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June sixth folk song festival

( chinadaily.com.cn )

update: 2011-07-07

June sixth folk song festival

The folk song festival is in fact a match-making event, where people aim to find lovers through singing in an antiphonal style, where they reciprocate the song of others.

In the past, the people in Qiaotou town had a tradition of a temple fair. On the sixth day of the sixth lunar month each year, people from all villages would carry their musical instruments to a spot west of the rock, or put up a shed to put on a show on the riverside, or sell things on the riverside, or pick bird’s nests on the cliffs, or sing songs in antiphonal style beside stalagmites. Today’s 6 June folk song fair in Swallow Rock originates from these traditions.

The folk song festival is in fact a match-making event, where people aim to find lovers through singing in an antiphonal style, where they reciprocate the song of others.

Hundreds of young people come here to sing songs during the three day event and together with the audience there are approximately two thousand people.

The people all dress up - the young men in new Tang suits with plain scarves and the girls in loose-fitting flowery trousers with printed scarves and embroidered bibs. They come to the front of the cave where a starter song will be sung, marking the beginning of the folk song festival. Then, the young people will sing in pair in a specific melody in the form of a question and an answer. They often sing from sunrise to sunset regardless of scorching sun or heavy rain.

During the singing, if a couple finds each other to be a good match, they will find an excuse to go to the woods or a cave. There the girl will give a pair of cloth shoes or an embroidered bib to her partner and he will give a gift like a patterned cloth or bracelet in return.

The scene in the cave changes with each step forward. Sometimes it is bright, while sometimes it is dark. Stalagmites and stone curtains are everywhere. The path is meandering, and there are caves within caves. There is flowing water and green woods outside the cave. It is indeed a good place for a lovers’ rendezvous.

 
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