Begins on the 15th day of the third lunar month (usually mid- to late April)
Love is in the air in this courtship ritual in eastern Guìzhōu, when young Miao (or Hmong) women and men set about finding themselves partners through the medium of sticky rice. To a soundtrack of music from the lusheng (a reed instrument), and amid dancing, paper-dragon fights and buffalo fighting, the young Miao women dress in exquisite embroidery and kilograms of silver jewellery (the Miao believe that silver can dispel evil spirits). Their suitors come like Don Juans, serenading the women and presenting a parcel of dyed rice to the ladies who have taken their fancy.
The women hand back different parcels of rice. Inside, like a fortune cookie, are a variety of unspoken messages. If there are two chopsticks in the rice, it’s an acceptance of the proposal, while a single chopstick is a polite refusal. A chilli is the most definite of rebukes.
1 – watch love weave its spell.
To reach Shīdòng travel through Táijiāng. Minibuses between the two take around two hours.
Shīdòng is a good place to buy inexpensive embroidery and silver. There’s also a local market held every six days.