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History and Culture Background
Special> Aftermath of the Quake> Timeless Qiang Culture> History and Culture Background
UPDATED: July 14, 2008 Web Exclusive
The Other Qiang Traditional Festivals
In addition to festivals and celebrations, the Qiang people worship gods for seeking protection of them on some particular days

Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival of the Qiang people is different from the one celebrated throughout other parts of China. On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, the Qiang people of every age drink some realgar wine, put it around their ears and nose, and spread it in front of the rooms and windows to prevent flies, mosquitoes, insects and snakes, as well as evil influences, from entering their homes. It is also means to seek heavenly protection for their family members.

Everybody able to walk will go to mountains that day to step on dew, as it is believed to be good for the health when people are wet with it. Without sticky rice there, Qiang people don't eat the traditional zongzi that is eaten elsewhere in China during the Dragon Boat Festival. Instead, they have the custom of wearing zongzi-shaped sachets made of Chinese mugwort, calamus, and vanilla, and wrapped in colorful cloth and peels of bamboo shoots, and bound with colorful silk thread.

This is also the day for girls to pierce their lobes for wearing earrings. Qiang women use Chinese pepper as an anesthetic, jab the pepper thorn into ears, and put some realgar wine on ears, then wear the rings for the girls.

Farm Cattle Festival

The celebration is held annually on the first day of the 11th lunar month.

Farm cattle this day have a rest and are fed flour bread, wheat and grass. People put sun and moon-shaped steam bread on the horns of the ox and then let the cattle out freely. Masters of the cattle go to a temple to burn paper, slaughter sheep and chicken to seek the gods' protection for cattle and plead for the gods not to let the cattle suffer from plague.

Regular worships

In addition to festivals and celebrations, the Qiang people worship gods for seeking protection of them on some particular days.

On the third day of the third lunar month, married women worship Goddess Bodhisattva for an offer of a baby and blessing of the child.

On the 12th day of the third lunar month, the stockaded villages will slaughter sheep to plead for blessings from the God of Earth for the grain harvest. That day, visitors are banned from entering the village, and villagers are not allowed to walk along the road in the village, in order to protect sprouts they have sowed.

People offer prayers to Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy, to protect and preserve all the people of the village, on the 19th day of the third, sixth and ninth lunar months, respectively.

(Source: www.gov.cn)

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