NANNING, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Dressed in bright red clothes, Pan Zaoxiang, a 30-year-old Red Yao ethnic woman in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, got up early on Monday, waiting anxiously to greet the tourists who came for the drying clothes festival.
Monday was the Red Yao's second-most-important festival following the Spring Festival. Every year on the sixth day of the sixth lunar month, usually a sunny day, the Red Yao people hang up their distinctive red clothes. They believe that the sunshine will help get rid of their bad luck and bring good fortune.
The balconies and corridors of families in the villages of Longsheng County in the city of Guilin, are filled with all kinds of clothes mainly in bright red against the green mountains and terraces, forming a spectacular scene.
During the festival, the Red Yao women wear traditional red clothes while the men wear black. It is also a tradition that the Red Yao couples hold a group wedding on the same day. The Yao brides sit in the room waiting for their beloved ones, while tourists and villagers wait to send their blessings.
This unique group wedding with ethnic customs has also attracted many new couples outside the villages.
Ru Zeyuan, 27, came all the way from the city of Yuncheng in north China's Shanxi Province to experience the ethnic wedding. "The Red Yao ethnic wedding is solemn and full of traditional rituals, making today an unforgettable experience," said Ru.
Compared to modern weddings which are generally held in downtown hotels, adopting the Yao ethnic wedding has helped her to better learn about and understand the minority culture, Ru said.
According to the Red Yao, the festival brings blessings to the local villagers. Since the villages began to develop tourism with their ethnic features in 2003, the industry has boosted the local villagers' incomes.
"We once were among the poorest villages in the county before 2003, but now I am proud to say that there is no poverty-stricken family in the village," said Pan Baoyu, Party chief of Dazhai Village.
Since 2006, the village has held folklore performances and ethnic style wedding ceremonies, attracting tourists worldwide while better inheriting the ethnic traditional culture, according to Pan.
"The villages here have something different that we don't have in Europe, like the terraced fields and traditional ceremonies held today. It's so beautiful here," said Milan Kisztaer, 57, from Slovakia.
Kisztaer also praised that the development of tourism may be a good way to protect and pass on ethnic cultures.
"They can get money from tourism to save everything here. With the money, they can pay for reconstruction, infrastructure, education, nature protection, for everything," Kisztaer said.
The drying clothes festival is the Red Yao's second-most-important festival following the Spring Festival, which dates back to the Han Dynasty(202 BC-220 AD).
During the one-day festival, the Red Yao people also hold dog worshipping activities as they believe that the dog is their benefactor. Their local clothes also contain dog totems to honor the animal.