Intangible Cultural Heritages of Huilai


  1. Wooden Carving (National Intangible Cultural Heritage)


In 2008, Wooden Carving was included into the second batch list of National Intangible Cultural Heritage, by the State Council.


Huilai wooden carving is an extension of Chinese wooden carving technique. It was borne since Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty, and become popular and mature during Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty. This technique is often used to decorate architectures, furniture or ritual objects. It has been defined to three categories, namely, relief, hollow carving, stereoscopic carving. The topics of carving are normally collected from local legends, fairy tales, opera or history, mixed with various legendary animals, flowers, trees, figures, landscapes, etc. The master craftsman combines different topics with different carving techniques flexibly to create a complicated storyline on the carving materials. Huilai wooden carving is an important part of Jieyang’s wooden carving, and is famous for its finest carving skill, multi-layer hollowing, 3D appearance and unique style.



  1. Heroic Dance (Guangdong Provincial Intangible Cultural Heritage)


In 2012, Shenquan Heroic Dance was listed into the fourth batch list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong.


Heroic dance is a unique type of popular folk dance in Teochew region, its history in Huilai can go back to more than 400 years ago. The troupe of Shenquan Heroic Dance was created 120 years ago, and continue their performance and heritage until now. Shenquan heroic dance was created in accordance with the popular Chinese fiction “Outlaws of the Marsh”, the dancers will dress up and makeup like the 108 outlaw heroes from the fiction. When the heroic dance performs, the parade of 108 costumed heroes are swinging their weapons uniformly and marching forward, together with the drum beat and lion dance. The whole performance is extraordinary, just like a Chinese dragon soaring above the sea.



When the heroic dance is performing, dancers will apply special technique and use their fingers to control and swing the drumstick. This performance technique is highly skillful and difficult to perform, which is a unique skill that distinguishes Shenquan heroic dance from other dances.


Shenquan heroic dance has unique characteristics of marine culture and rich contents. After the regular performance is finished, the dancers also form the backstage troupe to perform several Teochew cultural repertoires, such as the Salt Trade, Catching Fishes with Net, Fortune Teller Mr. Zhou Bucuo, etc.


Although the heroic dance is only widely spread in Teochew region, its inheritance has integrated with the local regional culture and symbols, which reflecting the diversity of culture and art in their development process.



  1. Lion Dance (Provincial-level Intangible Cultural Heritage)

In 2009, the Stilt Lion Dance was included into the third batch list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong.


Stilt Lion Dance is a type of Chinese traditional dance with 300 years history. Its name comes from the hybrid animal called liger, whose father is lion and mother is tiger. Because the locals always call liger by the name of lion, and also the dancers must wear stilt to perform the dance, so people call it the Stilt Lion Dance.


In the legend, liger is a legendary animal who can exorcise evil and cast out devils. Whenever celebrating the Chinese new year, the local people will perform this dance and make good wish for the next year. In additional, the lion dance has mixed with Chinese martial art to create a unique form of powerful, humorous lion dance. During the performance, all dancers will put on the 2-meter stilts and form a circle to compete with each other. Beside the necessary performance at holidays and Chinese festivals, nearby counties or towns also invite the dance troupe to offer such dance service at non-holiday events.



  1. Nine Crocodile Dance (Provincial-level Intangible Cultural Heritage)


In 2007, Nine Crocodile Dance was listed to the second batch list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong.


The dance is a unique form of folk dance that is very popular in Huilai county. In ancient time, the crocodile dance must be performed during the Spring Equinox and Autumnal Equinox. Later at the Emperor Daoguang of Qing Dynasty, the schedule had been changed to the period from Chinese new year’s eve to the Lantern Festival, and this custom lasts until today.


According to the legend, the great Chinese poet Han Yu of Tang Dynasty was appointed to be the local provincial governor of Chaozhou. After his arrival, he spent great efforts in promoting local education, developing agriculture production, suppressing powerful landlords and eliminating the threat of crocodiles. The local people admired his contributions to the peaceful development of Chaozhou and decided to construct the Shrine of Han Yu and the Tower of Han Yu inside the academy in Yingnei district. During the memorial date of Han Yu, the local people will burn the ancestor money and the paper-made crocodile in the shrine to memorize him. Some kids pick up the unburned paper-made crocodile and play as a toy, later it became the origin of the Nine Crocodile Dance.


The Lamp of Crocodile is a necessary property used during the dance. Local craftsmen use bamboo to fabricate the head and tail of crocodile. The length of the crocodile lamp is 136cm, the wooden stick to hold the lamp is about 60cm long. The lamp is covered with silk paper or fabrics, and placed candle inside the lamp (now people use light bulb and battery instead). Nine performers will wear the hero scarf, green warrior outfit, straw shoes and carry the lamp of crocodile to perform the dance. Following the play of drum, cymbal and gong, dancers will begin their dances and parade forward. The crocodile dance consists of nine smaller dance performances in sequential order. The dancer who hold the crocodile tail lamp is the person in charge of the crocodile dancing and changing formation. Each of nine smaller dance performance showcases different features and emotions of the crocodile, such as their fun playing, arrogant, evil doing, expelling, repentance and reformation. The dance expresses the hope of forsaken the evil actions and return to the path of goodness.


  1. Jinghai Festival Parade (Provincial-level Intangible Cultural Heritage)


In 2009, Jinghai Festival Parade was listed to the third batch list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong.


Jinghai Festival Parade has more than 200 years history. It is held every lunar year, to memorize the establishment of Huilai county. It carries the good wishes that Jinghai people can receive the grace from a kind and justice emperor, both parties can stay in harmony. At the 300th anniversary of the establishment of Huilai county, Jinghai craftsmen had learnt the technique of making festival parade backdrop from the craftsmen of other counties, and they decided to create their own backdrop. After that, whenever there was local festivals or temple fairs, the local people will organize the parade. This tradition was suspended for over 10 years, from the late 1950s to the middle of 1970s, due to special historical period. After China’s opening up, the parade was restored, and Jinghai people began to apply many modern technologies to enhance its magnificence.



  1. Gong Throwing(Provincial-level Intangible Cultural Heritage)

In 2012, Gong Throwing was listed to the fourth batch list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong.


Gong Throwing is a type of Chinese folk art created by the operatic troupe called Little Liyuan, in Bao’nei village, Huilai county. Its history can go back to more than 130 years ago, the early period of Emperor Guangxu of Qing Dynasty.


During the early period of Emperor Guangxu of Qing Dynasty, villagers of Bao’nei village built up the Temple of Guang Yu due to their admiration of the benevolence, righteousness, loyalty and bravery of General Guang Yu. Later they decided to host the worship ceremony of General Guang Yu at the Lantern Festival, and established a permanence troupe of gong and drum playing to accompany the ceremony. After several ceremonies, the troupe members felt that the existing performance is too boring, and then they add the action of throwing gong into the performance. This creative, highly ornamental improvement became very popular and carried down from generation to generation.


  1. Zhuxilou Calendar (Provincial-level Intangible Cultural Heritage)


In 2013, Zhuxilou Calendar was listed to the fifth batch list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong.


In 1911, Zhuxilou Calendar Studio was founded at Xin Stress of Longjiang town, Huilai county. It has the history of over 100 years and passed down four generations. The studio composes Teochew’s own Gregorian calendar and lunar calendar according to local customs and traditions. Local people can look at the calendar and plan their schedule. These calendar also provide strong evidence for the study of the local customs and civil affairs.


In addition to the regular function of calendar, the calendar made by Zhuxilou Calendar Studio contains secret, knowledge and experience of the past, it can simply teach people to predict and choose the date of good fortune and avoid the date of bad luck.


Teochew people use the lunar calendar as a tool book to choose good dates and avoid bad dates for certain important events. Wedding, house building, residence move-in, holiday festivals and other important Teochew events require the local people to preview the calendar and choose a good date and good timing. The knowledge of Zhuxilou calendar had been carried down for four generations. Its calendar and lunar calendar are very practical and popular among Teochew people, and even widely accepted by the locals of Fujian province and the overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asian nations.



  1. God of Fire Worshiping(Provincial-level Intangible Cultural Heritage)


In 2018, God of Fire Worshiping was listed to the seventh batch list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong.


God of Fire Worshiping, also called Jian Jiao, is an unique form of ritual ceremony celebrated by Huilai people. Every ten years, local people will set up the alter and perform the required rituals for worshiping the God of Fire, and they make good wishes, something like the country will be peaceful and prosperous, as well as good harvest or successful business. This tradition was began in 1736, and was suspended in 1946, later this tradition was restored in 2006.


At the 11th year of Emperor Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty, Qiu Yueju was appointed as Huilai’s local governor. He saw that most people in Huilai were living in thatched houses, which were vulnerable to fire. Huilai’s geography is facing the sea with hills on its back, waters won’t be sustained even after the rain storm, the locals called this type of terrain with the name of fire land. Therefore, Governor Qiu decided to built Wenchang Tower at the northeast of the county, and proposed to worship the God of Fire. But soon after he was resigned, this proposal was suspended. Later the new governor Yang arrived, he had approved the proposal of worshiping the God of Fire in November of 1736AD. Since then, the great worship ceremony will be held in the November of every ten year. It was once suspended in 1946, and later this tradition was restored in 2006.


  1. Crane Dance (Provincial-level Intangible Cultural Heritage)


In 2007, Crane Dance was listed to the second batch list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong.


The Crane Dance of Kuitan is a type of folk dance with very long history. Cranes are popular animal favored by Chinese people, who believe that cranes can bring good fortunes to the new year. People often perform the crane dance at the community square or local streets at Chinese new year, lantern festival or other holidays. The dance is quite beautiful and vivid, especially the evening performance is spectacular, people like it very much.


According to an ancient Chinese legend, a powerful demon often harassed and attacked the villages in Huilai, the villagers were under great suffering. A Chinese immortal god came down from the heaven and fought with the demon for seven days and seven nights, and he finally won the battle. Later the supreme god of the heaven sent seven white cranes, each clamped with the flowers of good fortune, to the mountain of the immortal god lived for congratulating his victory. The Su family took this legend as the inspiration, and created a type of group dance called the Crane Dance. At the end of the dance, dancers who are holding lanterns stand in a circle, and seven white cranes stand inside the circle, called “Seven Cranes Return to The Mountain”.


  1. Longjiang Green Bean Cake Making Technique (Provincial-level Intangible Cultural Heritage)


In 2015, Longjiang Green Bean Cake Making Technique was identified to the sixth batch list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong.


This cake making technique was created during the late period of Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty, with the history of more than 280 years. It is a type of traditional Teochew cake making technique that is very popular to the globe. The cake is nice-looking, its surface is cover with golden color oil. Its skin is crispy and its fillings are tasted very good, with delicious smell.


  1. Kang Ning Tang Osteopathic Therapy (Provincial-level Intangible Cultural Heritage)


In 2013, Kang Ning Tang Osteopathic Therapy was identified to the fifth batch list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong.


Kang Ning Tang Osteopathic Therapy is a family heritage that has been passed down for more than 100 years. Relying on doctor’s medical skills, prescription and clinical experience, this therapy allows doctors to rectify patient’s fracture bones and misalignment joints, without the assistance of modern surgery. Later doctor will attach the herbal Chinese medicine patch onto the wound areas, and then strap them with splints. Patients only need to wait until the rehabilitation complete. During the rehabilitation period, it is also necessary to drink the cooked Chinese herbal medicine liquid to accelerate the cure process.


  1. Cai’s Osteopathic Therapy (Provincial-level Intangible Cultural Heritage)


In 2015, Cai’s Osteopathic Therapy was included to the sixth batch list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong.


Cai’s Osteopathic Therapy is a type of pure tradition Chinese medicine treatment for bone fracture, which has been passed down for five generations and has more than 100 years history. In the treatment, according to the patient’s bone dislocation or fractured parts, doctor will apply fracture reduction and adhere the Cai’s homemade herbal medicine onto the wound area, and then use bamboo splint to secure the injured area. During the treatment, patients need to drink herbal medicine soup or homemade medicine wine to speed up the recovery of the injured area and achieve ideal therapeutic result.