1) Local Custom
Zhangjiajie is a world famous tourist city located in the northwest of Hunan province of china, its total population is 1.62 million in accordance to the latest population statistics, nearly half of the them are minorities, including it’s over Tujia, the Bai and the Miao as well as some Hui, Man, Dong and the Yao. So the local custom is quite interesting and different from Han people.The Tujia people have a long history. It is a hard-working and brave ethnic group.
Singing mountain songs is one of the Tujia people's favorite traditional custom, including love songs, war songs and labor songs, etc. Yong boys and girls show love to each other by singing love songs.
Wedding crying is the most important thing in a girl's whole life, the minority people regard wedding crying as the symbol of a girl’s wit and virtue.
The Tujia is also a versatile nationality. The traditional Hand-waving Dance and Xi Lan Ka Pu (A kind of colorful bed cover) are regarded as the best preferable part of Tujias' art. People do Lusheng Dance as well as Bench Dance and Monkey Drum dance here. The ethnic group has their own traditional clothes, according to local chronicles, the Tujia people - both men and women wear a short upper garment and no shoes. They cover their head with a cloth and tend to dye their clothes in a variety of colors. Formerly, theTujia minority wore handmade clothing, which was dyed blue and black. Their clothing style is characterized by the notion: same in trousers, but distinct in the upper wear almost the same trousers-a kind of skirt with colorful trim, which in the late years has been changed into a kind of pants with two or three colorful stripe adorning the trouser legs.
The top part of the Tujia dress is quite different for men and women, and also for the young and old, however. Usually a young man will wear a short jacket with many cloth buttons down the front. A young woman prefers a special top with buttons down the left side, large, short sleeves and a low cut collar. For the part, the elderly like to dress in a more bulky upper garment with buttons down the front; three colorful stripes can be found along the edges of each upper garment.
The minority people do have lots of traditional festivals all year around. The following are some festivals mainly celebrated by the local people every year.
The Spring Festival is the most important and popular festival that start from the 30th day of the 12th lunar month. And the New Year's Eve falls on the 29th of the 12th month of the lunar year, which is one day before the last day of the year. This is quite different from the Han people.
The Lantern Festival falls on the 15th of the Fist month of Lunar year，it is one of the busiest festivals in zhangjiajie, all the people will go out and gather together on the street in the evening on that day, cars and buses are not allowed to run on the street. It is impossible to make a call with your cell phone because of no signal caused by crowds. There are lots of performances such as Dragon Dance, Lion Dance, and local opera，etc.
The torch festival gained the most popularity of the Bai Ethnic Group. At dusk on the 25th day of the 6th lunar month, the Bai people put many torches together and jump over them repeatedly. They pray in this way to the god of Fire to eliminate all the pests hazardous to the farmland and to chase away all evil.
Mid-Autumn Festival is also popular in this area. Like many Chinese, people of the Tujia ethnic group celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. They eat moon cake but are not very keen to appreciate the moon. An interesting activity on this occasion is for people to steal wax gourds and present them to couples who have no children, implying fertility and the delivery of babies to them.
3) Best time to visit
The sceneries in Zhangjiajie differ from season to season, you can have different experiences in different time. We have lots of rain in spring, everything is starting to become green and fresh, the temperature is beautiful during that time, not too cold and too hot.
Spring is good for you if you do not want to meet the crowds. Summer is quite hot and the temperature can reach to 39 degree centigrade, there are lots of domestic tourists due to the summer holiday, the scenery is fantastic and marvelous if you are lucky enough to run into a after-rain scenery.
Autumn is a nice to come, weather is wonderful and not many people.
The mountains look so wonderful when covered by snow in winter, you can see the unique ice engraving, but it is quite cold and freezing, you have to pay much attention when walking.
Zhangjiajie is a big tourist city at home and abroad, there are lots of world-shaking events supported by government here.
On December of 1999, 15 excellent pilots from all over the world performed wonderful stunt flying in the sky above Tianmen mountain, 7 pilots drove plane through the whole of Tianme mountain, on October of 2007, spider men Alan Robert ,who is famous for climbing high buildings and mountains, came here and climbed the left wall of the whole in Tianmen mountain. On May of 2009, zhangjiajie is the host for international country music festival, more than 400 performers from 19 countries and areas gave wonderful memories not only to the local people but also to all the tourists.
On September of 2010, the first international cultural tourism festival was taking place in zhangjiajie, which make zhangjiajie itself become more and more famous. Recently ,the zhangjiajie municipal government is looking for some “Air Girls” as the representatives to 8 big cities, aiming to promote the fresh air in zhangjiajie.etc.
Zhangjiajie is reach in tourist attractions, we have unique mountains, beautiful lakes, marvelous caves and fantastic valleys. The following are some of the hot tourist attractions for all people.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park was established in 1982 by the State Council as the 1st National Forest Park of China, covering an area of 260 sq km, it was put in the list of world heritage by the UNESCO in 1992, and was selected as the first group of world geologist park in 2004. The park is known for its unique landscape with lush forests dominated by quartzite sandstone pillars. You can stay in the park for couple of weeks to explore the real nature.
Tianmen Mountain, a famous mountain first recorded in the history of Zhangjiajie with an elevation of 1518.6 meters. It is 8 kilometers from the downtown and is one of the most representative natural sceneries of Zhangjiajie. For long time being , Tianmen Mountain attracts the attention of the people not only by its miraculous and unique geology and unparalleled landscape, but also well known for its longest cable car in Asia. It is revered as the soul of cultural and spirit of Zhangjiajie and reputed as Number One sacred mountain in western Hunan Province.
Baofeng Lake is a veritable place of graceful mountains and charming waterway and for all the kind ,good gracious and wise people. Baofeng Lake is such a paradise that you would like to visit many times. whether you have been here or not. Located in the high gorges, a body of crystalline and calm water is surrounded by the emerald mountains. The lake is situated part way up the mountain range, 85 meters above the ground, and attains an altitude of 585 meters. Because of its association with the Baofeng Mountain Range, the lake bears the name of Baofeng. With an average depth of 72 meters, Baofeng Lake covers an area of 15 hectares, and can hold 6 million cubic meters of water at full capacity. This water is produced by rainfall, mountain springs and underground streams, and stays emerald all year around, so it is reputed as Paradise in the Human World.
Yellow Dragon Cave is more beautiful than the outside world. Day or night, without fear of rain or wind, all year long, you can delight in its wonderful scenery. The cave is of good beneficial air circulation, and is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Yellow Dragon Cave is one of the foremost scenic areas in Zhangjiajie, and was rated as one of the first 4A National Tourist Attractions in China. it has been honored as a magical karst cave both in China and in the world.etc.
The complicated topography ,the steep cliffs, and the deep gullies as well as the heavy rainful and dense forests provide animals with an excellent environment of surviving and multiplying . according to preliminary investigation there 116 species of vertebrates belonging to 50 families, among which there are three species under first-class state protection included in “The list of animals under Special State Protection” ,and over ten species are under second-class protection. The largest animal population here is rhesus monkey, numbering more than 3,000.
You can find monkeys everywhere when you travel in the forest park. The Chinese giant salamander can be found in some streams and pools. It is also called "Baby Fish", because it sounds like a baby crying with four legs similar to a baby's arms, belonging to the second rank of state-protected animal.
Many giant salamanders inhabit in cool and clean streams and ponds, relying on small fish, crabs, shrimps, frogs, etc. In addition, it was selected as the mascot of Zhangjiajie city in the 2007 Zhangjiajie International Forest Conservation Festival. There are lots of other animals in Zhangjiajie, including Gecko, Trimeresurus stejnegeri, Lachesis mutus, Chinese bamboo partridge, Tragopan temminckii, Chrysolophus pictus, Acridotheres cristatellus, Manis pertadactyla, Lepus sinensis, Callosciurus erythraeus, Hystrix brachyuran, Sus scrofa, and Moschus berezovskii.etc.