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Intl visitors immerse themselves at Maguai Festival
Updated: 2023-02-22

A group of 11 international teachers and students from the United States, Iran, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, South Africa and Nigeria traveled to Donglan county in Hechi, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to experience the Maguai Festival celebrations from Feb 19 to 21.

"Maguai" is the local word for frogs, which are regarded as the incarnations of gods, representing prosperity and wealth to the Zhuang ethnic people. The festival, celebrated around the second day of the second lunar month, involves special activities to worship the creatures. Maguai Festival was added to the national intangible cultural heritage protection list in 2006.

This group had also visited Changjiang, Changle and Bachou towns in Donglan county to experience folk celebrations.

"It's my first time in Donglan, and I'm really happy to attend this wonderful bonfire party," said Mohammad Saiyedul Islam from Bangladesh.


A group photo shows international visitors playing bronze drums in Badeng village of Changle town in Donglan county on Feb 20. [Photo provided to]

There is an important custom for Donglan people when celebrating Maguai Festival: beating bronze drums and dancing to the beat. With a history of more than 2,000 years, the bronze drum is an integral part of Hechi's cultural heritage. Currently, the number of bronze drums passed down from ancient times is about 2,400, with more than 1,400 in Hechi itself.

Donglan county is a core area of the Bronze Drum Culture (Hechi) Ecological Protection Experimental Zone, and bronze drum culture has been well-protected and developed in the county, said Wei Hongzhen, director of the Hechi municipal bureau of culture, radio, television, sports and tourism.


Clinton Legrand Moore sings a toast song accompanied by bronze drum at Donglan Middle School for Nationalities On Feb 20. [Photo provided to]

In order to better understand the Zhuang people's Maguai and bronze drum cultures, the group traveled to the Donglan Folk Bronze Drum Collection Hall and Donglan Middle School for Nationalities on Feb 19 and 20.

On Feb 20, in the bronze drum performance classroom of the Donglan Middle School for Nationalities, 12 students played the toasting song and Hechi folk songs. Clinton Legrand Moore from the US sang a toast song accompanied by bronze drums, winning applause from the assembled crowd.


Visitors perform the bamboo stick dance with locals in Baying village on Feb 21. [Photo provided to]

On Feb 21, Zhuang people played 300 bronze drums in Maguai Square of Baying village to celebrate Maguai Festival. Foreign visitors learned to play the drums and joined in.

"The local people were enthusiastic and the show was wonderful. I think if I have the chance, I will come to Hechi again next year to participate in the festival," said Morm Nitepanha, an overseas student from Cambodia.


An aerial view of Maguai Festival celebrations in Baying village. [Photo provided to]

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