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National Culture and Customs of Nayong

Author:zxm    From:   Time:2017-06-14   Browse:   Size:  Big  Middle  Small

National Culture and Customs of Nayong

 

Chuanqing Culture of “Dance with Lanternsin Nayong

 

By Wang Yan

 

“Dance with Lanterns” is a unique national folk culture among Chuanqing people. It is payed mainly in the way of speaking vernacular of Chinese local dialect with dance, which interpretates the local people’s folklore and customs and reflects one of the important sides in the county’s national culture. Early from the Ming and Qing Dynasties to the period of the Republic of China, Chuanqing lived with rich and colorful styles of national culture and folk customs, but with the influence of social development and ethnic assimilation, the style of Chuanqing’s clothes & accessories had been disappearing gradually. Only the culture of “Dance with Lantern” With the theme of masses’ cultural life has been extended and developed in human’s unceasing reform. Among the most closely watched and favorite programs in spring festivals, the existence and development of “Dance with Lantern”makes the Chuanqing culture a higher place.

Lantern is one of the Chinese entertainment activities in Spring Festival. Before the Spring Festival in mid of the twelfth month of the lunar year, the people prepare the lanterns, light them on and get ready for rehearsals. After the new year’s day, they take out the lanterns and get ready to accept the invitation to sing. Then in the Lantern Festival they take back the lanterns. The group start to practise before new year’s days. During the new year’s days,the members are appointed to perform. The persons who make appointment will finance for the expenses of lamp-oil with profits and prepare foods for enjoy. Then the lantern group organize their members. They will buy or tie four lanterns for lighting and exciting. In the parade,the members who carry the lanterns will light for the clowns and Dans (fairy roles of females and males)with playing of beating gongs and drums. After going into the inviter’s room, the players will stand at the four corners to light on the room for performance.

It is said that the immortals also descend to the world to celebrate the new years in Spring Festivals. After accepting and playing the lanterns, everything is as one wishes in the countrysides in the year with the domestic animals all thriving and the harvest of all crops abundant. So during the Spring Festival there are more and more families who accept the lanterns.

When the group get to the doors of the hosts who need singing, the hosts set off firecrackers and special celebration starts with the players beating drums and clanging gongs.After the hosts light up the joss sticks and lamps,one experienced player in the group works in with the hosts to close the door. Then the player outside who plays the role of male immortal will knock at the door strongly and shout “open the door, open the door, open the door quickly”with the answer inside “Who is outside?”.Then continue the dialogues:

Gold star from sky.”

What do you want to do?

“Step on your doorsill for fortune.

“What have you brought here?”

“Animal sacrifice of chickens,ducks,geese,horses and cattle,treasures of gold and silver, grains of corn and rice,several rich bosses,several college students.”

For the last question, if the hosts have unmarried guys, the answers will be “virtuous young woman” and if the hosts have not given birth to sons, “several little boys”. As a matter of fact, the answer will be “everything you need can be brought here”.

When the door is openened,the conference will be:“door is openened with rolling in treasures and livestocks When the male immortal gets into the room, the conference will beenter the door with left foot,birth of healthy babies and right foot, honourable descendants. From tonight on afer playing lanterns, bring in wealth and treasure every day.Then the male and female immortals step into the room together.The two move around change the places from each other, make a bow with hands folded in front and pay respects to the donors and gods with singing the folowing:

“for one thing to visit the local land, local god of the land stabilizes the family, and turn to worship the door with singing.”

“For another the donors have a flourishing population, and the descendants from generation to generation obtain Hanlin.”

After paying the respects,the players will tear the lantern paper open and carry the lanterns into the room and stand in the four corners. Then all the players enter the room and nice cups of tea and cigarettes will be served by the hosts to be ready to pound on the gongs and drums when the audience get surrounded later.

The male immortal appears on the scene to congratulate the day: “today we are here in the family in Nayong County, we play lanterns; May we be the first to congratulate the hosts, from now on men and women, old and young enjoy happinesses;Best tending the next generation and the descendants from generation to generation enter the universities; Best jobs assigned for them and every of them will contribute to the motherland’s construction. You manage chemical fertilizer and the fields are hunger for you. Good harvests are produced for fields are contracted and the urban and rural live a good life. ”

After the congratulations, concert activities will be arranged. The song will be sung in leading,antiphonal and chorus, which is accompanied with dance. To provoke laughter,the male and female immortals will play contredanses, round dance, walk dance, string dance, veil dance and fan dance, all in all to present man’s interesting episodes and sing the praises of the new trend of the times.When players walk out the door, the donors will bid farewell to them by setting off fireworks and the players express their thanks by pounding on the gongs and drums and then march to the next family.

If a family invites the lanterns for the fate (giving no birth to sons), the lantern group will select a fortunate hour and a lucky day and the leading player will arrange two dolls molded with rice flour(implied the meaning of twin sons) in front of the donor’s shrine and sing with best wishes for the god’s theophany to help the donor give birth to sons.

After that, the players pound on the gongs and drums with setting off fireworks and send the lanterns to the donor’s living room. Then the audience and players will be ready to congratulate and break for a meal. Under the host’s arrangement, the players begin to sing programs on their booklet with rolling-over the lanterns.The female immortal then brings the flour dolls to the couple’s bedside and sing with best wishes. After putting down the flour dolls,she carries in breast them to the bed and let them “sleep” well on it.With all finished, the players black out and take back the lanterns , enjoining the couple to cook the dolls and finish them in a meal. After the meal, the wife will be bloated,which implies that she is pregnant. The lanterns will be arranged for hanging on and on New Year’s Days or other festivals ,add oil to light them up.

After the wife becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son, the host’s will prepare to announce good news with gifts to the leading player. The leading player will call together all the players to raise expenses to buy clothing and other articles of daily use,and choose an exact day to send to the host’s to congratulate on the happy occasion. In that day,the host’s will give a fancy banquet for the players and the other guests who come for congratulations. The leading player leads the other players to toast the family with vinegar wine mutually to congratulate the newborn baby to grow up quickly, being enrolled in schools,passing the imperial exams and the name being put on the published list of successful candidates.

In the fifteenth day of the first month of Lunar Year,if there is no family inviting the lanterns,the players will take back their lanterns. All songs in the booklet should be finished, or genie of the lanterns will make the players insane. So players are very cautious about this. That is why the group should be guided by a taoist priest who has ever practised at this post.

After taking back the lanterns, all dressed players will be divided into several rows and bow down in front of the shrine with knees wrapped, celebrating the Chinese New Year and the fifteenth day of the first month of Lunar Year and praying to the god for smooth playing of the lanterns with joy and satisfaction. Then they “Bid farewell to” the immortals to be back to the palace and the next year get them back for a more exciting celebration. Later, the leader distributes reasonably the money(cary) collected to the players and then they play the finger-guessing game to kiss the cups satisfactorily. When the chirdren have been brought up, families on good conditions will find journeymen to tie lanterns to be ready to entertain.They will choose an auspicious day in the new year to hold a singing ceremony for redeeming a vow to the lantern god.

Today in the development and prosperity of the national culture, it is of great urgency to strengthen the integration development of national culture and tourism,which will inject new vitality and enchantment to the county’s development of tourism economy. In doing so, it is important to recommend “Dance with Lanternsactively as an attraction of intangible cultural heritage,inherit and protect it and show the body performance in the national culture and tourism of Chuanqing.

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