Ancient and mysterious, China, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, is now moving at breakneck speed into the 21st century. Along with all the modernization, parts of this magnificent country still move at a pace only slightly different than centuries ago. The 55 ethnic minority groups inhabit mainly the Yunnan and Guizhou provinces of southwest China.
The Miao are one of the oldest of the minorities, dating back at least 4000 years. The sub-groups within the Miao community vary from one another in many ways, including language, religion, costume and agriculture. Famous for their more than 100 annual festivals, their dancing, drumming, magnificent costumes and consumption of rice wine creates an infectious party atmosphere. The festivals are also a time for matchmaking as well as paying homage to their ancestors and gods. Girls bedecked in their finest silver dance for hours at a time to the slow rhythmic beat of ancient musical instruments.