The Bulang Myths and Songs


The legend of Gumiya is the most important myth of the Bulang. It tells how the world was created and how mankind developed. In addition to the Gumiya myth, there are endless side stories, in which variations or expansions of the myths of creation and the origin of the different things on earth are told.

In Menghai, Daile influences are found everywhere. The names of the Bulang's deities: Yingba, Payana, Payaying, remind Daile deities.

In "How heaven and earth were created?" we see that in the beginning the world was a "thick and dusty air where clouds extended everywhere". Suddenly a sunray appeared, burning a fire ball, whose sparks broke the dark clouds bringing the light for the first time to the universe. Thousands of years later water extinguished the fire ball creating the earth.

In "The gourd that brought the human beings" we see a huge flesh gourd floating in the river, which men and animals growing inside. When all them complete their growing a swan opened a hole in the gourd surface allowing birds, animals and men, to be born.

There are many myths that explain the features of different animals, and the relationship that they have with the Bulang people. Take the bamboo rat for example. According to its legend, "The seed of the cereal grains and the bamboo rat", the rat was the animal that supplied seed to the Bulang people. This explains why they pay tribute to the rat each year.

The tales of Aizhanglai are representative of the popular literature that remains alive today in the villages of Southwest China. In them, Aizhanglai, the cunning and the witty, is a trickster figure who makes fun of the wealthy and the ambitious.

The greatest literary mastery of the Bulang people is to be found in the realm of romantic songs, as all young people among them strive to be good singers and thereby to obtain a good wife. The whole process of flirting and falling in love is carried out through song, accompanied by the music of the sanxian (a three string instrument that is typical of the region).

Besides the sanxian, they also use a drum made from an elephant's foot and cymbals.

Their most typical dance is "The Dance of the Knives".

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