Jing Ethnic Minority

Last updated by fabiowzgogo at 2014-1-28

General Information

Jing Ethnic Minority is a minor ethnic group mainly living in South China's Guangxi Province. By the end of the year 2001, the Jing Ethnic Minority in Guangxi had reached a total population of 19,900, ranking the ninth among all ethnic groups of Guangxi and accounts for 0.04% of the total population in the autonomous region.

Most of the Jing population lives in their own communities in Jiangping Town, Fangcheng autonomous county of all nationalities in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous Region. A minor part of the population scatters in Fangcheng, Qinzhou, Dongxin, etc.

The Jing Ethnic Minority has its own language. Thanks to the long-term friendly communication with the Han Chinese,  most of them can understand the mandarin.

The Jing Girl

The Jing Girl

History

Ancestors of Jing Ethnic Groups had immigrated from the Viet Nam to today's Guangxi region since the 15th century.  

Arts of Jing People

The Jing people have very abundant and colorful traditional folk arts, with their own strong ethnic features. The art of singing of the Jing nationality is very unique and special.

A Jing Girl Was Playing Instrument

A Jing Girl Was Playing Instrument

While singing, there is a young man who plays a three-stringed fiddle to accompany the songs, in the meanwhile, another two young girls sing the songs alternately while hitting the bamboo sticks and planks.

The contents of the songs are mostly narrative epic and ancient Chinese poems and lyrics, such as Songzhen and Chen Juhua, the Legend of Killing the Dragon, the Fiddle Fairy, Seeing the Guest Off at the Bank of Xunyang River, and so on. There are as many as more than 30 different tunes of the songs. According to the contents, the songs could be divided into the following kinds, such as folk songs, love songs, wedding songs, fishing songs, complaining songs, long narrative songs, folk customs songs, work and productive songs, etc. Some of the songs have been handed down from generation to generation with the same lyrics. And some others are composed ad hoc when the Jing people recall their old memories when they are touched by the beautiful natural scenes.

The songs sung in the Jing language have their own melodies, which are very complicated. The folk songs of the Jing people are also very rich in contents, of which most are involved with the sea as their productive activities are mostly conducted on the sea, for example, one song about the sea is composed like this, ' People can not live without the sea no matter in rising tide or ebb tide, they can not live without the God of heaven either in spite of the blowing winds and disappearing sands, prints of ox hooves are scattered all along the road, people on fishing boats never stop working on the sea'.

And there is another love song with the following lyrics, 'Row the boat on the sea until the paddles are nearly broken, what time can I reach the bank? The plank on the boat is too short to make a bridge for me to reach the bank, my love, please show your hands and pull me back to you.' As all the young men and women of the Jing people choose their lovers by singing antiphonal style songs, each one of them is adept at singing and dancing. As the traditional opera of the Jing ethnic group, the Jing Opera is also called Chaoju, which is characterized by their own ethnic features. One stringed fiddle is the unique musical instrument of the Jing people, the rectangular body of which is as long as 75 centimeters, made of half a piece of bamboo or three pieces of wood. One end of the instrument is bound with a small round column or metal piece which forms a right angle with the body of the instrument, and on the other end there is the knob, from the two ends of which from up to down one string is fixed. By playing this instrument, the musicians can make very beautiful and sweet sounds. 

Festivals

In addition to the Spring Festival , Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival, which are the same with that of the Han nationality, the most splendid and ceremonious festival of the Jing people is the Changha Festival.

The Changha Festival of Jing People

The Changha Festival of Jing People

On the tenth day of the sixth lunar month in the regions of Liwei and Wutou Islands in Dongxing City, Guangi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on the tenth day of the eighth lunar month in Shanxin Island  of Dongxing City and on the twenty-fifth day of the first lunar month in Hongkan Town of Dongxing City the most exciting Jingha Festival is held by the local Jing people. The beautiful girls sing the songs alternately, and the activities of singing could be as long as three days and three nights, during which the Jing people have a big feast and enjoy the beautiful songs at the same time. 

In the past the Changha Festival was held every year and in different places the time to celebrate it was different. Changha in the Jing language means singing and having fun. When the festival comes, all the Jing people, including the young and old, men and women, all wear their most beautiful clothes and gather at the Ha Pavilion to offer sacrifices and worship the gods, in order to pray for a bumper harvest in fish production as well as a happy life for both people and livestock, after that they hold the singing activities. The whole process of the activity can be divided into four parts, such as welcoming the gods, worshipping the gods, singing songs, and seeing the gods off. One day before the festival, the shrines of the God of Sea and other gods worshipped by the Jing people are moved to the Ha Pavilion. The next day, the worshipping ceremony begins in three o'clock in the afternoon, when it is finished all people begin to enjoy the big feast and sing songs. These are the main activities held during the Changha Festival, and the contents of the singing activity include love songs, lantern dancing, musical dancing, and praising the ancient heroes and great ancestors, which are the climax of the festival. People dance and sing with wild abandon for several days. In the end of the singing activity, they hold the ceremony of making farewell to the gods, after which the whole festival is over.

During the Spring Festival, all the Jing Families make Baishuyi, which is a kind of cake made from sticky rice powders with sugars wrapped inside. At breakfast on the first day of the first lunar month, they do not drink wines or eat meat, and they only have some porridge with sugars, sticky rice cakes and Baishuyi. All people in the Jing villages will go to the Ha Pavilion to worship the gods, offering pigs, chickens and fish. After that when going back home, they go to their cemeteries to worship the ancestors. On the eve of the Lunar New year, they always put some Baishuyi cakes before the shrines of the ancestors before going to bed.

Diet

The Jing people in most places are accustomed to have three meals a day. However, those who live in Wuwei area, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, have only two meals a day, and they have breakfast usually around eleven o'clock in the morning and supper is usually arranged after nightfall. In the past the Jing people always took corns, sweet potatoes and taros mixed with a little rice as their main food. They only had dry food in times of going out to fish on the sea, autumn harvest and too much work to do. Nowadays rice has become a kind of very common food of the Jing people. 

The Jing people like to eat fish, shrimps, crabs, fish soluble and rice cakes. The daily dishes are mainly fish and shrimps, which are always made into soluble, and it is an inevitable seasoning ingredient at each meal. The pigs and chickens are also the main sources of meat in their daily life. The typical food of the Jing people is fish soluble, which is also called silurid soluble. It is the traditional seasoning among the Jing people and is made from different kinds of small fishes which are first pickled before made into the soluble.  The Jing women like to chew betel nuts.   

When visiting the three islands-Wanwei, Wutou and Shanxin of Dongxing City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which are  inhabited by the Jing ethnic group, people can always have the opportunity to taste the silurid soluble and rice cakes, which have a very unique flavor. The silurid soluble is usually called fish soluble in the markets, and all the fisher families pickle small fishes and make it from March to June every year. It is divided into three kinds, the first-class products are exported to the southeastern Asian countries, and the second-class products are usually sold in the domestic markets, and the third-class products are kept by the fisher families themselves to eat. However, even the last one, can always make the visitors who first try it never forget its delicious flavor during their life. When making soups, some fish soluble cam make it much more delicious, and when cooking meat, mix it with some fish soluble will make it much tastier.

Dress of the Jing people

Some of the old women like to wear their national clothes. They usually wear tight front opening clothes with narrow sleeves and without collars on the upper part of the body, and a quarry cloth is used to cover the outside of their bosoms. Their trousers are usually long and wide, in black or brown color. When going out, they wear one more white long coat, which looks like the traditional Chinese Chi-Pao with higher cuff-slit, and make their hair into a bun. A few women still keep the habit of dyeing their teeth into black. In the past the Jing men like to wear long coats which cover their knees and have very narrow sleeves, and a belt is also tied on the waist. However, nowadays the young men and women wear similar clothes with that of the Han nationality.

The Jing Girl

The Jing Girl

Dwellings of the Jing People

In the past the Jing people always constructed their houses in Ganlan Style, which means that the first floor was used for the livestock and poultries, and family members lived on the second floor. The columns of their houses were wooden ones, and bamboos and earth were used to form the walls, weeds and tree branches were used to make the roof. This kind of buildings is just like small cottages, which are easily to be moved away. However, nowadays most of the Jing people use stones, bricks and tiles to build their houses. Each slab of stone is 75 centimeters long, 25 centimeters wide and 20 centimeters thick. Stone slabs are used to construct the walls, which are as high as seven meters. Tiles are used to form the roof, which can resist heat as well as typhoons. Pieces of stones, bamboos or woods are used to separate each room inside the house, and there are usually three rooms, with sitting room in the middle and two bedrooms on either side. Kitchens and pig pens are built near the bedrooms independently. In recent years there have been more and more high buildings constructed with armored concrete, and balconies and decorating banisters are also built, with flowers and bonsais to make the house much more beautiful.

Marriage Customs

In the past the marriages of the Jing people were arranged by their parents. However, nowadays they have the freedom to choose their own lovers by singing songs in an antiphonal style. After the singing activity, if a boy likes a girl, he will move toward her and sprinkle some earth or sands on the ground to the girl using his toes. If the girl also likes the boy, she will sprinkle the earth or sands back.

Marriage Customs of Jing People

Marriage of Jing People

They choose their lovers and cultivate their affections through the activities of sprinkling sands or tree leaves before they finally decide to invite a matchmaker to help them fix the marriage. They also give each other a colorful wooden shoe, and if it turns out that one shoe is for the left hand and the other is just for the right hand, that means that they are born to be lovers, then they will reach the wedding contract and the boy's family will invite some more singers to go with them to the girl's family to sing songs in an antiphonal style to confirm the marriage. When holding the wedding ceremony, the girl's family will close the gate of their courtyard and set up three more wooden gateways decorated with lanterns and flowers on the road or in the woods outside their house. In order to pass the three gateways, the boy's side has to sing songs with the girl's side until the latter get satisfied. After the dinner, all of them will go to the boy's family, where the bride and groom will perform formal bows, which symbolize that they become husband and wife. After that singing activities are again held all through the night, and the sweet and happy songs accompany the bride and the groom, which makes their wedding full of joy and excitement.

When making the engagement, the boy's family should send the girl's family a certain amount of pork and cakes as betrothal gifts. If the boy's family is poor, they can send a fraction of sugars, sticky rice, tea or cakes instead. When getting married, the boy's family will also have to prepare 50 kilos of pork, 40 kilos of wines, seven buckets of rice and some other gifts, and send them to the girl's family.

Three days after their wedding, the bride will go back to visit her family. The new couple prepares two trays of red sticky rice food, which is about 6 kilos, two chunks of pork, and two chickens to send them to the girl's parents. Only after that is the wedding ceremony really concluded.

Folk Customs

Activities to worship the gods are held every year whenever there are the festivals, during which pigs, chickens and fish are prepared to worship their ancestors. Boiling pork to worship their ancestors whenever the girls get married is another custom of the Jing people. During the Changha Festival every year, all boys who are over 16 years old should go to the Ha Pavilion, which is their symbolic construction for important cremonies, to hold some worshipping activities with some chickens, wines, sticky rice food, and betel nuts as sacrifices. Only after this, the boys are considered to have become adults, and then they are allowed to attend the activities held during the festival as adults. From then on, they have the qualification to join the fishermen to go out fishing on the sea.

Taboos

When visiting the fishing families, guests should not say the word ' scorch' when they find that the food is overheated, as this word in Chinese has the same pronunciation with the word 'reef', they do not  want to have bad luck when fishing on the sea. While on the boat, one should not say the word 'oil', and they say 'slid' instead, as slid in Chinese has the meaning of smooth, success and going well, but oil has the same pronunciation with the word 'swim' in Chinese, as only the fishermen whose boats get wrecked have to swim back to the seaside. When moving utensils or other objects, instead of dragging them, people should carry them up in their hands or arms, because only the wrecked boats have to be dragged back. Of course, normally guests from other places who do not know these customs and taboos will not be blamed once they make such mistakes.

Religious Belief

The Jing people worship their ancestors. In the meantime they have several gods, of which they especially worship those who are involved with the sea. In the past most of the Jing people believed Buddhism or Daoism, and a few of them were Catholics. Whenever the men go out to fish on the sea, the old people, women and children all come to the seaside to see them off, and at the same time, some activities to worship the God of Sea are held.

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