Meet The Long-Haired Rapunzels of Guangxi Province in China

The secret of black and long hair of Yao girls in Guangxi, China

Huangluo Village Long Hair Tribe by Xiquinho Silva via Flickr

This Red Yao Tribe Has the Longest Hair in the World

Huangluo Village, or Huangluo Yao Village, is a recognized village in Guilin City, China. Like other Yao ethnic villages along the Longji Rice Terraces Scenic Area, this village is not well-known for its stunning scenery. Large groups of visitors flock to the village to see the Red Yao women in traditional ethnic clothing and comb their long hair.

Red Yao Village Chief by Huascar80 via Wikipedia cc
Red Yao Village Chief by Huascar80 via Wikipedia cc

The villagers, called Hong Yao, wear traditional ethnic clothing in the bold colors of red and black, hence their nickname, the Red Yao. These clothing are shown off, especially during the Sun Clothes Festival. The Hong Yao lives in pine cabins and thatched cottages.

Long ago, stories and superstitions say that if a man were to see an unmarried woman with her hair down, he would have to serve the woman’s family for three years. Now, visitors can see the women comb their long hair from the balcony of these cabins and cottages. The Yao nationality is distributed across China and the Guangxi Province is where the largest population of the Yao people live.

Tourists came to Huang Luo Yao village, Yao girls who dressed in national costumes will line up and sweetly singing folk songs, offer their own dance and traditional sports project to welcome their guests. by shankar s via Wikipedia cc
Tourists came to Huang Luo Yao village, Yao girls dressed in national costumes will line up and sweetly sing folk songs, offering their own dance and traditional sports project to welcome their guests. By Shankar s. from Dubai, United Arab Emirates – The action slows down off and on, CC BY 2.0, cc

However, this tradition of keeping the women’s hair long does not apply to every woman. Some women abandon this tradition, but the elders are accepting and receptive to it.

Local and international visitors can see the village year-round. The best time to visit the Huangluo Village is on the sixth day of the sixth month of the lunar calendar. During this day, the Huangluo Village celebrates the Sun Clothes Festival and performs dance compositions in their traditional ethnic clothing. Mother and daughter duos, along with other female villagers, perform at least twice a day, depending on the volume of tourists. The ticket sales on these performances contribute to the livelihood of the villagers.

Huangluo Village is a two-hour drive from Guilin City. Visitors are advised to take a private vehicle or a coach because the village lacks convenient and direct public transportation to and from the main city.

Why Is Huangluo Village Called The “Long Hair Village”?

Huangluo Village has made its mark in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the “World’s Longest Hair Village” with the longest hair recorded in the village at almost seven feet long back in 2004. These long locks are the most prized possession of the women in this village. It is normal for women to have their hair as long as five feet and weigh as heavy as two pounds.

The women of Huangluo Village believe that the length of one’s hair is related to their beauty and the longevity and prosperity of their life. It is a sacred inheritance of tradition that has persevered for the past three thousand years.

The long hair dance by Shankar S via Wikipedia cc
The long hair dance by Shankar S via Wikipedia cc

Can These Women Cut Their Hair?

Throughout a woman’s life, she only cuts her hair once, at her coming-of-age ceremony at eighteen years old. After the woman’s marriage and childbirth, two bunches of hair will be added to her head; one is the cutoff hair from her coming-of-age ceremony and the other is the hair that falls off of their comb every day. Her hair will be worn in a bun which represents children.

Huangluo Village Long Hair Tribe by Xiquinho Silva via Flickr
Huangluo Village Long Hair Tribe by Xiquinho Silva via Flickr

What Is Their Secret to Having Healthy Long Hair?

The women of Huangluo Village wash their hair every three days using fermented rice.

In a large clay pot, rice and water are combined to boil. Pomelo peels, tea bran, ground fleece flower root, and muddled ginger are added to the mixture. After the mixture has boiled and cooled down, the large particles are strained out from a sealed container. This mixture is left to ferment in the sealed container for the next three to four days.

Aside from the length of their hair, the Red Yao women of the village are famous for their obsidian black hair. Even at their senior age, the hair doesn’t turn grey in color. The shampoo made from fermented rice helps their hair from turning grey and makes the scalps and hair healthier.

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