|Jingpo religion: a world full of spirits|
Jingpo each person is divided in body and soul. When a person dreams is
because the soul has abandoned the body. If the soul doesn't find anything
interesting during its trip, the person will not remember the dream, but
if there is an interesting experience, it will be remembered on awaking.
That is why the dreams are very important amongst the Jingpo, who study
its ominous or auspicious character. It has made them develop some keys
in interpreting dreams. For instance, if a person dreams with a knife
or a rifle, it is a sign that the person will have a son; if a person
dreams with a lot of cucumbers or pumpkins; it is a sign of suffering
and a bad prophecy. In that case, a wizard is called for praying to the
spirits. If not, one runs the risk of some possible death.
death of a person, his soul leaves his body, and goes to the Kingdom of
the Shadows, where he will meet with his ancestors. According to their
tradition, the Jingpo come from the North and therefore, after death,
the spirit should travel Northwards. As it is a very negative circumstance
for a dead soul to stay among the living, many different rituals are carried
out to show the soul the way to the ancestors' land.
Jingpo's home there is a house of the spirits to which strangers are not
allowed in. They believe that the human being is just another of the beings
belonging to Mother Nature and that each thing has its own spirit. Consequently,
there are over 100 deities in their pantheons divided into deities of
nature and of the society.
there are three types of deities.
Gods, as the God of Heaven, the God of Wind, the God
of the Sun, the God of the Moon and the God of the Thunder.
Gods, as the God of the Water, the God of the Fire and the
God of the Grain.
They have also some goddess as: the Mother Creator, partner in creating the world; the Goddess of the Kitchen, the Goddess of Intelligence, of Music, of Memory and of Maternity.
Jingpo there are some different kind of people specialized in dealing
with the world of the spirits.
important of them are the Zhaiwa. They are familiar with the history,
myths, rituals and culture of the Jingpo, and they were, in the old days,
a real centre of power second only to the village chefs.
also deal with the spiritual realm. In every village there was also a
Dongsha. Among them there are three categories: the Big Dongshas, the
Dongshas and the Little Dongshas. The first one are specialized in heaven
rituals, the other two perform ceremonies of less importance. In fact,
the little Dongshas, cannot slaughter cows or pigs, they can offer only
chickens, dry fish and rats.
also have some sort of helpers called Qiangzhong, who are in charge of
preparing the objects used for the offering. On a lower scale, the Mitui,
only carry out minor rituals.
village, there is a sort of temple called Nengdang, which is usually made
of straw, without any walls and situated on the outskirts of the village.
From them, cow and pig skulls are hanged.
activities of the Jingpo were very developed. Before the implementation
of the Communist reforms, some ceremonies were reported where as many
as 27 cows were sacrificed.
After them their beliefs have been affected by the communist regime. Their religion was considered to be superstitious and their rituals, a waste of resources.
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