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Mulam ethnic tradition brought alive in Guilin

By Huang Chenkuang (chinadaily.com.cn)

A sea of rudimentary straw dragons danced into the center of Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Dec 9.

The parade was part of a plan by the government of Luocheng Mulam autonomous county in Hechi aiming to promote Mulao ethnic cultural traditions by holding a series of performances at Guilin Huaqiao Art Museum.

The grass dragon, also called "burning incense dragon", is made from rice straw and green vines, with burning incenses inserted into it.

Having been conducted in Luocheng for centuries, the grass dragon dance is a must-see spectacle during significant festivals, such as the Spring Festival. It was listed in the third batch of intangible cultural heritages in Guangxi in 2014.

Legend has it that waving a dragon made of grass is a favorable way to worship the dragon god and would ensure favorable weather for bumper harvests. While dancing with the grass dragon, conductors need to imitate the dragon moves of swimming, turning, stirring and crossing.

The grass dragon is then ignited and burnt into ash to pray for a good harvest in the coming year.

Mulam ethnic tradition brought alive in Guilin
Grass dragon dance performed in Guangxi during festivals. [Photo/Hechi Daily]

Mulam ethnic tradition brought alive in Guilin

A group of performers dance a grass dragon in front of the Guilin Huaqiao Art Museum to promote the old-fashioned cultural tradition. [Photo by Wei Rudai/hcwang.cn]

Hechi is located in the northwestern part of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and the southern foothills of the Yungui Plateau.