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The folk customs of the Jing Nationality in Fangchenggang

(fcgs.news.cn) 2014-11-28

With its unique living and ethnic customs, and found mainly scattered on the three islands of Wanwei, Wutou and Shanxin in Fangchenggang City, the Jing nationality is one of the minorities along the coast of the South China Sea.

The most remarkable features of the Jing are characterized by performances of “singing of Ha Songs”, the “bamboo pole dance”, and the “single-string instrument”, which are reputed to be the three sparkling pearls of the traditional culture of the Jing nationality.

“Singing of Ha Songs” is sung by “Sister Ha” and the singing is accompanied by “Brother Ha”, with its contents covering many topics such as legends, folk customs, paying tribute to the Gods, and love songs.

The most distinctive feature is that a maiden of the Jing nationality is capable of holding three candles on her two hands and forehead while singing and dancing. The flames of the candle keep flickering, thus gaining for itself a name: “light dancing”.

Bamboo pole dancing is an activity performed by fishermen of the Jing nationality in celebration of festivals or after a bumper harvest. Two long bamboo poles are placed in parallel on the ground, and eight bamboo poles, divided into four pairs are placed on top of them. They are manipulated by eight young men squatting facing each other.

They close or open the poles in their hands in response to the drum beats, with young maidens jumping between them so as to avoid their feet from being touched by the poles. The single-stringed instrument is an ancient folk vibrating-string musical instrument, which is renowned for its rich tones from a simple structure and charming timbre.

It features a small volume, but its tone is characterized with elegance. When playing this instrument, the player uses a small bamboo chip for strumming the string, and the vibration of this single-string can depict such scenes as a hundred birds paying homage to the Sun.

The gentle and lingering tones can symbolize fish swimming in the blue sea, with a vast cloudless sky above them. Sometimes, it also denotes the sounds of the ocean lapping against the bank.

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