She - Religion and Expressive Culture

Religion. The She believe in ghosts and gods and regularly worship or acknowledge them. Three times a year, in the first, fifth, and seventh lunar months, they pay their respects to their ancestors. Every third year there is also a lineage wide ceremony held in honor of family forebears, officiated at by the reigning head of the lineage. Within the lineage temple at such times hangs a likeness, called the "ancestral picture," of Pan Hu, primal patriarch of the She. With the completion of this ceremony, officials inscribe the names of all lineage males above the age of 15 on a banner of red cloth, which is then hung on a temple wall. She ceremonial activities copy Han Chinese practices in part. Spring, Grave Sweeping, and Mid-Autumn festivals, for example, all Han observances, are also events on the She ritual calendar. Uniquely She occasions include ceremonies held during the third, fourth, and tenth lunar months that honor, respectively, rice, wheat, and a folk hero, King Duo Bei. Besides attaching credence to ancestral spirits and gods, the She also put trust in shamans, part-time specialists with the power to drive away ghosts and cure diseases. The She formerly cremated their deceased, but in recent years have taken to burying them underground.

Arts. She skill in embroidery and bamboo weaving has been noted. Locally, they probably are best known for their singing. Virtually any occasion has its suitable songs—when one is working, relaxing, entertaining a guest, flirting with a lover, participating in a wedding, or attending a funeral. She socialize by means of exchanging songs, particularly during ritual occasions—a good example of which is a wedding. When the groom goes to retrieve his bride from her family residence, he is treated to a banquet. But he first sits down to a bare table, around which are seated relatives and friends of the bride to whom he must sing for his dinner. In response to a song from the groom about wine, the host offers one of his own and then sets drinks upon the table. The ritual continues until the table is filled with foods and dowry items. In general, song topics range widely. Those that recount She history and their migratory past are especially favored. Many songs are handed down through generations, some becoming quite lengthy from verses accrued over the years.

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