Village Super League, new gala for ethnic culture in SW China-Xinhua

Village Super League, new gala for ethnic culture in SW China

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-01-16 00:26:15

Players compete during a match of the new season of Chinese football's Village Super League in Rongjiang County, southwest China's Guizhou Province, Jan. 6, 2024. (Photo by Luo Jinglai/Xinhua)

GUIYANG, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- As the new season of the Village Super League gets underway, teams representing different villages in southwest China's Guizhou Province begin their fierce competition. In addition, audiences are being captivated by splendid ethnic performances at the games.

During the opening ceremony of the new season, which was held on Jan. 6, local ethnic Miao and Dong people of Rongjiang County, Guizhou, graced the events dressed in traditional outfits. They played the Lusheng musical instrument, sang fantastic folk songs and performed dance routines to celebrate the world-renowned football tournament held by local villagers.

After 62 village football teams entered the stadium, a group of local villagers, dancing hand in hand, formed a gigantic circle. Later, the circle gradually changed into the shape of a heart, which received rounds of applause from the audience.

"The heart-shape expresses local villagers' unique and simple love for the Village Super League," recalled a young ethnic girl who attended the cultural performance at the opening ceremony.

Videos showcasing the performances of the folk songs and dances at the venue quickly went viral on China's popular short video platforms, capturing the attention and praise of many netizens.

One online post read: "With such a rich display of China's ethnic culture, you can feel the unchanging 'down-to-earth flavor' of 'Cun Chao.'" Some netizens also expressed their hope to see more colorful ethnic cultural performances in the new season of the Village Super League.

Rongjiang County is a small mountainous county inhabited by 28 ethnic groups, including Dong, Miao, Shui, Yao and Bouyei people. The local minority population accounts for more than 80 percent of the county's total.

At present, Rongjiang County is home to dozens of China's national and provincial intangible cultural heritages, such as the Kam Grand Choir, a polyphonic folk song performed without the aid of musical instruments or a lead singer.

The choir, also known as the Grand Song of the Dong, was included in the World Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2009. Through its beautiful melody, the choir conveys different stories, emotions and insightful lyrics.

Besides the football games on the pitch, the brilliant ethnic performances were also eye-catching. At the final of Village Super League held in July 2023, many people still remembered the fantastic performance of the Kam Grand Choir, which was comprised of 10,000 people.

"Every time I hear the choir, I am always amazed. Although I don't understand ethnic dialects, the beautiful melody brings us closer," said Wang Jing, a football fan who loves watching the Village Super League.

Wang added that the Village Super League is like a "big stage" of colorful ethnic culture, displaying many cultures of different ethnic minority groups with unique characteristics.

Lai Hongjing, vice chairman of Rongjiang County's Football Association, said that every village in Rongjiang County boasts distinctive cultural characteristics. And in the new season, villager-centered rural ethnic cultural performances will be further displayed in the venue and an even more wonderful intangible cultural heritage feast will be presented to audiences.

Villagers present traditional costumes at a souvenir stall near the Village Super League football pitch in Rongjiang County of southwest China's Guizhou Province, June 30, 2023. (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin)

In addition to the special ethnic cultural performances, several intangible cultural heritage exhibition areas are set up around the stadium during each Village Super League game. Traditional ethnic handicrafts, such like embroidery, silver ornaments and batik of Guizhou's intangible cultural heritage, are displayed in different forms.

Luo Yun, who works at a local indigo dyeing company, is very excited to see more and more local intangible cultural heritage products appear on the venue of "Cun Chao."

"Only by increasing the exposure of intangible cultural heritage and letting more people know about our intangible cultural heritage skills, can we better inherit and develop this precious ethnic culture," Luo said.

Indigo dyeing is an ancient printing and dyeing process widely used among ethnic minorities in Rongjiang County. Nowadays, this traditional dyeing process has found more diverse applications and a brighter future thanks to "Cun Chao."

"We integrated indigo dyeing technology into the design of football dolls, brooch accessories, T-shirt and other products, which are very popular and have enjoyed great sales numbers," Luo added.

In last year's  "Cun Chao" football games, there were many performances showcasing ethnic culture from other provincial-level regions, such as the songs and dances of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Hui dances from northwest China's Qinghai Province, and bronze drum dances from south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

People from different areas gathered at the Village Super League to display China's diverse ethnic cultures.

Li Sha, member of the organizing committee of Village Super League and director of Rongjiang County's cultural center, said that in the new season of Village Super League, local government will hold more cultural performances and invite more across the country to join in. 


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