Xiangdu Shuangjiang Festival

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October 23rd 2013
Published: October 25th 2013
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Shuangjiang is one of the 24 solar term represented different climate in a year. indicated that Autumn is over and Winter is right at the doorstep. Shuangjiang mean the "first frost", from this day on...temperature begin to fall, in some region might even get frost phenomenon. The only celebration I could find that related to Shuangjiang is in Xialei and Tiandeng county, both are inside Xiongzuo district. reading from old record, the festival in Xialei are far bigger with parade and ceremony, but heard nowaday it became just a big trading market and skipped the rest of other ritual. Although it will be the same market scene happen in Tiandeng County, but they still kept their tradition event "duige" the singing contest. So I find myself in this dense krast hill region, the whole Tiandeng county are breed with krast formation landscape, all towns and villages are built within those bullet shape rock hill, I find it quite pretty. The festival was held in Xiangdu village about 40km from Tiandeng. The day started with a ceremony in the 400 year old Wanfusi Temple, it was crafted out from the rock surface of the krast hill, couple of cave inside and offered great view from the top. On this Shuangjiang day people came to pay their respect to the deity for a good crops season and hoping for a blessing for the coming year. people organised lion and dragon dance infront of the temple and then parade back through the village streets. Inside the temple there will be priest stationed, chanting and guide pilgrims all through the day to praised the deity and accepted offering. Right in the center of Xiangdu surrounded by traders and vendors is the old opera stage dated back to the Qing dynasty about 300 ago. where "duige" was ready and audiences crowded the space in front. in the old day, duige are for youngster matching their date, on Shuangjiang day, girls came with a shoulder bag carry a mirror, a comb and a pair of handmade cotton shoe. "in the street, boy on one side while girls sit on the other side" an old man told me in retrospected, during the back and fore singing, when a girls fancy a boy and she will gave her the cotton shoe."then they will go somewhere to developed their relationship and get marry very soon afterward" the man kept on with a happy face that reflected sweet memories. The festival never stop even during culture revolution period, " only one item added...a torch" he said, because youngsters need to came out after dark for the event! Only until 1979 that the festival went down, because many boy came will a bad intention, boys just wanted to have fun, chasing one girl after the others. soon...girls not show up anymore in this festival as the event wasn't what they looking for. and with times change...people not appreciate this duige tradition as everyone listen to popular music. that's why you will only see old people came to duige nowaday. Xiangjiang would last for 3 market date within 9 days period. it was one of the important day for the relatives and friends gathering, big feast presented for any guests. An local teacher invited me for the meal-round! we walked into 5 different families living room to eat and...of course...drinks!

I spend an extra relaxing day to explored the area around the krast hills, and I find a small site with some cliff paintings, the little black figures drawn on the surface of a small cave, no idea was it ancient or new, more worse was new drawing by kids added on the surface. but local old man said even their father had seen this paintings when they were kid, so...it should be something old I guess.

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