Chongqing – To celebrate the World Natural and Cultural Heritage Day in 2022, the Laowai@Chongqing event was launched in Wulong District, inviting overseas friends and residents in Chongqing to experience intangible heritage on June 10 and 11.
During these two days, 23 overseas friends from 16 countries, including Germany, Italy, Syria, and Spain, visited three traditional Chinese cultural villages, namely Datian Wetland Resort in Canggou Village, Tianchi Miao village in Houping Village, and Tianjia village in Haokou Village. They saw the rapid development and changes in the countryside. They participated in intangible cultural heritage activities such as Tai Chi, the ancient method of making dried bean curd, and the Gelao batik technique.
Datian Wetland Resort is an integrated rural tourism project based on the thousand-year-old traditional Chinese ancient village in Datian Village. On the morning of the 10th, the delegation came to experience the countryside’s beauty.
More than 200 acres of lotus flowers are in full bloom. A gust of breeze brushes your cheeks, and the air is full of the fragrance of lotus flowers, making people relaxed and happy. “Very beautiful!” the overseas friends praised. Then they divided into four groups to start the rowing competition in the Lotus Lake.
After that, foreign friends followed Tan Keming, a Tai Chi master in the Datian ancient village, to learn the gestures and moves of Tai Chi.
Wulong dried bean curd is popular among consumers, and the production process of dried bean curd is listed in the municipal intangible cultural heritage. Every step is made by hand and ingenuity, such as grinding the pulp with a stone mill, cooking the soy milk with firewood, and making tofu with brine. The overseas friends walked into the dried tofu workshop and tried it. “It’s fragrant!” they savored the dried tofu that was just baked by themselves.
As they walked into the Tianchi Miao Village in Houping Village, the Miao people dressed in Miao costumes sang folk songs and held rice wine, warmly welcoming friends from afar.
Houping Village has 18 scenic spots, such as the world’s only erosion-type Tiankeng – the Houping Tiankeng Group World Natural Heritage, the longest karst cave in Asia. After several years of poverty alleviation efforts, Houping Village has been taken by the State Council as an example to showcase China’s poverty alleviation achievements.
In the village’s history museum, foreign friends witnessed the fruitful results of poverty alleviation.
After watching the live performance of the inheritors making woodware in the woodware workshop, they also followed the inheritors to learn to make wooden bowls.
When night fell, overseas friends and local villagers gathered around the bonfire and sang Houping folk songs. Wang Ying’s family from Armenia, and Liu Jian from Togo, performed on stage, singing Chinese songs such as “Friends” and “Chengdu.”
On June 11, the delegation came to Tianjia village in Haokou Village. Tianjia village is the only village that features Gelao minority characteristics in Chongqing, which integrates folk experience, tourism, leisure, and health care. The village is dotted with wooden tile houses and stilted buildings.
There is a Gelao Folk Culture Exhibition Hall in the village, which displays the origins, costumes, dwellings, and living customs of the Gelao so that tourists can fully understand the history and culture of the Gelao.
“I can’t believe I saw the bamboo pole dance here, and the move is the same as ours!” At the Gelao Folk Culture Expo, Du Randi from the Philippines was very excited. He said that the bamboo pole dance is a nationally recognized folk dance in the Philippines, and no one has ever asked about its origin. Today, he sees the bamboo pole dance here, and he wants to study it.
After that, the group of people came to the batik studio of Haokou Primary School to learn the traditional intangible cultural heritage batik skills of the Gelao people with the teacher.
Batik is an ancient traditional textile printing and dyeing handicraft of ethnic minorities in my country. Haokou Primary School has compiled school-based teaching materials for batik and offers batik courses. Haokou Village has also established a batik workshop to develop more than 20 kinds of batik products, such as scarves, sachets, and clothes.
After listening to the teacher’s explanation, the overseas friends drew their favorite patterns and specially signed their Chinese names on the dyed cloth. The exquisite pattern is presented by waxing and then dyeing the blue indigo extracted from natural plants.
“When I came to Wulong District, I felt the beauty of Wulong’s countryside and experienced the unique culture of the ethnic minorities here,” said Nattalee from Thailand.
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