A research on dong minority rugby festival (qiang hua pao) and its reflection of social changes in china

Por: Zhiqing Li.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Dong Minority Rugby Festival (Qiang Hua Pao) has been a popular Chinese traditional sporting activity which lasts hundred years. symbolizes propitious and lucky by which villagers contend for their happiness and luckiness through competition of power and intelligence. From the Rugby (Qiang Hua Pao), a ritual ethnic sport, the great social changes of mountain villages in China is able to been seen. Dong Minority Rugby (Qiang Hua Pao) is still alive so far and not only local villagers but people all over the country are still very much interested in the Rugby (Qiang Hua Pao), a sporting form closely related with the special background of cultures corresponding to Dong Minority’s social life through which happy wishes expressed. Apart from the traditional sporting activities during the festival, modern
basketball is one of various sports reflecting, therefore, the harmony of tradition and modernity. Villagers and people not only love to keep traditional sports but accept modern sports.


Cultural anthropological and field working methods are primary in this research cooperated with questionnaire and reference study.


1.As mentioned above, is a folk ritual ethnic sport. Villagers representing different villages are organized yearly to participate competition contending for the Rugby made of iron ring or rattan cannoned up to the sky. The team gained the Rugby is gaining the glorious and happiness for the whole village which it representing, moreover, the success of the village will be further demonstrated in a grand parade since each village gaining the Rugby has to organize and ceremony called "Returning of the Rugby" next year. 2.Dong Minority Rugby (Qiang Hua Pao) has been constructed and than transferred from a local ceremony to minority ceremony, and further to one of formal competitive sports in national sports conference for minorities symbolizing national unity. 3.Dong Minority Rugby (Qiang Hua Pao) has been up and down several times with the different political situations of the country. 4.Up and downs of Dong Minority Rugby organizers in their daily life shows the changes of Dong Minority social structures. The current persons in charge of the Rugby organization are the old (Zailao), the most knowledgeable, honesty, prestigious old men. The authority of Zailao has been not only restored but strengthen by the Rugby organizing with the end of Cultural Revolution and the eventual recovery of the traditional believing, customs, and order of Dong Minority. 5.Villages always maintain their believing in the Rugby no matter how political situations change though the wishes purchase rich materials varies from time to time. 6.Information transmit of the Rugby also shows the changes of life style of Dong Minority symbolizing the co-existent of tradition and modernity. 7.The embarrassing that Ruby is facing at the moment explains the Dong Minority has not got used to the economic transferring from planning to marketing. the Dong Minority is still unaware of the potential commercial and profiting values that Rugby Festival possesses so that limited fund from both local government and villages themselves are collected for the Festival. The Rugby used to be held once a year has to be changed to once every 4 years due to the unoptimistic financial situation.

Discussion / Conclusions

The history of Dong Rugby is a mirror reflecting the development of modern sports just as many Olympic sports originated from folk sports as well. The relationship between the fate of Dong Rugby and polity of the country expresses the social conformity is rather strong even the remote mountain villages in minority areas on one hand, but the traditional folk cultures also exhibit their tenacious especially those ceremonial minority sports are witnessed their indomitable life-forces. Both the establishment of the Association for seniors and the organizing rolls it play in the Rugby Festival eco the conclusion made by so many anthropologists that the strong lashes brought by "opening door" policy after the completion of people’s community system in China would push villages back to traditional cultures to a certain extent.


[1]. Gu Yuhua (2000) The Ceremony and Social Changes [M] Beijing Press for social science reference
[2]. Zhang Letian (1997) Strategy and Management
[3]. Dirks, Nicholas B., et al. Culture. Power History Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press 1994, 155-199.
[4]. Zhen Xiaoyun (2000)Thinking,2, 65-70.
[5]. Weng Naiqun (1999) Sociology Research, 6, 67-78



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