Residing in the remote mountainous areas of southwestern China, Miao Hmong people respect and worship ox. They think ox is auspicious animal which can bring them good luck. The image of ox always appears in their handcrafted embroidery, batik, and silver jewels. In Chinese zodiac, the year of ox is regarded by Miao Hmong people as the best year.
But in many other parts of China, people like the year of tiger best. Why do Miao favor ox? Here is a story.
The Myth about the Fight between Ox and Tiger
A long, long time ago an ox and a tiger were neighbors living in a mountain. They both had great strength. One day they wanted to have a fight to see who was the strongest. So they prepared themselves for seven days before the fight. Every day the tiger was busy wrapping his body with canes layer upon layer, while the ox rolled himself in the mud, and then dry himself under the sun.
Seven days later, they wore their special armor to start the fight. The tiger pounced on the ox, trying to bite it, but only gnawed at a little dust from the dried mud covering the ox’s body. The ox then used his sharp horns to easily break the canes on the body of the tiger, and almost broke the tiger’s belly. The tiger got so scared that he had to cry.
Since then, ox was regarded as a hero in Miao Hmong culture. People think ox can protect them, and give them peaceful life. They adorn their gates with a piece of ox horn-shaped wood, which can ward off evil spirits.
Images of Ox Can Be Seen Everywhere in Miao Life
Images of ox are widely used in embroidery, silver jewelry, and batik. Some Miao women wear a big silver headdress in the shape of an ox horn, which is regarded as the symbol of wealth. Others have ox horn shaped wooden comb adorned on their hair. Miao even have Bullfight Festival every year to celebrate harvest.
When you visit a Miao Hmong village, the local people will wear their handmade ethnic costumes and silver jewelries, and welcome you at the gate of their village with wine contained in a horn-shaped cup. The wine is made with glutinous rice. It is delicious, but quite strong. Don’t hold the cup yourself; otherwise you will have to finish the whole cup of wine.
by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com
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