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Stories of The Chashan
article selected from
Travel China
weekly
The Chashan people, a branch of the Jingpo ethnic group, have lived in Pianma for generations. It is a virgin land in the mountainous area of northwest Yunnan Province.
The people are diligent and hospitable; they have their own spoken language, but no written languages; they have their own folklore and customs, many of which are old traditions such as unique accessories, simple but solemn wedding ceremonies, and the habit of house building.

Chasan people do not have many festivals. During them, however, all villagers will take out wines to celebrate, and young people gather to sing and dance, and seek an opportunity for dating.

The wedding ceremony of the Chashan people is simple and solemn. The man's parents usually invite an old couple to be matchmakers and to take presents to the girl's family. If the girl agrees, she will accept the presents. After engagement, the matchmaker will take presents to the girl's family again to discuss the date of wedding. After that, both sides start to prepare for the wedding.

On the day of the wedding, the bridegroom will pull an ox, carry eggs, pork, and rice to the bride's family to welcome the girl by beating drums and striking gongs. The girl's family will kill pigs and cattle to entertain relatives and friends who come to the wedding. After the ceremony, all young men and women, together with the couple, sing and dance until the next morning to celebrate the marriage.
The bridegroom lives in bride's home for two days and then takes his wife back to his home. At that time, the bride's family will return gifts of cattle, quilts and clothing. The bridegroom's family holds a banquet for the couple prepare presents to visit the bride's parents to express their thanks.

Building a house is a big event for the Chashan people. All villagers will come and help. It takes only one day to finish the wooden house. After completion, the host comes to the courtyard to shoot three times with his powder gun into the shy to announce the successful completion. Then, the host leads all family members to the entrance to wait for the arrival of guests. All villagers will come to congratulate with presents. The host presents every guests with a bowl of polished glutinous rice and other delicious dishes. Elderly people tell old stories on building houses in an attempt to educate young people to inherit the tradition and to unite like the polished glutinous rice.

Chashan people have their own primitive religion. They worship the God of Heaven, God of the Mountain and their ancestors. On big festivals, they kill pigs and hens as sacrifices to the gods. Some of the Chashan people believe in Christianity, a result of a church built in 1984.

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