Pumpkin Festival of Maonan Ethnic Group
The “Pumpkin Festival” of the Maonan nationality is set on September 9 in lunar calendar, namely the Double Ninth Festival. Every household put the reaped big orange pumpkins in different shapes on the floor so as to select one by one. The young people visit one family after another, to choose the “pumpkin king”. In addition to appearance, they have to judge by their experience the seeds inside through the outside appearance. When the majority agree on “the pumpkin king”, a strong guy splits it by a chopper. The owner draws out the melon pulp, and puts the seeds away for the coming year. Then he cuts the melon into slices, and puts it into milled congee pan, braised and stewed with slow fire until thoroughly cooked. The first bowl will be presented before their deceased ancestors. Then everybody start to enjoy the meal together.
A lot of nationalities in our country take the Double Ninth Festival as the senior citizens’ festival, keeping the traditional custom of respecting the elderly. The Maonan nationality is no exception, but the prevailing custom is different. As to the weak and sick old people over sixty, Maonan people usually add extra grain for their longevity on the Double Ninth Festival. The children hold a feast at home for their parents. Relatives and friends coming for the feast should bring fine flour and rice, or fresh fruits. “One hundred rice” given by relatives and friends should be stored alone. Later on, the young host will mix the rice into their own rice when cooking for the elderly. If “one hundred rice” has been eaten up, the elderly still do not get recovered, the family should go on to find a good day to hold the ceremony of “adding grain for longevity”. This custom is actually of love for the elderly, which meets the common values and traditional morals. It is supported by the local government. To the elderly, it is the best spiritual consolation that the younger generation cares for them. A good mood surely will contribute a lot to the recovery.