Xiang'an Paixiong (Chest-slapping) Dance
This traditional dance involving chest slapping has been passed down in South Fujian since the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) and was introduced to Xiang'an District of Xiamen from Jinjiang (a county-level city of the neighboring Quanzhou City).
The Paixiong dance is performed by shirtless and barefoot men wearing grass wreaths on their heads. The main dance movements involve squatting while using hands to slap the chest, ribs, legs and palms in turn, and heads nodding away contentedly.
The tempo and fervor of the movements changes according to the ambience and mood. When the atmosphere is high-spirited and intense, dancers pound both feet on the floor repeatedly, and slap their chests, ribs and whole bodies with such vigor until they turn red. When the mood is soothing and pleasant, they stroke their chests, flipping their palms while twisting their waists and wiggling their hips, with gentle yet amusing movements, which presents a lively and entertaining performance.
The grass wreaths the performers wear on their heads are a snake-shaped headdress, retaining a legacy of snake totem worship that was common in the indigenous Minyue ethnic groups during the Qin and Han dynasties (221 B.C.-220 A.D.). It is regarded as the “living fossil” of traditional folk dance.