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The Gulongpo Gathering
 
  

The Gulongpo Gathering is another Miao festival involving the bamboo flutes. It is also the equivalent of Valentine’s Day for their young people. The gatherings take place twice a year. On the 16th day of the first lunar month and on the 16th day of the 8th month. The key themes of this festival are young couples. Huge numbers of bamboo flutes. And “flower umbrellas.”
No Miao household can be without its bamboo flutes, a symbol of auspice and sanctity and at festivals the bamboo flute gala dance must be danced beneath the bamboo flute post. The Gulongpo Gathering is the largest in scale; several hundred bamboo flutes sound in chorus – the large deep-noted super thick bamboo flute. The towering big flute with its booming sound and the silvery-noted miniature bamboo flutes. The flute musicians play as they dance in gallant steps. Gorgeously dressed girls step elegantly and lightly. Good bamboo flute players are a favorite with the girls. Who will put colored ribbons on the bamboo flute belonging to the best of the young male players. These flutes are also an important way of conveying love. On moonlit nights, boys may play love melodies to their sweethearts: the girls understand, and respond in sweet song.
When night falls, the romantic atmosphere of “lovers’ festival” covers Gulongpo. Young couples whisper sweet nothings beneath a kind of small canopy called “flower umbrellas.” Or spend the whole sweet night singing love duets by the fire beneath the stilted houses in the village.

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