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Jingpo people celebrate Munao Zongge festival in Yunan

Updated: 2023-02-09 17:36 ( chinadaily.com.cn )
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The 39th Pengsheng Tongken Munao Zongge Festival kicked off on Feb 5, in Jinghan township, Longchuan county of Southwest China’s Yunnan province.

Tens of thousands of Jinpo people, young and old, danced together in their holiday best to the magnificent sound of gongs and drums to celebrate Munao Zongge, the ethnic group’s biggest festival of the year.

Munao Zonge means “dancing together” in the Jinpo language and is often celebrated around the Lantern Festival, lasting for three to seven days. Listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2006, the pageant serves as a window to showcase the Jingpo people’s history, culture, and art.

In ancient times, it was said that only the children of the Sun could dance in the traditional Munao Carnival. According to the legend, the king of the Sun once invited all of the Earth’s creatures to the carnival in the Sun Palace. All the birds flew to join the carnival, and on their way home they came across a forest, where they found all kinds of beautiful fruit on the trees.

To share the fresh fruit among each other, the birds held the First Birds’ Munao Carnival. Two humans joined the carnival and they were immersed in happiness. According to the legend, that was how the Munao Carnival started.

It is said that after the humans learned the Munao Zongge dance, they became healthier and luckier. To this day, whenever the Jingpo people need to get rid of evil spirits or pray for a better harvest, they perform the Munao Zongge dance.

The dance is led by Naoshuang and Naoba (the lead dancers). Naoshuangs are in charge of performing the ritual dance while Naobas direct the crowd to dance with free, lively movements.

Four sessions of Munao Zongge dance were staged at this year’s festival and each session lasted for two hours.

“Munao Zongge used to be celebrated only by Jingpo people but recent years have brought different people from all over the world to join in on this grand carnival and dance together,” said Shang Deguang, a provincial inheritor of Munao Zonge.

More than 200,000 tourists visited Longchuan county in Yunan province during this year’s Munao Zonge Festival, with 60,000 people partaking in the festival, according to local authorities.


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