Folk traditions still matter in Guizhou's villages

By Satarupa Bhattacharjya ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-07-12 08:17:40

Folk traditions still matter in Guizhou's villages

The Nuo opera is among folk traditions that were once very popular in Guizhou province. [Photo by Yang Jun/China Daily]

In a push to protect folk cultures of ethnic groups in Southwest China's Guizhou province, government funds-both provincial and central-have been enhanced, officials say.

Among China's poorest provinces, Guizhou is low on signs of development compared with other parts of the country-there are more farms than factories-but the province is rich in ecological and cultural resources, elements the local government is seeking to exploit for tourism.

While more than a decade ago, nearly 1 million yuan ($149,000) was being spent on promoting the crafts, cuisines and performing arts of the province's nearly 20 ethnic communities, more than 26 million yuan was provided for the same last year, two local government officials tell China Daily.

China faces the risk of losing folk cultures due to its ongoing urbanization and modernization.

Tongren, an eastern prefecture-level city of 350,000, is an example of how folk activities remain relevant in Guizhou, especially to the rural population. Lately, more roads have been built to connect the surrounding towns and villages, including in Yanhe county, where the Tujia people live.

They trace their roots to ancient China and have long resided near the Wuling Mountains that outline Guizhou and the central provinces of Hunan and Hubei, and the municipality of Chongqing in the southwest. Once the community had a language, members say, but now they use a regional dialect.

White clouds are seen floating amid green hills of the county during a recent visit. The front porches of many houses are decorated with the figurines of lions and pigeons to usher in good fortune. The landscape includes Taoist gravesites made of gray rocks. The local people like to bury their dead closer to home.

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