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World Music Celebrations: Miao Girls Festival

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L-Bit (Kia Ora)
/
Wikimedia Commons

Each week on World Music (Saturday nights from 8-10 on KSTX 89.1 FM), I take a look at celebrations happening around the world. This week, learn about the Chinese equivalent of Valentine's Day. 

SISTERS MEAL FESTIVAL

It’s definitely a girls’ day out for young women in China. A custom which could be considered the Chinese Valentine’s Day, the Sisters’ Meal Festival takes place in the Guizhou province, this year from April 24-26. The Miao people deck their daughters out in fabulous dresses, complete with magnificent jewelry, and the girls will join in long processions of other young women. They’ll carry parcels of glutinous colored rice balls, different colors representing different seasons of the year. Much like candy hearts in America, these rice packets have various symbols on them; a pair of chop sticks means “I love you.” A single chop stick means “No thanks,” garlic or red chili means, “Not a chance.” As a young man approaches the girl of his choice, he’ll be presented with his answer. All in all, pretty nerve racking for both parties, but the culture dictates there’ll be no poor behavior if a rejection is made. In addition to the matchmaking, there is a host of side attractions to keep the tourists happy.

You can hear more about this and other celebrations happening around the world every Saturday night on World Music with Deirdre Saravia, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM.

Deirdre as born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and her first paid work was at the age of 10 with the BBC as an actress on "Children's Hour." She continued to perform regularly on radio and stage for the next eight years, at which point she was informed by her parents that theater was not an option and she needed "real" work.