The religion of the Bulang


There are major religious differences between the Bulang of the Lincang and Simao districts and those of Xishuangbanna Prefecture.

The traditional religion of the Bulang was polytheism, expressed primarily in the worship of nature and ancestors.

In Xishuangbanna they follow Theravada Buddhism. All young people spend some time in the temple, where they learn how to read and write the Dai language. All the festivals, both Buddhist and traditional, are organized by the monks. All villages have their own Buddhist temples, where they carry out both Buddhist and Bulang traditional religious ceremonies.

Those who specialize in religious activities are the Baimo (shamans), the Huotou (religious chiefs) and the Buddhist monks. Nowadays traditional and Buddhist beliefs are intertwined. For instance, before planting seeds they ask a Buddhist monk to tell them on which mountain to plant them. Then, the monk divides three handfuls of rice into three banana skins with the names of three mountains. According to the results determined by these three banana skins, the seed is planted. The monks are present at all important ceremonies of the agricultural cycle. Reading Buddhist scriptures and sacrificing chickens are meant to guarantee a successful harvest.

Animal sacrifices appear in all their religious ceremonies.

In the Shuanjiang, Zhengkai, Mojiang, and Jingdong counties, the Bulang still strongly maintain their traditional religion. As in the past, the Bulang believe that there are many gods that can influence the life of mankind. Therefore, they dedicate different kinds of ceremonies to request protection and to avoid evil. Throughout the year, they hold festivities related to and on behalf of the most important gods. such as:

The God of the Ovens

The God of the Earth

The God of the Mountains

The God of Fire

The God of Thunder

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