The Zhuang are the most populous among the ethnic minorities in China . Guilin is one of the homes of the Zhuang nationality. Zhuang ethnic nationality is centuries-old and is distributed in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Yunnan Province, Guangdong Province and Guizhou Province .Their culture is particularly rich and colorful.
The costume of the Zhuang is a simple design with the favored colors being blue and black. The women like to wear embroidered towels as headwear and an apron covered with exquisite handwork. Zhuang ladies will also wear intricate pieces of handmade silver earrings, bracelets and necklaces.
The style of a man's costume is like T'ang's. A woman dresses simply and decent. Black and blue are the normal colors in a suit. She likes to wrap head her with embroidered towel, and has an exquisite apron around waist. Zhuang women like to wear earrings, bracelets and necklace. Little decorative ornaments are always worn with a Zhuang woman's Suit .
A multied storied ganlan is the unique style of construction for their houses. The upper floor is for people's living area and it is divided into three or five rooms. Before a hall, there is a kitchen for cooking and getting warm. Above this floor, an attic is for foodstuff storing.
Respect the elder and care the children are good traditions. On any occasion, it is taken to be non-breeding and wicked when a person is impolite to an elder; and he will be reproached by anyone. A child cannot be treated badly. When a baby is short of breast milk, any mother in suckling time will provide the baby. A wine will be present before a guest and he should have it, otherwise, it will be taken as liberty and profanity
A lot of taboos are in daily life. No matter what kind of it is, a stranger should not disobey, such as: a guest will not enter a woman's room when she has a three weeks baby; dog's fresh can not be cooked in fireplace; a visiting couple cannot sleep in a same room, and so on.
Paddy, corn , taro and bean are their favorite food. The cooked bean, porridge with meet fragment and rice in bamboo bowl are fragrant and unique. They can cook five-color- rice, ciba and all kinds of glorious rice dumping. On every march 3, every family will cook five-color and five-color-eggs. Mix fresh blood with food is a favorite dish in west Guilin area. They think fresh blood can supply vigor. Unless a distinguished guest, he will not enjoy it.
The festivals of Zhuangs' are almost the same as those of Hans.
Ghost Festival, also named ZhongYuan Festival, is on June 14. every family will braize five color glorious rice and cook chicken to sacrifice ancestors.
Niu Hun Festival (Cattle King Festival) is held the day in spring ploughing. A family bring a box of five colors glorious rice and a band of grass to byre to sacrifice cattle's spirits. Half of the food will feed to cattle. It is said cattle lose spirits when they are working in farm, so people must get the spirits back.
Copper Drum is with over two thousand years history. The types of the copper drums are much with different size; the biggest one is over 1 meter in diameter, the lightest one reaches several decade kilograms and the heaviest of which reaches thousands kilograms. On both sides, relievo decorates the drum noble and elegant, besides, the body of which is also designed with flower figure. Parlances vary in martial music, folk music, sacrifice music or representative of power and fortune, etc.
The Zhuangs' women oriJingated special handicraft-Zhuang Brocade, with cotton yarn through longitude and velour going in latitude. The longitude normally is in primitive colors and the latitude is in different colors. Kinds of beautiful designs are weaved over. Zhuang Brocade is used in many purposes. In history, the Zhuangs' women had produced the beautiful special brocade in Tang and Song Dynasty. During Ming and Qing Dynasty, the Zhuang women had been famous all around China. Now, Zhuang Brocade, honored to be folk artic, has been developed greatly; they not only weave traditional designs, but also created new beautiful thing with their skillful hands.
Sing and Dance
They are famous for capable of sinJingg. SinJingg can be heard everywhere in the Zhuangs region. The famous singer Liu Sanjie, who lived in Tang Dynasty, created ballads with melodious tone to express good will. The songs have been coming down among the common people. The instruments are suona horn, bee-drum, copper-drum, copper-cymbals, Sheng, Xiao, flute and horse-bone-hu.
They dance with brilliant subject, the steps of which are powerful and smart. They play lively and humour with all kinds of feelings, which shows their contumacy, love and hatred. The famous are 'embroidered silk ball dance', 'fishing shrimp dance', 'picking tea dance' 'shoulder pole dance' and 'copper drum dance.'
Cultural Arts---Murals on Cliff
The mural on the cliff of Huashan Mountain has been the history of two thousand years. The mural paints almost 1,300 persons with four thousand meters high and hundreds meters long, showing different figures. The biggest portrait on which is high 3 meters, and the smallest one is only 0.3 meter; shapes of tymbal, gong and animals can also be seen. The tone of carving is wild, thick and powerful. The mural mirrors the ancient Zhuangs' living aspects in some distance.
They believe in gods, ancestors, huge stones, old trees, mountains, earth, dragons and birds.