盘王节, November 15 – November 15th is Panwang Jie (盘王节 Pán wáng jié), or the Festival of King Pan, celebrated by the Yao ethnic group. Legend has it that long ago the dragon-dog Pan Hu brought King Ping of Yao Mountain the severed head of Ping’s greatest rival. The dog was after the hand of Ping’s most beautiful daughter, which Pan Hu was awarded.
After being anointed King Pan, he and the princess had six sons and six daughters, who went on to sire the ancestors of the twelve Yao clans. No longer a dragon-dog, King Pan fell to his death after being butted off a cliff by an antelope, so on this day—his birthday—his children would return to the cliff to sing songs and dance in remembrance of him. These children all went on to live prosperous lives, which they credit to their unwavering filialness to their father.
This tradition of remembering King Pan was kept up over the generations, and has become a major holiday for the Yao people. They celebrate in many ways, such as dancing “the Dance of King Pan” and singing “the Song of King Pan,” and, as they already do throughout the year, refraining from eating dog. After all, it could be a cousin! – K.D.