Every year, at the beginning of the lunar year, the Miao of the Ailaoshan celebrate the Caihuashan. Literally meaning "Stepping the Flowery Mountain", it marks the arrival of spring and the beginning of the agricultural year.
The Miao of Ailaoshan farm the steep slopes south of the Red River in Yunnan's southeast. Many of their villages lie high up on the side of the mountains, few of them connected by road. The walk to the nearest market often takes many hours.
But despite the distances, the Miao from neighbouring villages come together once a year to celebrate the arrival of spring, right on the days after Chinese New Year.
The festival ground is marked by a hugh pole, visible from afar. For the special day everybody wears their sunday dress and the children are decked out in the best their families can muster. But it is the girls of marriable age that show off the finest costumes. For them the festival is the best opportunity to find a boyfriend and prospective husband.
For the boys the festival is to show off their strength and courage: climbing the huge and swaying pole is part of it.
Pingbian county holds an annual event in the countytown.