Wa People Celebrating Pulling Wooden Drum Festival

Pulling Wooden Drum Festival: The "Gerui" month of the Wa calendar, which is equivalent to December of the solar calendar, is the time for pulling the wooden drum. Unlike the popular leather drums, a wooden drum is a drum made of a whole piece of tree-trunk, its surface not enveloped with any leathers. On the eve of the festival, the headman and the "moba" (priest) of the village lead several male villagers to a tall tree that they have already chosen beforehand. Under the tree, they first make offerings and chant incantations to expel evils spirits. Then the "moba" brandishes an ax, making a few cuts on the trunk of the tree. Other villagers then chop it down. After that, they put three stones on the tree stump as a token payment to the tree ghost for buying the tree. Then they cut the trunk into the size suitable for the drum they need.


The "moba" guides the procession with twigs held in his right hand. (Photo from baike.baidu.com)

Next morning, all the villagers put on their best costumes and go to the mountain to join in pulling the log (semi-finished wooden drum) down to the village. The "moba" guides the procession with twigs held in his right hand, leading some male villagers to pull the log and sing the song "pulling the wooden drum". Other villagers either shout loudly to boost their morale or scatter rice and splash wine on the ground as the log is pulled along. The log is left at the entrance to the village for two or three days. After the sacrificial rite with cocks as offerings, the log is pulled from the village gate to the place beside the wooden drum house where the carpenters will fashion it into a drum. In pulling the wooden drum, both men and women participate, singing and dancing. Some young people often take this opportunity to find their future husbands or wives. The whole program lasts for many hours. After the drum is made and tested, people put it into the wooden drum house, where they dance heartily again to the drum beats.

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