Religion of the Chashan

 

The Chashan still maintain a very simple life, which is reflected in their religion. They believe in the existence of numerous spirits that are identified with different natural phenomena.

Their primary god is the God of the Sky, Monke, who is above all the other deities. They worship Monke in all important ceremonies, particularly during weddings and funerals. When there are ceremonies in which the whole village participates, a cow is sacrificed to him. If there are ceremonies in which only the family or the clan participates, they sacrifice pigs or chickens to him.

Besides Monke, the second-most god in importance is Saiyou, the God of the Earth, who can provide them with good crops and help them to avoid natural disasters. He is worshipped mainly during the New Grain Festival.

The God of the Mountains, Pengyou, is also important, since he is in charge of providing successful hunting, and protects the hunting parties when they leave the village. Therefore he is worshipped by the hunting parties before they leave for an expedition.

The Chasan also have a God of Fire, a God of the Waters, a God of the Trees, and other nature deities.

They believe that in the world, besides the good actions of the gods, there are also the noxious actions of the demons, whose company is always unfortunate for people. To avoid the demons they have a series of incantations and curses; so do they have different prayers to worship the gods.

In each village of the Chashan, there is a priest or Changsa, who is a specialist in dealing with the spirits and the spiritual world; they know the desires of the gods and how to dominate the demons. He knows the sentences and incantations that should be recited in each ceremony, and he also possesses knowledge of medicine and tribal history, and is able to perform divination ceremonies.

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