Spring Festival vibes in the village: Hundred family feast in Sanjiang
By Matthew Watson
03:16

The wooden architecture of the Dong people in Sanjiang, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, did not disappoint. Entering Guanxiao Village, you pass through impressive wooden homes built from local fir trees. The moss-covered stairs leading to the village's main reception area showcase detailed stone patterns and a multi-tiered drum tower looms over you at the pinnacle. Gazing from the top, you can see dozens of homes spread across the lush mountains. 

Women from the Dong ethnic group welcome guests with festive songs before the feast in Guanxiao Village, Sanjiang, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, January 27, 2019. /CGTN Photo

Women from the Dong ethnic group welcome guests with festive songs before the feast in Guanxiao Village, Sanjiang, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, January 27, 2019. /CGTN Photo

The Dong roll out the red carpet for their guests. A performance complete with songs, dances and plenty of lusheng – a woodwind instrument made of bamboo that is popular in the area – kicked off the festivities. The performers acted out the Dong's traditional way of life, from making thread and clothing to cooking food. As I learned later, the traditional spinning wheels used cotton cultivated in the nearby hills and their vibrant clothes were dyed with local indigo.

An aerial shot of Guanxiao Village during the hundred family feast in Sanjiang, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, January 27, 2019. /CGTN Photo

An aerial shot of Guanxiao Village during the hundred family feast in Sanjiang, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, January 27, 2019. /CGTN Photo

The main attraction was undoubtedly the "hundred family feast." Residents were seen carrying dish after dish to the reception area as the meal time approached. Shi Baodong, a member of the Dong ethnic group, said the name comes from the 100 or so families who contribute to the feast. The tradition has endured for some 400 years. Rows of tables were filled with tasty local cuisine. But instead of sitting down to enjoy this buffet, diners bounced from table to table to try every dish possible and converse with fellow diners. 

CGTN's Matthew Watson trying a waterfall of rice wine in Guanxiao Village, Sanjiang, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, January 27, 2019. /CGTN Photo

CGTN's Matthew Watson trying a waterfall of rice wine in Guanxiao Village, Sanjiang, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, January 27, 2019. /CGTN Photo

And, of course, no meal would be complete without a waterfall of rice wine. As Shi informed me, it's a tradition that I must try. After drinking the local spirit for two songs, trying my hand at weaving and making rice cakes, I think I can say I've had the full Spring Festival experience in Sanjiang.