苗族 The Miao ethnic group
The Miao form a relatively populous ethnic group in southwest China, and are widely distributed in Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Hubei, Guangdong, and Hainan provinces, although most live in Guizhou Province.
The Miao like to be well groomed. They dress themselves up and beautify their lives with embroidery, cross-stitch work, woven patterns, wax printing, and silver ornaments made by themselves. Miao girls usually start to learn embroidery at the age of five or six, and those who become good at it are widely praised. If any distinguished guest visits, girls will present a patterned band specially made by themselves when proposing a toast.
Since the Miao are widely distributed, their festivals differ from place to place. The Miao people have many festivals, such as the Dragon-Boat Festival, the Flower-Mountain Festival, the New Crop Tasting Festival, the Pure Brightness Day and the Autumn Harvest Festival. On festive days, women dress most beautifully, wearing embroidered clothes with silver articles and varied silver ornaments on the head and around the neck; when they walk, these silver ornaments jingle and glitter. There are various kinds of celebratory activities, among which, playing the sheng (a reed pipe wind instrument), antiphonal singing and bullfighting are the most characteristic. The sheng is a musical instrument that has a history of more than 2,000 years as it is said.