Ethnic performance nourishes soul, life in southwest China

(Xinhua) 09:49, February 08, 2024

GUIYANG, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- A village gala was held ahead of the Spring Festival in Rongjiang County, southwest China's Guizhou Province, as a choir sang the grand song of the Dong ethnic group.

The grand song of the Dong ethnic group boasts a rich history as a unique form of a folk chorus, and is characterized by the lack of a conductor, accompaniment, as well as its reliance on natural harmonies.

Coming from several neighboring counties, the choristers, dressed in traditional Dong ethnic costumes, convened to celebrate the Year of the Dragon, brightening the local lively festive atmosphere.

"Performing the grand song here is a very rare opportunity to present and promote the Dong culture," said Pan Renhua, from Congjiang County.

The Grand Song of the Dong ethnic group perfectly exemplified the spirit of their culture, as a popular local saying goes, "rice nourishes the body and songs nourish the soul."

In recognition of its cultural significance, the United Nations inscribed the grand song into the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

Centered on the theme of rural culture, the gala is one of the "Village Night" serial activities, the local version of the Spring Festival Gala. Drawing more than 2,300 participants, the protagonists of the gala are local residents, including students, vendors, peasants and village cadres.

"These ethnic songs and dances, which originate from daily life, show the wisdom of ethnic people's worship of nature, as well as the vitality of ethnic culture and the deep-rooted grassroots spirits in this land," said Huang Xiaodi, a social media influencer who is obsessed with ethnic culture.

The popular "Village Night" was organized after the renowned Village Super League (Cun Chao) became a hit on social media platforms worldwide, attracting flocks of tourists and triggering great consumption demands in the local villages.

According to data provided by the Village Super League Office of Rongjiang County, since the Village Super League 2023 went viral online, Rongjiang has received more than 7.33 million tourists and raked in a total tourism revenue of over 8.1 billion yuan (about 1.1 billion U.S. dollars). During this year's "Village Night", Rongjiang attracted more than 30,000 audiences to watch its grand celebration.

Ma Shuqin, 28, is a cheerleader for a local village football team. At "Village Night", she also performed a Miao ethnic dance, with the hope that such activities can draw more youngsters to pass on traditional cultural heritages in rural areas.

This year, as part of the Spring Festival theme activities sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, over 90 Village Nights will be held across the country during this year's Spring Festival celebration.

"The simple natural performances of local villagers are exactly what the charm of the 'Village Night' is. It gives such a strong nostalgic vibe and allow more people to see the new look of our beautiful countryside," wrote a netizen on China's popular social media Sina Weibo.

The increasing popularity of "Village Night" demonstrates the Chinese people's constant pursuit of a higher level of spiritual needs, noted Xu Feng, director of the think tank office of the Guizhou Academy of Social Sciences.

Xu added that holding the "Village Night" is not only a "cultural feast" for the villagers, but also an important measure to promote China's rural revitalization.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


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