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Ximeng Culture

Ximeng Wa Autonomous County(西盟佤族自治县) was established in March 5, 1965, it is inhabited by the Wa border counties of Yunnan Province, Pu'er City (formerly Simao, was renamed in 2007) administer the county, located in the southwestern border province, adjacent to the west and Myanmar. It is 625 kilometers away from the provincial capital Kunming, Pu'er City 225 kilometers; the border line is 89.33 kilometers. Ximen Va Autonomous County (西盟佤族自治县) is an autonomous county under the jurisdiction of Pu'er Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China. Wa/Va people is the main inhabitants here. Wa language is common here.The Ximeng (西盟) county seat is small and one runs out of things to do there quickly, especially when there is no festival. However, getting out of town and exploring the countryside provides plenty of interesting diversions. The culture of the county is associated with a lot Wa people.


The Culture of Wa People

According to Sir George Scott in the Wa origin myths the first Wa originated from two female ancestors Ya Htawm and Ya Htai who spent their early phase as tadpoles (rairoh) in a lake known as Nawng Hkaeo. Very little is known about the early history of the Wa. What is known is mostly made up of local legends telling that in the distant past the historical Wa States and all the territories of eastern Shan State, as well as large swathes of the adjacent areas of present-day China had belonged to the Wa. In the area of the former Kengtung State the Wa were displaced around 1229 and were later defeated by King Mangrai. At the time of British rule in Burma the Tai Yai people were the majority of the population in Kengtung state with other groups such as Akha and Lahu, forming sizeable communities. The Wa now form a minority of only about 10% in Kengtung District despite having been the original inhabitants.

The Wa originally had animist religious beliefs centered around ritual blood sacrifices. Villages had a spirit healer (Tax Cao Chai) and the traditional way of dealing with sickness or other problems was to sacrifice a chicken, a pig or a larger animal, depending from the magnitude of the affliction. According to local legend, the practice of cutting a human head was intended as a ritual sacrifice in order to improve the fertility of the rice fields. Traditional villages had also shrines (Nyiex Moeg) where a buffalo was sacrificed once every year at a special Y-shaped post named Khaox Si Gang with an offering of the blood, meat and skin performed at it. Animals were also sacrificed at celebrations such as marriages and funerary rituals among the traditional spirit-worshiping Wa, a practice that still endures among the Christian Wa. However, the Wa that were under Buddhist influence developed different traditions.

In the traditional Wa society monogamous marriage was the norm and there was sexual freedom for both men and women before marriage. The chewing of betel with areca nut was formerly also an important custom. The Wa have different kinds of traditional dances. One important dance in their culture is accompanied by the beating of a large hollow wooden drum. This way of dancing, among other Wa dances such as the hair dance and festivals, is being promoted as a tourist attraction by the Yunnan tourism authorities in China. The Wa people also have a well-engrained drinking culture, with large amounts of local moonshine being produced and are widely believed to on average consume the largest amount of alcohol in China.

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