When talking about Longsheng, in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, people are likely to mention the beautiful terraces, but for me it is the local women with their long and black hair who are the locality's most charming feature.
Though Longsheng is only 87 kilometers from Guilin, it is not as mountainous. What interests visitors is the ethnic life style of the local villages.
Longsheng has a population of 167,000, of whom 30,000 are of the Yao Nationality.
On this occasion,we visit a village called Huangluo. This Yao village is located at the foot of a mountain with a beautiful river zig-zagging around it. There are only 60 families, totaling just over 400 residents.
Every evening, when the cooking smoke rises above the houses, the silent village becomes lively. People arrive home with their farming tools, while women gather in the river to wash their hair in the water.
Laughter and singing is everywhere.
One local woman said that in the past the long hair of the local women of the Hongyao Nationality was not allowed to be seen by others, even by husbands and children.
So the women used a long cloth to twist the hair into a knot. During summer and autumn days, Hongyao women used to go down to the river to wash their hair with their women friends. Such traditions ceased in 1987, so now women can comb and wash hair without worrying about being seen.
A local woman named Pan Fenglian said her hair was 1.75 metres long. She was the champion of a long hair competition held in the county.
Long hair is a local tradition. All the Hongyao women can only cut their hair at 16 years old, symbolizing the fact she is an adult who can look for a lover. The hair cut off should not be thrown away, but is rather kept by the grandmother.
When the woman marries, the hair is made into an ornamental headdress and brought to the husband's home as a souvenir.
After a day of laboring, the women play interesting games to kill time. But most games require lots of strength, almost as though they were men's games.
One famous game is called "propping up the pole". Two women prop up one end of a bamboo pole and try to push the competitor back. They seem to enjoy it a lot.