China's Minority Peoples - The Vas

2013-1-9 15:01:00 From:

The Va population is 351.974.They make their homes in Ximeng, Cangyuan, Mengiian, and Gengma counties in the southwest of Yunnan Province.

The Va area, located in the southern foothills of the Nushan Mountains and between the Lanchang and Sarun rivers, is called the Awa Mountain Region. This solitary area with few flatland has a complicate climate, but yields abundant of cash plants and is an ideal home of many rare wild animals such as tiger, Leopard, bear, wild boar, and roe deer.

The Vas call themselves Awa. In the Zhou and Qin dynasties, they made up a branch of Baipu. Later in the Qing Dynasty, they were called "Gala", "Hawa" or "Kawa". Since the founding of new China, they have been generally called the Va Nationality, meaning "mountaineers".

The Va language belongs to the Austro-Asiatic family. It had no written script until the 1950s. Throughout their history, the Vas kept records by making notches on wood.

The Vas basically rely on farming. They love drinking and chewing betel nuts that tint their teeth black and lips red. The Vas drink with bamboo tubes. Whenever there is a festival, wedding, funeral, reception or discussion, wine must be served according to the traditional rites. Hence the saying goes that there's no ceremony without wine.

The Vas are good singers and dancers. The most popular are the Circle Donee and the Mortar & Pestle Dance. When the Circle Dance starts, people, no matter men or women, young or old, dance and sing hand in hand with sprightly rhythm, dance and sing hand in nanu wiai, are anecnul rhythm.


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