of many small lakes, such as North Lake, South Lake and Rear Lake. It forms a picturesque scenery with the mountains and valleys around it. The lake is dotted with 192 islands and peninsulas, the most beautiful being the North Lake Island, South Lake Island and Rear Lake Island . On the central island stands a Dong village. Young men and women put on regular song and dance performance for tourists. Climbing the knife ladder is a breath-taking performance.

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Heitu Miao Village

Between Hongfeng Lake and Baihua Lake , the village is inhabited by 62 Miao households, by the names of Cheng and Chen.

Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by all the villagers dressed in their holiday best. They sing welcome songs accompanied by reed pipes, vertical flutes and suona horns . Two elderly men of the village lead the crowd and present guests with rice wine in ox horns . When everyone gets into the village, young people perform the happy Miao wedding ceremony and visitors are treated to various local delicacies.

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Kaili Dong and Miao Village

Kaili, capital of the Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture in southeastern Guizhou, is mainly inhabited by the Miao and Dong people. Most Miaos live in stilted houses, built on mountain slopes. They like sour food and are good drinkers. Every family brews wine and are very hospitable to visitors.

Dong villages are often built close to mountains and rivers . Typical Dong architecture features drum towers, temples, pavilions, and wind-and-rain bridges. The Dong people also live in stilted two-or three-story houses, built of wood with tile or bark roof. The family members live on the first and second floors. Odds and ends are kept on the ground floor.

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Anshun Opera

Anshun opera dates back to the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, or 600 Years ago. It is usually put on during the Chinese Spring Festival (in February). Actors and actresses wear masks and colorful banners on the back. High-pitched singing is accompanied by gongs and drums. The stage may be a village square or a drying ground on the roadside . This ancient and simple performance is known far and wide as the living fossil of Anshun.

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Spring Celebration of the Miao

From the 9th to the 15th day of the first lunar month, Miao people of Gaopo and Duxi, both in the suburbs of Guiyang, put on their holiday best to gather on a large open space. They sing, dance and perform various traditional rituals to pray for good harvest and happiness in the coming year. Such gatherings also attract many spectators from neighboring areas.

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Kunming Haigeng Folk Culture Village

Built within the circumference of Kunming South Dianchi Lake National Holiday Resort, the village is decorated with a variety of trees and flowers. It features replicas of the folk cultures of the 25 enthnic minorities living in Yunnan. All the buildings are of life-size. Already completed are the villages of the Dai, Bai, Yi, Naxi, Wa, Jinuo. Bulang and Lahu .In addition to appreciating the different architectural styles, visitors can also get to know the customs of different ethnic groups and enjoy local song and dance perfomance. If interested, they can participate in water splashing festival of the Dai and torch festival of the Yi.

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Guilin Cruise the Li River at Night

The Li River in Guilin is famous at home and abroad for its clear water and the beautiful scenary along its banks. To cruise the Li River at night is of special interest to tourists. The boat starts from Guilin and arrives at Yangshuo. On the way one enjoys the extraordinary silhuouette of mountains, the reflection of the moon and stars on the river, the boat lamps and the countless lights on the banks . At Li River Folk Culture Park at the foot of Fubo Hill, tourists are entertained with ethnic perfomance full of local ethnic customs and flavors. The park, in ethnic architectural styles, was built by Guilin Mountain and River Tourism Development Company. It includes cottages, drum towers and wind-and-rain bridges of the Miao,Yao, Dong and Zhuang people. Arts and crafts feature totem pillars, facial masks and painted walls. While enjoying ethnic song and dance at the hall or the art square, guests are served with various local snacks. The copper-drum performance of the Zhuang and reed-pipe dance of the Miao are unrestrained and impressive with their primitive flavors. The spectators are always welcome to join the dancing . At the enthnic recreational ground, various activities are held including calligraphy, carving, paper making, liquor distillation and pottery making.

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Liuzhou Miao Customs of Rongshui County

Rongshui Miao Autonomous County attracts visitors with its charming natural scenery. The clear Bei River flows all the year round and the bamboo on the banks are green in four seasons. Changlai Miao Village, on the Bei River bank and 10 kilometers from the county seat, features Miao dance and reed-pipe tunes . The villagers always entertain their guests with unique local foods.

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Wuzhou Yao Customs in Zhongshan and Fuchuan Counties

Zhongshan and Fuchuan counties, some 50 kilometers from Nanning, capital of Guangxi, are inhabited by the Yao people. The landscape varies from hills to karst and basins. The local Yaos have kept their own work, living habits, language and costumes. Scenic spots include ancient road of the Qin, carved rocks of the Ming and Qing, Small Zhongshan Hill, tombs of the Han and ruins of ancient Fuchuan.

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Famous Moutiain City

Chongqing is a famous mountain city for its location on the Gaofu Peninsula . All buildings stand on mountain slopes. Standing on top of Pipa Hill the highest point of the city, one enjoys a bird's eye view of the whole city, which is especially enchanting at night. With the dark sky as background, the Chongqing Bridge over the Yangtze resembles a colorful rainbow and the cars running on the bridge are like flying meteors. Tourist attractions also include Chongging Museum, North Hot Spring Park, Jinyun Mountain and Dazu Stone carvings. Among the many local foods of Chongqing, most famous is hot pot. The people of Chongqing are warm, honest and hospitable.

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Chengdu Teahouses in Chengdu

Tea to the Chinese is like coffee to Westerners. Chengdu people like to have tea at a public teahouse. On holidays or after work, they often go to a teahouse with relatives or friends, where they exchange local gossip, negotiate business or whatever topics of their interest. One can actually hear a lot of local news at a teahouse. Therefore it is a good place for visitors to learn about the local people and their daily concerns. Teahouses have a long history in Chengdu. They are numerous and of different styles. The tea set is unique, consisting of three parts; the lid, the bowl and the saucer. Water is served from a copper kettle by skillful assistants, who fill the small bowls, at a considerable distance, right to the brim without splashing a drop.

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Liangshan Yi Customs

Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan is the largest of its kind in China. More than 1 million Yi people live in this mountainous area. The Yis have a colorful culture and unique customs. Young women usually wear an embroidered hat shaped like a cockscomb.Men wear a black embroidered jacket with narrow sleeves and loose trousers. The men also keep a small strand of hair on top of their head. Everyone wears a felt cloak on the back. At wedding , the groom carries his bride on his back to their new home, where relatives and friends poke fun at the newlyweds. Torch festival of the Yi is a very interesting event.

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Lugu Lake

Lugu Lake in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture is 170 kilometers from Liangshan County seat. It is 2,660 meters above sea level and has a surface of 72 square kilometers. The Mosuo people living in the lake area still keep their ancient marriage practice. When a young man reaches the age of marriage , he goes to his lover's home at night, but stays at his own home during daytime. The children live with their mother. Both sides are free to change partners. The mother arranges work for and distributes income among family members. Their houses are built of logs. On the 15th of March, April and July the Mosuo people hold special ceremonies at Lugu Lake to worship the mountain and sea gods. Those are ideal occasions for young people to look for lovers.

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Dayi County Dayi Mansion Cultrue

Dayi is famous for the mansion of Liu Wencai, which is one kilometer east of Anren Town. It is a typical mansion of a feudal landlord. With a total area of 58,000 square meters, the mansion is composed of two parts. The old section, built in 1931, has 27 courtyards, some 180 rooms , three gardens and seven big gates. The new section, built in 1938, is 300 meters from the old compound. In total there are three courtyards and 170 rooms. The outer part has a warehouse and tennis court; the inner part has gardens and decorations in both Chinese and Western styles. The mansion became a public museum in 1958 . On display are 2,700 cultural relics, including ivory balls, blue porcelain vases of the Song Dynasty, chime kettles from Japan, and paintings and calligraphy by famous artists.

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  Information provided by China National Tourism Administration.


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