For some women around the world, a fresh new hairstyle is cause for celebration. As Mashable reports, female members of China's Red Yao ethnic group, who live in the Huangluo Yao Village in Guangxi Zhuang, China, gather together once a year by the Jinjiang River to wash their locks in an annual festival.

Once considered too sacred to be seen by anyone except for a woman's family, long hair is believed to bring family wealth, success, and luck. The Red Yao typically bind their hair—which can reach lengths of more than 6 feet—under head scarves, but at the festival they let their strands loose, washing them with fermented rice water, and combing them straight. As for haircuts, those occur even less frequently: Red Yao women reportedly only cut their hair once in their lifetime, when they're finally ready to get married.

You can view some photos below:

All photos courtesy of Erwyn van der Meer, via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0