Myths and songs of the Deang

 

The Deang people have a magnificent body of oral literature.

Among their myths, the most exceptional is "The ancestors create the world". This is regarded as the Deang peoples' foundation myth and is an essential document for those wanting to learn more about their customs. It shows Potare, the creator, guiding the creation of the world and mankind.

The Deang also believe that tea leaves fell from heaven in order to give rise to mankind on earth. This explains the close relationship that exists between the Deang and tea.

There are different versions of the myth of the flood, which could help to determine different ethnic origins among the many peoples known collectively today as the Deang. Nonetheless, in all of these myths people survived the disastrous flooding by seeking refuge inside a pumpkin that floated on the surface of the water until the earth became dry.

Among the other myths often sung are:
-"One hundred leaves and one hundred people", which depicts the time when human beings were created from tea leafs.
- "Histories of the flood", narrates the story of the flood that covered the world, and the way some human beings survived.
- "The origin of the Deang's branches" relates how, in remote times, a dragon lady bore three children from a bird husband. These three sons are the ancestors of the Red Deang, the Black Deang and the Flowery Deang.

They have a number of folk tales, such as "The frog and the embroiderer", a beautiful love story about just that. Others include: "Two friends", "Three Strange Things", "The Death of the Rat", and many more.

On the topic of love songs, the creativity of the Deang peoples must be highlighted. Every step in the relationship between a girl and a boy is accompanied by songs, which often achieve a moving beauty. Among them is the outstanding "Sad Song of the Lusheng" that tells of a tragic love story frustrated by the girl's parents.

According to tradition, after this unfortunate event, the young women of the Deang peoples won their freedom to choose a husband.

Among their musical instruments we should mention are:

- different types of flutes.
- the drum made from an elephant's foot (similar to that of the Dai)
- the wooden drum
- the sanxian, a stringed instruments with three strings
- the sixian, a stringed instrument with four strings.

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