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Long Hair Festival Highlights: A Celebration of Red Yao Culture

April 21, 2024 3 min read

yaosecret

Last week, we at Yao Secret had the privilege of attending the awe-inspiring Long Hair Festival in Longji, an annual event that both celebrates and showcases the rich heritage of the Red Yao community. Here’s a glimpse into the festivities that make this festival so unique and heartfelt.

Coming-of-Age-Ceremony

The Coming-of-Age Ceremony

The festival began with the deeply moving Coming-of-Age Ceremony, a pivotal moment for young Red Yao women. At 18, a young woman receives her first and only haircut, marking her transition into womanhood. The entire village comes together for this event, creating an atmosphere filled with communal pride and emotional resonance.

As the ceremony unfolds, the host initiates the proceedings with lit candles and offered gifts, setting a reverent tone. The village women perform traditional dances, enveloping the young lady in a celebration of her milestone. Shielded under a traditional Chinese umbrella, she is paraded around the village, her hair cut in front of all, a moment so poignant that it brings tears to the onlookers, including many who have watched her grow from infancy into this moment of passage. The cut lock of hair is then wrapped in traditional cloth, to be worn with her remaining hair for life, symbolizing her journey into adulthood.

Long Hair Display

The Long Hair Display

Following the ceremony, we witnessed the spectacular Long Hair Display by the river. Hundreds of Red Yao women released their long, meticulously cared-for hair simultaneously, creating a breathtaking display against the natural backdrop. This display not only mesmerizes visitors but also stands as a testament to their enduring cultural practices. Last year, this very event set a Guinness World Record for the most women combing hair simultaneously—a moment of pride for the community.

Red Yao Wedding Ceremony

Cultural Performances and Interactive Fun

The air was filled with the rhythmic beat of drums as Red Yao women, adorned in beautiful traditional clothing, danced and sang folk songs. In a playful and culturally enriching mock wedding ceremony, male tourists had the opportunity to unveil their ‘brides,’ followed by a festive exchange involving rice wine and a piggyback ride across the town square—a spectacle enjoyed by participants and onlookers alike.

Gift Dropping Ceremony

Gift Dropping Ceremony

As afternoon turned to evening, we gathered at a large wooden structure where men from the village dropped gifts like rice buns, sweets, and red envelopes containing money to eager tourists and locals below. The joy and excitement in the air were palpable as everyone vied to catch these flying treasures, a festive highlight that embodies the community’s spirit of generosity.

Evening Festivities

After a brief dinner respite, the night came alive again with more dance performances. The celebration peaked with a huge bonfire party and an impressive fireworks display, illuminating the night sky and reflecting the vibrant spirit of the Red Yao people.

Yao Secret at Instagram Livestream

Livestreaming the Experience

We brought the festival's magic to you through our Instagram livestream. Over 200 of you joined us, making it our most memorable livestream to date. We also offered a peek inside a real Red Yao home, where Hai Li and Bao Hua showcased their incredible long hair, sharing their personal stories and traditions.

This festival is more than just a celebration; it's a vibrant preservation of the Red Yao's ancestral heritage. We're already looking forward to next year and hope more of you can experience this enchanting event—either in person or through our future live broadcasts. Follow us on social media for more updates and cultural insights from Yao Secret!


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