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Bouyei people worship mountain spirits

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2017-04-11

Bouyei people worship mountain spirits

Bouyei people play trumpets on Sanyuesan to welcome guests to Duimenshan village, Guizhou province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn by Guo Zeyu]

Bouyei people from all over China gathered on March 30 in Duimenshan village, Guizhou province, for a ceremony to worship mountain spirits, or sanyuesan, colloquially referred to as lunar March 3.

Sanyuesan is a traditional Bouyei festival with a history of over 1,000 years. The sanyuesan ceremony has been preserved by Bouyei people in Zhenfeng county, Guizhou province, and was included in the third batch of national intangible cultural heritage by the State Council in 2011.

Ancient Bouyei culture has been passed down in Duimenshan village. Preserved in the village are two bronze drums, the most precious percussion instruments of Bouyei people, which can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Bouyei people in traditional costumes line up at the entrance to Duimenshan to welcome guests, holding cups full of rice wine and singing Bouyei songs. Led by a mogong, a male priest, the Bouyei people exorcise evil spirits by wielding grass dragons and dripping beans from door to door before the worship ceremony.

Only the patriarchs of each family are allowed to attend the ceremony at the Mountain Temple in Duimenshan. Other villagers waiting in the mountains cannot go home until they receive signals. Strangers are forbidden to approach sacrificial areas.

The village head hosts the ceremony of worship for mountain spirits. Worship personnel burn incense, kowtow and pray for a good harvest and safety by sacrificing chickens and pigs. The village rules are reasserted at the ceremony, mainly about forest protection and avoiding fires. These rules express the Bouyeis’ thanks to nature.

The Bouyei people joined in several entertainments after the ceremony, including a Bouyei song competition and a costume exhibition.

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