China marks “March 3 Festival” with folk choirs, snail noodles

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NANNING, April 8 (Xinhua) — South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Sunday kicked off the “March 3 Festival” with choir competitions and grand banquets, some of which will last for weeks to usher in a tourism boom for the region known for its ethnic diversity.

In Guangxi, March 3 of the lunar calendar has been an important occasion to sing in the antiphonal (call-and-answer) style to find love and make new friends, as well as to worship ancestors and pray for a good harvest. It has been observed by many of the region’s ethnic groups including Zhuang, Yao, Miao, Dong and Mulao.

According to Guangxi’s culture and tourism department, more than 900 festive activities will be staged this month across the region to mark the festival.

In Qinzhou, a city lying on the coast of the Beibu Gulf, a large performance featuring antiphonal songs between lovers was held on Sunday, while in the scenic city of Guilin, graceful Zhuang hoofers were put on the same stage with spirited Amis dancers from Taiwan.

In the industrial city of Liuzhou, a competition gathered choir singers to perform the “Grand Song of the Dong,” a polyphonic folk singing performed without musical instruments or a conductor.

The city also treated more than 2,000 revelers to a lively banquet featuring river snail dishes and snacks, including the famous snail rice noodles, or “Luosifen,” known for its pungent smell.

Since 2014, the Guangxi government has made the “March 3 Festival” a two-day official holiday with the hope that it will encourage the preservation of the 1,300-year-old festive custom.