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Hani people celebrate traditional New Year

Updated: Nov 20,2015 9:40 AM

It’s New Year for the Hani ethnic group, whose Rice Terraces adorn the landscape of Southwestern China’s Yunnan province. It’s a time of singing, banqueting, and rice wine.

In the morning, each family brings 3 cups of wine, 3 bowls of water, and 3 pieces of glutinous rice cakes named “Tuanyuan”, which literally means “union”, to the head of the village. These tributes are part of ancestor-worship.

Meanwhile, blood ties are strengthened by offering meat to the seniors of their clan. Villagers in traditional clothes visit each other; folk singers stage wonderful performances.

The festival highlight, though, is the Long Table Banquet, also known as the Long Street Banquet or Long Dragon Banquet.

Tables are laid out in the street, end to end, which can extend up to a kilometer. Families compete to bring the most sumptuous dishes to the table, such as deep-fried fish, pickled vegetables, and fried bamboo shoots.

But Hani New Year is not an exclusive party. Gorgeous Hani ladies in exquisite traditional costumes, adorned with silver ornaments, line up at village entrances, rice wine in hands, to greet visitors.

The welcoming spirit, in a bamboo tube, emits a pleasant aroma and symbolizes hospitality.

“The people here are very nice, and the food is absolutely delicious. We are really happy to be here,” said a woman.

“I like their culture, their traditional costumes. I also like the music and dance. It’s very beautiful,” said a man.

The Hani celebrate their New Year, or “Tenth Month Festival”, on the first Dragon Day of the 10th lunar month. It lasts from five to six days, and even as long as half a month.