Hangui priest of the Pumi


Hangui religion of the Pumi is called after the ritual specialists of the northern Pumi: the Hangui priests. Usually this work is transmitted from fathers to sons. Every Pumi family around Ninglang have their own hangui priest, and every hangui priest has his own followers. Usually when a family want to perform a ceremony only need to call his hangui priest to preside it. But if a hangui lost the confidence of his followers they can choose other hangui for their family.

The usual task of the hangui priests is to preside over the weddings, funerals and incineration of corpses; and usually they have an important role in festivals, birth, when burning the fields, harvest ceremonies, and departure of caravans. They are in charge of making sacrifices on behalf of their followers to the spirits. When their followers suffer a disaster, get sick, or the women can not born babies, they need their services. They are asked also to make ceremonies to expel the evil spirits.

When the Pumi people celebrate weddings or funerals they use to sing a kind of ceremonial songs, in those songs, historic and religious contents are mixed together, making them a vehicle for the preservation of Pumi history, customs and traditions, and the hangui priests, the keeper of the old traditions and the singers of the Pumi.

As the hangui priest worship the goddess Badinglamu in the past their cult was called Dingba religion and the priest Dingba priest.

In the past all the Dingba priest were women, a probe that they were the heiresses of Bading goddess.

There are five schools of the Dingba religion scarcely studied until now.

Great Dictionary of Religion and mythology of all the nationalities of China. 1990. PP 517

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