Miao Dragon Boat Festival

Home Culture 2019-06-05

Miao Dragon Boat Festival

Every year from May 25 to May 27 of the lunar calendar, the Miao people living in Shibing and Taijiang counties of Guizhou Province along the Qingshui River hold this grand gathering. The Dragon Boat Festival has a long history, but because the Miao people have no written records, it is impossible to verify when it really originated.

Historical records

According to Shibing County Chronicle of the Republic of China, it is recorded that "long wooden boats are made of long timber with both ends.

Apply color, ripple heart winding momentum, quite ornamental. Qing Guangxu's "Miao Jiang Wen Yin Lu" said: "Its boat is cut into whole wood, five or six feet long, with a dragon head in front and a phoenix tail in back, which can accommodate twenty or thirty people. Short radial water, walking like flying. The Records of Zhenyuan Prefecture written by Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty recorded: "On May 25, the Miao people also played Dragon Boat Dragon Boat Show. The shape of the Dragon Boat Dragon Boat Show was strange, and the two trees were merged by digging trenches for boats. The boat is very long, about forty-five feet long, and can carry thirty or forty people.

Origin of race

The legend of canoeing is also different. Dragon boat races in most parts of China are recorded by Quyuan, a great patriotic poet; they are also said to commemorate Goujian, the king of Yue, who practiced sailors or Wu Zixu and Cao E; dragon boat races in Yunnan and Fujian are in memory of local heroes; and Dai people are in memory of their ancient heroes. The Miao people's canoe race originated from an ancient myth and legend. According to the Collection of Literature and History Data of Taijiang County compiled by the Taijiang County Committee of CPPCC, it is said that an old fisherman's only son was killed by a dragon in Qingshui River. The old fisherman killed the dragon, and the Miao people in the villages cut the dragon meat and ate it with relish. Then the sky and the earth grew dark. The dragon reported the dream to the Miao people and asked the villagers to sacrifice it by boating. It has been handed down to this day. This shows the unique humanistic spirit of not fearing violence, ghosts and gods, and stubbornly fighting against nature.

For anthropological research, the most valuable part of the canoe is the preservation of a fairly rich and complete traditional track instrument. From the making of dragon boats to the launching of dragon boats every year, the eating of dragon meat before and after the race, there are a series of sacrificial sorcery activities; beside the position of the Dragon Boat shed, small land temples are common; and quite unique is the "Dragon Reception" ceremony of rowing dragon boats to the villages to inform relatives of ducks, geese, pigs and cows: before the race, one dragon boat rowed along the coast in the sound of firecrackers. Wharf, accept gifts and toasts from relatives and relatives whose surnames or villages are married on behalf of this dragon boat. At this time, the athletes will perform fancy boating, and the crowd on the shore to pull up the water spray, moment curtain roll up, full of leisure and entertainment taste.

Miao dragon boat in southeastern Guizhou has a similar form of sports and competition with modern sports activities, and has long been regarded as national sports. However, what kind of physical activity it belongs to, whether it has the purpose and effect of sports, and what position and role it should play in the course of human development need to be studied. The Miao dragon boat in southeastern Guizhou is often recorded in ancient books. It was filmed by foreign film and television organizations half a century ago. In recent years, hundreds of related articles have been published, but the valuable research results are rare. We believe that the canoe dragon boat is a very typical example of China's rich and colorful traditional national sports activities. Through the empirical research of sports anthropology, we can open up a new space.


On the day of the competition, after lunch, the men in the competition were all dressed in dark purple bright cloth and blue cloth trousers, a belt with silver bubbles around their waist, and three horse-tailed hats with silver plates on their heads. There were three or forty people in each dragon boat. Four people were sitting in front of the mother boat: the first one was sitting at the junction between the dragon boat and the Dragon head. The second is the middle-aged old man, with his back to the front, who is responsible for firing guns and making momentum; the third is the respected Zhai elder in Zhai Zhongde, who is the drummer, with his back to the front, wearing a white robe, a black horse clip, a large wide-brimmed hat and drumming.

The fourth one is a 10-year-old boy dressed as a woman sitting in charge of beating gongs. On the boy's side, there is a small faucet, tied up with a black umbrella to shade him. The rest of the sailors stand in two rows on two boats, with a bucket of sticky rice in the middle of the sailors, a cooked goose on the rice, and three old men standing at the tail of the mother boat, responsible for the direction of the Dragon boat.

Dragon boat structure

Dragon boat is simple and huge, unique. It is made of three tall Chinese fir holes. The middle canoe is a female boat with a diameter of about 70 cm and a length of about 24 meters. There is a boat with a diameter of about 50 cm and a length of about 17 meters on both sides. In peacetime, the boat body is placed in a pavilion specially built at the entrance of the village, and the dragon head is placed in the drum master selected in the village. During the period of May 20-23, the lunar calendar, the wizard will pass it on. After that, the boat and the mother boat are arranged side by side in a row with bamboo strips and loaded with exquisitely carved multi-coloured faucets.

Distribution area

The skills of making canoe dragon boats are called "occultation" or "occultation bravery" in Miao dialect, "occultation" in Miao dialect, and "doing" or "making" in Miao dialect. The meaning of "doing" or "making" in Miao dialect is "doing" or "making" in Weng dialect, and "doing" or "making dragon boats" in Weng dialect, meaning "making dragon boats" or "making dragon boats". Miao villages (commonly known as riverside Miao) mainly distributed along the Qingshui River in the southern part of Shibing County are one of the most representative traditional handicraft of the Miao people in the Qingshui River. Its production in Pingzhai in the territory of Wangzhai, Zhuzizhai, Zhaidan, Tonggu Village drum copper; Jiangxi Street Village Dachong; Pingdi Village camp; Bingdong Village ice cave, eight stalks; Liuhe Village's upper, middle and lower villages. And along the Shidong River in Taijiang County. At present, Qingshuijiang Miao people's annual canoe sacrifice for rain is the most important hardware facilities.


Before the dragon boat set out, each village put a square table on the beach near the Dragon boat. There was a liter of rice on the table. There were three pillars of incense and twelve yuan on the table. The wizard stood at the table with a cock in his hand and read witchcraft words. He invited mountain gods, tree gods and ancestors to bless the dragon boat and return safely. Then the wizard sprinkled the dragon boat with grass and water and killed the chicken. After the game, the wizard used the same method to send off mountain gods, tree gods and ancestors.

When they crossed, the gongs and drums were noisy, and the people on the boat shouted "Hey!" in unison with the rhythm of the boat's paddling. Hi! " The relatives and friends on the shore also ran along with the dragon boat and shouted loudly. The Dragon Boat Festival was pushed to a climax with great momentum and excitement.

After the competition, the relatives and friends of the Dragon Boat landed and set off firecrackers, hung the gifts of ducks and geese around the dragon's neck. They began to share the glutinous rice, meat and wine brought with the Dragon boat. They stayed happy until dusk before singing and rowing home.


The canoe dragon boat is primitive and simple, with many exceptions.

Special shape

First of all, the dragon boat has a special shape. The Miao dragon boat is made of only three giant Chinese fir cuttings. To be exact, the most primitive one should be tied up with three single logs. The middle one is called the mother boat, which is more than 20 meters long. The two boats on both sides are called the boats. They are about 15 meters long. They are separated and put on hold at ordinary times. Before the race, people lift them into the water and tie them to both sides of the mother boat with hemp rope or bamboo slander. The bibcock is carefully carved from willow trees. It is tall and spotted with longan, ears, nose, tongue, teeth, beads in mouth and beards on cheeks. The back of the Dragon neck is carved with scales, decorated with red, yellow, green, white, green and other multi-color paintings. Longjiao is a pair of curved buffalo horns, a typical product of rice cultivation culture, with the words "Cathay, Tai, Min'an" and "good weather and rain" written on the left and right corners respectively. The uniqueness of the canoe is that it has a beautiful dragon head, but no dragon tail.

Dragon Boat Rowing

It's also different. The Miao Dragon Boat racers in southeastern Guizhou stood and bent over. The canoe's body is less than 1.5 meters wide, but it can carry more than 40 people. During the competition, the participants, dressed in bright national costumes, stood on the boats on both sides and rowed, beating gongs, drums, and fired guns to make their prestige. In the course of the competition, when crossing the rapids and dangerous beaches, we need to use the long radial head of the iron wrap to prick the bottom and advance like a Artemisia boat.

Qingshuijiang Miao people hold a canoe race every year from May 23 to 27 in the lunar calendar, almost immediately after the Dragon Boat Festival of the Han people, but it is also obvious. The most special custom is that the Festival ends with the clan of each village gathering to "eat dragon meat".


Canoe dragon boat is the pride of Miao culture. Whether it is the posture and costume of two rows of people standing and paddling the radial direction, or the cutting of wooden boats, when they go into the water, their related rituals, taboos and legends all reflect an ancient and mysterious Miao culture. It is unique in China.

Among the steep mountains deep in the Miaoling Mountains in southeastern Guizhou, China, there is a beautiful Qingshui River, which flows through Majiang, Kaili, Huangping, Taijiang, Shibing, Jianhe, Jinping and Tianzhu counties in Guizhou and then converges into Yuanjiang, Hunan. Canoe dragon boat race is an ancient competitive activity on this river. Qingshui River is the second largest river in Guizhou Province and an important tributary of the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. There is also a tributary of the Bala River, which originated in Leishan County, southeastern Guizhou, and merged into the Qingshui River in Bala River Village, Taijiang County.

The Miao ethnic group has a population of nearly 10 million, nearly half of which live in Guizhou, while about 30% of the rest live in Hunan and Yunnan, with a small proportion in Chongqing, Guangxi, Hubei, Sichuan and Hainan. In addition, it is also distributed in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and other countries. However, the canoe dragon boat, a rare traditional competitive activity in the world, can only be carried out in the Qingshui River at the junction of Taijiang County and Shibing County, Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture in southeastern Guizhou Province, and at the junction of Bala River, its tributary. The activity population is limited to a branch of Miao nationality.

Canoe dragon boat culture integrates Miao's competitive culture, sacrificial culture, costume culture, singing and dancing culture and catering culture. This unique ancient cultural custom has been listed as the national intangible cultural heritage list.