Stool dance of the Miao ethnic group 苗族

Inhabitant of the Chinese Miao Ethnic Group(苗族Miáozú), dwelling in southeast Guizhou Province, enjoy many ancient and distinctive traditions. A couple of favorite customs are playing lusheng (reed-pipe wind) and the stool dance(凳子舞dèngzǐwǔ), both of which continue to be highlights of major events and Miao festivals.

During New Year celebrations, lusheng music can be heard and the stool dance seen everywher in Miao villages. In fact, at every get-together the Miao people dance. Elderly members of the minority may be too old to swirl around with stools, but they eagerly watch the fun from the sidelines. Smiling kids wearing New Year outfits excitedly sway to the beat.

Miao people usually wear short skirts when they do the stool dance, and there is an interesting story about this tradition. It is said that one day 300 years ago, an old Miao woman was walking home in a long skirt that was stained with excrement. Dressed in the dirty skirt, she stepped up to an altar to offer a sacrifice to the deity. The deity was offended by her garment and punished her by killing her with a lightning bolt. To ensure the future of the clan, Miao people later decided that their women should wear short skirts instead of long ones.

Legend holds that the stool dance originated at the birth of a Miao chieftain. The chieftain’s mother delivered him after a three-and-half-year pregnancy. He was born plump and had a red spot on the middle of his forehead – signs believed to bring fortune to the whole tribe. At his one-month party, all of his relatives and the villagers nearby came to celebrate. The drinking party lasted for three days and nights and before it came to a close, the baby chieftain’s father was so intoxicated that he grabbed a wooden stool and began to dance with it. His stumbling steps and pounding on the stool caught the attention of all the guests, who immediately grabbed(if you grab something, you take it or pick it up suddenly and roughly) stools and began dancing themselves, continuing on until daybreak(the time in the morning when light first appears).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *