About 20 kilometers
away from the county center of Rongjiang lies Zaidang village surrounded
by mountains. The erect old maple trees, murmuring creek and beautiful
local scenery of farmlands form the unique picture of the village.
The Dong people living here belong to the Miaolanzaidong tribe which
is one of the six biggist branches of Dong. They not only have the
peculiar character in their custumes but also keep the tranditional
construction of Dong people. what's more their customes are well
kept. Dong people are famous for the Big songs. The lyrics of the
songs are mainly about love stories, the stories of Dong hero, the
real life and history as well as the beautiful nature. The famale
big song is slender and lyrical while the male big song is deep
and powerful. When performing, there is usually a woman leading
the song, then followed by the chorus. The free rhythm and changeable
tunes are performed in harmony mading the big song a treasure in
the musical world.
When walking on the
blue flagstone stone streets in the village, you will have a feeling
of sobriety and primitive simplicit of the village. The construction
of Dong people kept their trandition very well, and the houses with
wooden balusrade show the features of constuction of Dong people
perfectly. They are wooden structured with the height of about 2
meters and width of about 1 meter. The first floor is used to raise
livestocks or to store firywoods. People usually live in the second
The Dong's drum tower in Zaidang village built in the Qing dynasty
is majestic and unique structured. The flower window can be seen
on the lowest floor of the drum tower with the patterns of various
flowers and birds.
Zaidang Dong village
is known as "the ocean of songs". The famous big song
is so wonderful and the custom of Dong people is also very interesting.
To take their custom of the marrage for exemple: during the ceremony
of their wedding, the bride and the bridegroom do not do obeisance
to parents and the shire they don't spend the night together either.
Some couples would spend several days together and then the bride
would come back to her own family. She was called back by the families
of the bridegroom during the busy seasons of farm work or on the
festivals.After that the bride would come backe to her family again.
When the bride was found pregnant , she can live with her husband.
For Dong people,
there is the custom called "Jisa". "sa"is the
respected goddess called "sax sis" or "sax mags"
who can guarantee the security of the villagers and make the livestock
grow very well even determine everything. The activitiy "Jisa"
,inherited from the period of matriarchal clan socioty is to memorize
the goddess. Tea, wine, meat, dishes,ghost money paper and candles
are usually carried for sacrifice. When finished, people would have
a meal together. Then, the married women would be hand in hand to
form a circle and sing the folk song called "Duoye" in
order to pay the tribute to "Sax mags"and to wish her
longevity so as to save villagers.
Except for "Jisa",
another festival called Washing buffalo festival is worth knowing
that is also called sacrifice buffalo or washing the body of buffalo.
It is on the sixth day of the sixth lunar calendar. On the festival,
people would kill chicken or ducks to sacrifice the buffalo divinity
in order to impetrate auspiciousness and good fortune. To kill chiken
or ducks depends on the buffalo they feed. If the family raise water
buffalo,they will kill duck because duck can stay in the river as
the water buffalo. And, the chiken will be killed for sacrifice
if the yellow buffalo that usually live on the land is raised in
the family. On the festival, the water buffalo will be pulled to
the river to wash dirts on her body. It is said that such activity
is for the people to express thanks to the buffalo who comtributes
a lot to the villagers' farm work.. Therefor, the Washing buffalo
festival became one of the popular festivals among Dong people.