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The Fragrance of Tea in De'ang Villages

Tea is the life of the De'angs.
And where there are De'angs, there is tea.
So long as down this ancient song passes,
So long the fragrance of tea lasts.
This is an ancient song of the De'ang people.

As an important drink, tea is an indispensable part of the De'ang grown-ups, both men and women. Strong tea is especially preferred. When they make tea, they often put a lot of tea leaves into a jar, and boil them with a small amount of water till the water turns into deep coffee color. The tea water is then poured into a mug for drink. This kind of tea is so strong that common people could hardly fall asleep after drinking it. However, the De'angs are addicted to it after years of drinking; and they feel uncomfortable and strengthless without it. On the contrary, they feel quite refreshed if a mug of strong tea is made and served even after a day's work.

Tea is not only an important drink, but also has a significant function in De'ang society. As a matter of fact, they almost cannot go without it. Among the De'angs, tea carries their good wishes and welcome. When a guest has arrived, the host first serves him or her a cup of tea. A visit to friends, relatives, or the matchmaker, also requires tea. To invite friends and relatives, a small package of tea tied with two pieces of red crossing threads will do. One who has injured another in a misunderstanding and wishes to apologize brings tea to the injured person as a gift. In a word, the function of tea for the De'angs is irreplaceable. 

Due to the unusual position and function of tea, the De'angs consume a lot of tea every year; as a result, almost every family plants tea around their houses or on the margin of their villages. They are good tea growers, and therefore are called "old tea farmers".

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