The Guzang Festival, during which the Miao ethnic minority people commemorate their ancestors once every 13 years, is one of the biggest traditional festivals for the Miao ethnic minority people. “Gu” literally means “drum”, and “zang” means “to bury”. The complicated rites which take three years to complete consist of a series of great ceremonies, including the Zhaolong (inviting the dragon), Xinggu (awakening the drum), Yinggu (welcoming the drum), Shenniu (inspecting the cattle), and the white drum ritual, which is a significant sacrifice marking the end of the festival. The Miao believe wooden drums made of maple trees are where their ancestors' souls rest, so they gather under the holy maple and communicate with their ancestors through drumming and dancing, local media reported. – Photos by Reuters
The ancient Miao songs also suggest their ancestors established the Guzang Festival to sacrifice to the Mother Butterfly, who created the world. Legend has it that Mother Butterfly was born out of a maple tree.
"Gu" literally means "drum", and "zang" means "to bury". Hence, "guzang" means "to bury the drum".
The Guzang Festival is also known as Gushe Festival, indicating the drum-burying activities often took place in communities of kindred clans named "Gushe".
The festival reflects the Miao's social values. These include ancestor worship, harmonious community, hard work, austerity, peace and happiness.
The Miao believe wooden drums made of maple trees are where their ancestors' souls rest.
Different villages host the festival every 12 years in a 13-year cycle.
The celebration lasts about four days, and has a different theme ritual every year.
According to ancient Miao songs, the festival was celebrated by early Miao clans in the Xia Dynasty (c.21st century-16th century BC)