There are many different cultural groups in China. The minority people groups of the Northwest Region have their own distinct folk songs, courtship traditions and festivals. The most typical tradition in Northwest China is the “Hua’er,” or Flower Ballad. The Hua’er Festival is where this type of singing can be heard in abundance. Yu’s Garden Chinese Restaurant of Glen Ellyn, Illinois would like to introduce you to this tradition.
The Hua’er Festival is thought to have begun during the Ming dynasty. It is most prevalent among the minority people groups of Northwest China. The most famous of the festivals is held on Wufeng Mountain, outside of Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province. The people will gather from the villages and the city hiking up the mountain to the temple and the location of the festival. Although held in close proximity to a Tibetan Temple, it is less a religious festival and more of a cultural festival. The vendors from the city and villages will set up on the paths to the festival, sometimes making up to half of their yearly income during the week.
Once at the location, usually a wooded area, the participants will start the question and response singing that hallmarks the Hua’er ballads. Typically the men will sing the question and the women will sing the response. In earlier days, this was how the courting tradition would begin. After the festival, the men would then seek out the women that responded to their songs. Some couples in the rural areas will still refer to the festival where they met their spouse. In 2009 the Hua’er was added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Come to Yu’s Garden Chinese Restaurant and enjoy the cuisine of China and our diverse traditions. Our rich cultural heritage is represented in the different dishes that are served in our restaurant. So bring in your spouse or the one you want to impress and share a meal at Yu’s Garden Chinese Restaurant… maybe you can start your own Hua’er question and response ballads…
Call us at 630-439-1535 or visit our website to order from our take-out and delivery menu.