Wurigong Festival of Hezhen Ethnic Group
Wurigong— Newly-born Festival
The “Wurigong” Festival, meaning fun day or sports meeting, is a new holiday created in 1985. It is biennially held in May or June (in the Chinese lunar calendar), and lasts for three days. The Hezhes’ compact communities take turns to hold the festival. Competitive activities such as swimming, boating, net-casting, push-and-pulling, straw fish forking, straw target shooting and toxophily are held during daytime. Among them, spearing weed balls is the most characteristic. It is the drilling and reusing of the fish-spearing skills on land. The weed ball is made of enlaced wet weeds and is football-sized. There are two kinds of games. One is as follows: the participants stand after the same line in turn to throw the spear, which is a wooden one of two meter long with three prongs, to the balls some distance away from them.
The winner is the one who spears the ball. The other kind of game is as follows: the participants are divided into two teams. Team one throw the ball into the air, and team two are required to spear the ball before it gets down to the earth. If team two does it successfully, they may walk forward by fifteen to twenty paces; if they fail, they have to walk backward the same distance. Then they do it the other way round. The winner is the one that get to the finishing line first. At night, people make piles of bonfires by the riverside. They hold banquets where they eat and drink together, and a singing and dancing evening. In the celebration, they dance swan dance, Shamanism dance, osprey dance, and they dance to the beats of the divine drum as well. They dance zealously and yeastily to their tuneful folksongs. There are more than ten kinds of folk songs of Hezhe nationality.
The context covers all aspects of life, such as epithalamium, sad melody, ancient melody, fishing melody, hunting melody, etiquette melody, love songs, cradle songs, narrative songs, new folk songs, and so on. The one that women prefer is “jialingkuo”, something like a folk canzonet. “Yimakan”, a kind of saying and singing of the folk culture, like dagu (the story-telling with drum accompaniment) in the northern part of China, is what the old men like most. It bears the characteristics of epics in norm. The villages of Hezhe nationality are brimmed with gaiety, with the watery moon hanging in the sky and needfire brightly lit.
On March 11th, 2001,the compatriots of Hezhe nationality in Beijing held the first Wurigong solidity, with over a hundred of masses of every nationality attending it. Despite the small population of Hezhe nationality, it boasts plenty of people of ability, among them are representatives of the National People’s Congress, vocalist, terpsichoreans, and entrepreneurs.
In the Wurigong Festival of recent years, representatives of Russian Nanai nationality were invited. The old men who spoke Hezhe language could communicate with them face to face directly, to learn from each other and to enhance the friendship between them.