Horse Fighting Festival of Miao Ethnic Group
Rongshui in Guangxi province is a famous inhabiting place for the Miaos. It not only has large population, but also retains on many special living and culture customs, such as horse fight and “pulling drum”.
Horse fight is a traditional entertaining activity of Miaos in Rongshui, and it is often hold in different festivals. Now the horse fight festival from the 26th to the 28th in December is the grandest.
On the first day of the festival, every family butcher chicken and duck, steam polished glutinous rice and make sweet wine. They also go to field to catch fish by way of drawing off water, and cook fresh fish gruel to entertain relatives and friends from far away. Horse fight and horse race are held on the second and third days.
Horse fight is a very thrilling, exciting and fascinating match. At about 10 in the morning, the surrounding space of the fight site is crowded with many people. After the sound of a line of “Guoshanchong” indigenous guns, a team of powerful horses come into the fight site valiantly, which is lead by reed pipe team and lion dance team. These tens of horses are carefully selected and every horse is plump, sturdy and energetic. When the match begins, the judge announces the list of horses joining the fight, and one horse is pulled out to the site from one of the two teams. After the halter is released, the two horses rush toward each other at once. They bite each other, turn their hoofs and kick the other side heavily, or raise their front hoofs in the air and confront each other. Smoke and dust roll, and silt splashes on the fight site. The nervous and fierce fight makes audiences hold their breath or cheer and jump for joy and applaud loudly from time to time. After a certain number of rounds, if one horse falls down or run away, the other wins, and another two horses get into the site to begin a new fight. Single elimination system is adopted and the winning horse takes part in the second turn directly. Half the horses are eliminated in each turn, until the last two horses fight it out for the champion.
After the match finishes, people drape red cloth over the winner’s back. The owner of the horse is not only awarded, but also feels very proud of having such a brave and strong steed.