Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum-The Maolong Festival

Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum

The Maolong Festival

by Live in Guizhou

Image Source: Eyesnews

The Maolong Festival is one of the traditional “Lantern Festival Celebrations and Blessing Conveyances” passed down through generations among the Gelao people in Shiqian County. In 2006, it was listed in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage. During the Spring Festival, Gelao villages spontaneously organize the crafting of Maolong, bringing blessings from village to village.

The Maolong has a unique appearance, resembling a snake with a fish-like tail. The entire dragon is crafted using four to five hundred fireweed stems, giving it a hairy appearance, which is quite different from dragons made by other ethnic groups. This distinct feature gives it the name “Maolong.” It carries the rich cultural values of the Gelao people. Particularly on the eleventh day of the first lunar month, Maolong from all over the county gather in the county town to perform various acrobatic stunts. The scene is filled with yellow smoke, making the Maolong appear and disappear like they are flying through the clouds, creating a highly captivating spectacle.

According to the “Shiqian County Annals,” dragon lanterns have been around since the Tang Dynasty. There is also a folklore among the Gelao people about “Tang Dynasty general Wei Zheng slaying the son of the old dragon of Jin Gu County in his dream.” Therefore, it can be inferred that the “Gelao Maolong” tradition can be traced back to the prosperous Tang Dynasty.