Oroqen Ethnic Minority

Last updated by fabiowzgogo at 2015/3/9

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TOPGeneral Information

The word "Oroqen" has two meanings: one is "deer trainer", and the other is "people living in the mountain". Oroqens' ancestry was "Shiwei" people, meaning forest men.


In Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368), they were called "People in the forest". In Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), they were known as the "Barbarian race in the Northern Mountain". For hundreds of years, Oroqen people had been hunting in the extensive area that stretches to the southern edge of the Outer Xing'an Mountains, the eastern bank of Wusuli River, Shileka River to the west and Karafuto to the east. The Oroqens are expert hunters. They know perfectly the natures and the laws of living of various animals in the forest. They also fish. Almost all males are excellent horse riders and sharp shooters.


The traditional houses of Oroqen people are called "Xierenzhu" or "Xianrenzhu", a wooden shanty that is very convenient to put up or tear down. The hut is usually made of tens of 9-meter-long birch or willow poles and some birch barks or animal skins.


The Oroqens have preserved the birch bark culture in northern China. Most of their daily utensils are made of birch barks, such as bowl (A Shen in the local language), basin (A Han), wooden cask (Mulin Kaiyi), basket (Kunji), sewing box (Ao Sha), box (Ada Mala) and the curtain put around the poles of their houses (Tiekesha). All of these tools have colored patterns on them and are very beautiful.


Oroqen people used to live on hunting. They like to wear clothes made of animal skins. They wear leather clothes in winter, spring and autumn, and even in summer, especially when they go hunting in the mountain because the leather clothes can keep out cold and are waterproof and wearable. Oroqen women like to wear roe skin gloves with all kinds of patterns of birds or animals sewed on them.


Oroqen people celebrate the Spring Festival on the same date as Han Chinese. On Jan. 3rd of the lunar calendar, they hold sports contests like shooting, and so on.

Gulun Muta: In Oroqen language, Gulunmuta means worshiping the fire-fiend. It is held in spring every year. Activities like horse racing, shooting, arrow shooting, pushing and pulling, song and dances, story telling, playing chess and wood cards are held during the day. In the evening, people light camp fire and invite the Shamanist sorcerers to dance in a trance, worship the gods and the ancestry.

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