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Tibetan adult girl ceremony

The Tibetan rite of passage is a ritual in which a person crosses the threshold of society. The sign of a person's entry into adulthood is a difference in clothing, and this is mainly reflected in the change of girls' clothing. According to past practice, girls grew from the life of innocent young girls and girls to the age of 16 or 17, and they reached the beautiful years when they were adults and about to get married. To celebrate this important stage of life, parents always have a rich decoration for their beloved daughters, and among the many decorations is the crown of pearls - "bahu". Bazhu is the main ornament that Tibetans often wore on their heads when they became adults, and it was very beautifully made. Making a bahu is not easy, and parents often have to raise money long in advance to stock up on jewelry and other materials. Poor people don't have the money to buy expensive jewelry, but they also have to find other substitutes to make it. On the day of the rite of passage, parents dress their daughters early in the morning and put on "bahu", and then put on earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, etc. After the decoration, parents and friends accompanied their daughter to the nearest temple to make the pilgrimage to the Buddha.


In the past decade, the rite of passage for Tibetan girls has gradually attracted the attention of the academic community, and the results have continued to appear. In China, there are mainly the research of scholars such as Lin Jifu, Tang Daoxian, Liu Junjun, etc., and the research results written in Tibetan mainly include the papers of Gao Rui and Dorjetai, as well as two master's theses. (2) The above results are mainly discussed from the aspects of adult age, hair accessories, marriage, and rituals, laying a certain research foundation. However, there are also problems such as not referring to Tibetan papers and folk classics, and in-depth theoretical analysis of anthropology. Based on fieldwork in the Guide area of Qinghai, this paper hopes to communicate and dialogue with Audrey Richards' "Praying Aunt - A Coming-of-Age Ceremony for Bemba Girls in Zambia" from an anthropological perspective, based on the description of the coming-of-age ceremony of the "hair banquet".

Guide Tibetan girl "hair banquet" ceremony

In the Guide region, the Tibetan language calls the rite of passage for girls "skra-ston", jia for hair, and tun for banquet, which means hair banquet, also known as "skra-phab". In Chinese, it is called "Dai Tiantou" (3). Literally, Tibetan, a banquet is held for hair, which shows the importance of hair throughout the ceremony. The girl who performs the ceremony is called bag-ma, which means bride. In Tibetan, the girl who is about to get married is generally called "Wuhma", and in the Guide area, the girl who performs the rite of passage is also called "Wuhma", so that the relationship between coming-of-age ceremony and marriage can be understood. Therefore, this ceremony has different names such as "Katun" and "Wutun" in Guide area, all of which mean the girls' coming-of-age ceremony. According to traditional Tibetan customs, girls generally perform ceremonies at odd age between 7-15 years old, such as 7, 9, 11, etc., depending on the child's height, maturity and preparation, and several sisters can also hold the ceremony at the same time. Based on the previous fieldwork data and referring to the relevant research results, the author describes the ritual process of the hair banquet in Guide.


Ritual process The ceremonial process of the hair banquet in Guide mainly includes several stages, such as the preparation stage of Wuhema, welcoming guests, sitting tea, banquet tea, and returning gifts.

1. Uhema preparation stage


Before dawn on the day of the ceremony, relatives, friends, and neighbors who helped each other came to Wuhema's house one after another to get busy, each performing their duties and fulfilling their responsibilities. One of the oba who was invited to hold religious ceremonies also arrived early to chant the rgyags-brngan-lha-bsang (i.e. "Offering Incense Offering"), "Zhaofu Sutra", "Zhaocaijing", etc., and prayed for the smooth ceremony, the weather was clear, and Zhao Fu Najib.

The protagonist of the ceremony, Wuhema, also got up early and began to dress up, wearing Tibetan costumes, coral and gold and silver jewelry. Later, under the guidance of his mother, he went to his own Buddhist hall to kowtow and light lamps, praying for happiness and peace. Then a ceremony to "rob" Uhema is held. Accompanied by female relatives and friends, Uhema whispered "bag-ngu" (weeping wedding song) as she walked to the gate, stepped one foot over the threshold, stepped in, and closed the gate. At this time, the men began to prepare to "rob" Wuhema, and first a few men took wine and a whole piece of mutton and offered "tribute" to the women. Women punished men by grabbing their ears or smearing ash on their faces. At this moment, Wuhma's father went to "invite" Wuhema, and the women offered to buy valuables for Wuhema, promised to buy gold and silver jewelry, etc., and previously bought bicycles, sewing machines, etc. The men hugged each other, rubbing their hands and eager to try, showing the appearance of "robbing" Wuhema. The so-called ear pulling, plastering, etc. in the ritual are only a means of expression, not real implementation, and people will not be angry or angry. After the ritual of "robbing" Uhema, Uhma's mother immediately threw grain into the sky, shouted Uhema's milk name three times, and chanted, "Awumma, ah! My baby, good food at home, good clothes at home, don't go out and stay. "Pray to the god of good fortune and recruit Fu Naji.

At this time, the sky gradually brightened. Wuhema begins the next ritual, in which she circles the middle pillar of her kitchen three times, while her brother clings to the pillar to show that her family's wealth is not flowing out and that she does not want her sister to marry. At this time, Wuhema's mother, or a woman who can speak well, brings a bowl of milk tea with eight treasures and auspiciousness, smears a little ghee on three sides of the bowl, wraps the bowl with hata, and sings "Nake" (meaning the drink of vows, which means drinking milk tea and swearing). For example: "The auspicious eight-treasure bowl in my hand, with the eight lucky wheels at the mouth of the bowl, the eight auspicious emblems in the middle of the bowl, the three mascots of the dry land, the mascots of the three waterlands, the water primers of three rivers, the auspicious milk of three cows, the good craftsmanship of three beautiful women, the white milk in the bowl, the golden ghee in the milk, and the golden spoon in it, which were made by eight goldsmiths." Your upper lip is gold leaf to be raised, lower lip is silver to be lowered, upper and lower white teeth should be straightened, tongue exerts its function, voice is esophagus You slow throat. "The content is mainly to pray to the gods, praise the dragon bowl, and wish the girl good luck. After singing, Wuhema took a sip of milk tea, and the session was over.

After the ceremony of turning the center pillar, Wuhema sang "Una" as he walked out of the gate, mounted a white horse with the help of his female companion, and circled his house three times. When they reached the east, the accompanying women sang: "Aung Yi, where the horse is going this morning, this morning the horse is heading east, the Bodhisattva East bless you." When they reached the south, the accompanying women sang: "Aung Yi, where the horse is going this morning, this morning the horse is heading south, the southern pearl god bless you." When they arrived to the west, the accompanying women sang: "Aung Yi, where the horse is going this morning, this morning the horse is going west, the Buddha of the West Immeasurable Light blesses you." When they reached the north, the accompanying women sang: "Aung Yi, where the horse is going this morning, this morning the horse is heading north, the northern Ruyi Bodhisattva bless you."

When you are about to reach the door, you will perform a glang-chen-sna-bsgyur ceremony. This ceremony was conducted under the auspices of Russia and Pakistan. First, a religious ritual to exorcise obscurity is held, called bag-mavi-sna-vdre-bkar-ba. Nine small mounds, or nine stacks (i.e. substitutes), are placed at the gate, one between each step and step. The Russians have been chanting. After Wuhema dismounted, under the guidance of Oba, the girl had to push down nine stacks one by one, and pushed one on the left and one on the right, meaning to open the way for herself, to knock down all kinds of disasters and ominousness, and to foreshadow that the girl would be disease-free in the future. Tibetans believe that the girl has bad luck and needs to be cleaned, otherwise there will be unlucky events such as the death of her husband after the marriage in the future. This is followed by the Langchen Najib ceremony. Ohpa first recited the Langchennaji scriptures, and then an elephant's figurine was pinched with rice or red clay, and a robe (i.e., a Tibetan backpack) filled with gold and silver treasures was pinched on top of it, which meant the girl's future dowry and signified good luck for the girl. Such rituals are rare these days.

2. Welcome

By around 11 a.m., greeting guests begins. The guests are mainly composed of relatives of Ah Xiang (that is, the uncle of the recipient), as many as fifty or sixty people, as few as twenty or thirty people, the number varies, mainly depending on the number of relatives on Ah Xiang's side. I used to travel by horse, but now I drive or ride a motorcycle. They gathered at A Xiang's house in the morning, drank some tea simply, and then set off in unison.

To greet guests there are a series of ceremonies that need to be performed. First of all, the owner sent three groups of people to different sections of the road to wait to welcome guests, and set up three greeting points at different locations according to the length of the journey, which was also agreed in advance, and it used to take eight times to listen to the old people, but now it is simplified. The greeting is usually two young men who can speak back and are physically fit, take a bottle of wine, tie a tuft of white wool (regarded as a mascot) at the mouth of the bottle, bring two small dragon bowls, two hata, and spread a little ghee on three sides of the bowl to greet the guests at the agreed place. When the guests arrived, they shouted "Ah Xiang (i.e. uncle), Anne (i.e. uncle), Che Ma labor, hard work", and after greeting for a while, he offered a bowl of wine and a hata to the leader Axiang, and then a bowl of wine and a hada to the woman's leader Anie, toasted in turn, and asked the distinguished guests to continue on their way. Then, the two young men who welcomed the guests had to leave immediately, otherwise the guests would grab their ears, grab their hats, and shout loudly to chase them in order to show the majesty of the guests and make fun of the guests. The second and third groups have different personnel but greet guests in the same way. Greeting guests is a very important thing, you must not be sloppy, you must not have any disputes and conflicts with guests, you must be respectful.

When guests arrive at the door, a white felt is laid on the door, and an auspicious picture of eight treasures made of barley is painted on it to show good luck. Wuhema, who had been waiting early, and her female companions began to sing a welcome song, and the two sides sang to each other. As the recipient sang: "The upper threshold is carried high, the lower threshold has long been compressed, and the uncle in the fox hat is greeted, the meat is stacked like a mountain, and the wine is gathered like a sea, waiting for the uncles to come and eat and drink." The Ah Xiang also sang back and forth with the same lyrics: "The upper threshold is high to raise, the lower threshold is low and compressed, the uncle in the fox hat is coming, the meat mountain is stacked, the uncles who eat meat are coming, the wine is gathered like the sea, and the uncle who drinks is coming." [6] (p.91) singing to each other for a while. After that, the guests enter the courtyard, simmer mulberry to worship the gods, circle the simmering mulberry stove three times, and then sit down in order of age. Seating is generally arranged in the kitchen or courtyard, with a felt floor, arranged longitudinally, and many small square tables in the middle to place food. Traditional Tibetan houses generally have large kitchens to facilitate the holding of various red and white celebrations. If the kitchen is small, it is held in the courtyard, and some will cover the courtyard with tarpaulin to protect it from the wind and sun; Some tent directly outside the courtyard, depending on the size of the kitchen, or the number of guests.

3. Sit down for tea

Seated tea, called (VBAB-ja) in Tibetan. After the guests were seated, the proprietor began to put out various foods such as grabbed lamb, buns, nettle rice, wine, milk tea and other drinks. Guests chatted while enjoying hearty food. At this time, Wuhema's father held a hada in his hand and greeted the relatives and friends who attended the banquet, and then one of the singers of the host family began to sing folk songs to cheer up, and people frequently shouted "Sing well!" Sing well! "After the guests have enjoyed their food and enjoyed a burst of folk songs, they go out for a short break. When you return, you will start the banquet tea.

4. Banquet tea

Banquet tea, called (ston-ja) in Tibetan. This session is the most important part of the entire coming-of-age ceremony. Accompanied by her female companions, Wuhema sat on the white felt painted with "Yangzhong" (a symbol for good luck) at the bottom of the guests, and bowed her head towards the guests. At this time, the host began to announce the start of the ceremony. Start by rapping toasts and praising guests. For example: "The uncles who come to my house, let the uncles rejoice, the honor of the uncle is higher than the mountain, do not praise the honor of the uncle, the mountain over there is the mountain of gold, the mountain here is the mountain of silver, everywhere there are bronze mountains, like the dragon son praises the uncle, like the river praises to the ane..." [6] (p.91) and briefly introduced the history of the families of Wuhma's parents. After that, the leader Ah Xiang, who sat in the middle, introduced the marriage of Wuhma's parents and how parents should raise girls, and raised some hopes. After these ceremonies were completed, the guests, mainly the leading Ah Xiang, presented congratulatory gifts to Wuhema in turn. After the guests finished their offerings, the relatives and friends of the host family presented gifts in turn. Gifts include xenon, earrings, bracelets, belts, clothing, money, etc., which are presented on a voluntary basis. Among them, the most gifts were given by the uncles of Wuhema, ranging from tens of thousands of yuan to thousands of yuan, with money, jewelry, and xenon ranging from money and goods. When offering a gift, people usually sing a passage, which is a hymn. Excerpt from a passage, "Like the white hada in my hand, the material comes from the Central Plains, the craftsmanship comes from India, and it is made in the snowy plateau. Today is dedicated to the banquet, blessing Uhemma, as white as Hada and as kind as Hadha"(6), and its content is mainly to praise the gift, its source, function, meaning, etc., to illustrate the importance of the gift. At this moment, the banquet scene is unusually quiet, and the people present like to listen carefully, especially the old people, to see who said well, or gave more gifts, which will be a topic that people often talk about after tea.

After the gift was delivered, one of the proprietors held a tea bowl in his right hand and a plate of Tibetan-style oil cakes in his left hand, and began to rap "praise tea words". Tea praise is a folk oral tradition that is often rapped in various ceremonies in Guide area, and the main content is to tell the source, production process, function and other folk customs related to tea. After singing, the proprietor began to arrange the food and tea again. People enjoyed folk songs and enjoyed the banquet to the fullest.

5. Return the gift

Returning the gift, called rtshongs-ba in Tibetan. After the banquet tea is finished, people take a break and start to give gifts to the guests. The proprietor first gives gifts to the local living Buddha, the oba who participated in the ceremony, and then gives gifts according to the size of the Axiang. The host shouts the names of the guests while giving gifts. The gift is usually a set of Tibetan clothes and a hata. Guests usually just take hada and return the gift, indicating that they have received it. This is a process of recognizing relatives, getting to know relatives through gifts. Afterwards, the guests and the men of the host sing folk songs, and you sing each other, one after another, without giving in to each other, the scene is very enthusiastic, and the locals especially like this scene, which is also the climax of the whole coming-of-age ceremony. The women of the host family danced and sang happily, performing the folk song and dance Aze (a form of song and dance that is singing and dancing), and the scene was lively and lively. At this moment, the time was already four or five o'clock in the afternoon, and the guests were also ready to go home.

When the guests set off to the gate, the young men of the host family saw them off and offered them a hada, a so-called "shangma wine" (or send-off wine), and sometimes forced to drink several bowls of wine. The gate was crowded, saying goodbye to each other, and it was very lively. At this point, the entire rite of passage is completed, and the next step is the closing stage.