Impressive sports held in the Miao areas of China

June 16, 2009

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Who are the Miao?

As an ethnic group in mountainous south and southwestern China, the Miao have a long history and fascinating culture. Their embroidery, silver jewelry, and batik art is second to none in the world. The Miao love sports, and they have various games held in their areas frequently, some of which you may have never known before.

Climbing a knife ladder

A Miao knife ladder is 12 meters high, with 72 knives as rungs. The Miao climbers will first cut a piece of cloth or their hair with the knives to prove how sharp they are.

The barefooted performers then proceed to climb the large ladder without so much as a drop of blood spilling to the ground. They will not only climb, but also show off some acrobatic feats such as somersaults and flips.

Walking on the flaming iron board

To start this game, an iron board has coals burned on it for over 1 hour and can reach temperatures over 800 degrees Celsius.

The barefooted Miao performer then steps onto the iron boards.Some smoke is off his/her feet, but incredibly their feet don’t get any hurt.

Then the iron boards are thrown into the cold water, which quickly becomes fizzy and a mist of white steam uprises.

Horse fighting

Horse fights and horse races are all held on June 6 of the lunar calendar, to express the Miao wishes for a good harvest.

The interesting horse fighting games allure lots of people to come and see. Girls will dress up with beautiful silver ornaments like huge silver rings, because this is an important day for them to go out and show off.

Two young men bring their horses into a large rink and the game starts. The two horses immediately throw themselves into a war once they meet. They combat with each other frantically. After several fighting bouts, one horse is beaten and escapes, with the other pursuing after it.

The audience around the rink yell excitely for the horses. Finally the champ will have a red ribbon decorating his body.

Horse races

Horse races are held on steep mountain roads. When the game begins, the rider keeps himself 5 or 6 meters away behind the horse.

The rider then runs and jumps onto the back of the horse, which then in turn starts to gallop immediately. Without a saddle on the horse, the rider has to let his legs cling to the horse’s body, in order not to fall off.

It’s really a thrilling horse race. The winner will get a prize, and may even win the love of the local girls.

The Miao have more amazing games and sports, click here to know more about Miao people and silver ornaments.

C. Liu has spent many hours and days learning about Miao culture. Sometimes she promotes certain Miao silversmiths. visit her web page above to see more of her articles and excellent pieces of Miao jewelry.


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