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China’s Sister Meals Festival


There are countless festivals and traditions in China, but as China has become increasingly urbanised and developed some of these have started to die out. To truly experience a genuine, colourful and lively festival you need to get out into the countryside, preferably in the south of China where minority groups strive hard to keep their traditions alive.

A great festival to try is the Sisters’ Meal Festival, a kind of Valentine’s Day equivalent of the Miao minority in China’s Guizhou province. Legend has it there was once an old man and his wife who had three beautiful daughters. One day while they were playing on the riverside the young girls felt lonely and lovesick. A bearded god, Zhang Guolao, possessed the spirits of the girls telling them to prepare five-coloured rolls of glutinous rice filled with shrimp, fish and other special things. When young men then came down from the mountain, the beautiful girls presented the rice to them and the young men fell in love with them.

The festival is a celebration of spring and of love. Young women dressed in their finest embroidered clothes and jewellery set out to attract a suitable mate and give presents of coloured rice to suitable suitors. This is just one part of it though, and in essence the festival is an excuse for two or three days of dancing, singing, eating, and drinking lots of rice wine.

The province of Guizhou is very much off the main tourist trail, and while you’re likely to see other westerners, they will be few and far between. The big groups are put off by the bumpy roads and lack of 5 star hotels. The main town of Kali is becoming more popular – but festivals still take place in the smaller towns and villages in the region.

Make it happen

The Sisters’ Meal Festival will take place in 2018 between 30th April- 2nd May. Our local partner companies will be able to tailor this to suit your needs. And our China page has lots of additional information about what you can do and see whilst you’re there. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office, please call +44 (0) 117 325 7898.

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