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 Dance to Chase Ghosts - Old Religious Ceremonies 

Knives are common ornaments of Mamba people and the opening on a knife in order to cut through a way for the team

  The religion of Mamba people is quite unique. They deeply believe in primitive religions such as to send ghosts away by playing witchcrafts as well as Tibetan Buddhism. In the consciousness of Mamba people, everything in the daily life is closely related with ghosts and gods. All kinds of ghosts and gods affect their lives. In order to beg for the forgiveness of ghosts and bless of gods, people respect the messenger in-between human beings and ghosts. Thus, a new profession, the witch, is born at the right moment.

  Mamba people believe that the Heaven, the earth, the mountains and the water are all gods. Insects, beasts, strange stones and trees are also gods. Gods are everywhere; they believe ghosts and gods cause all people's illness and disasters. Since ghosts and gods are so important, they all worship ghosts and gods. Among all kinds of witches, Denglongkan, Bawo, Benbo are man witches, and are responsible for sending ghosts away; Juemu and Bamo are woman witches, who are responsible for inviting gods.

  The man witch "Denglongkan" means to send ghosts away and "Bawo" means a hero. They believe if a person has illness; it's because a ghost is playing tricks with the person. If they can chase the ghost away, the person will recover natually. Mamba people believe that the ghost take man's soul away to make people ill. When "Denglongkans" wants to send the ghosts away, they will kill chickens or pigs to offer sacrifices first. Before killing the sacrifices, they must let the sick person look at them. This means the sick person donated the sacrifices to the ghosts. During the sacrificing ceremony, the witch will first wrap the sacrifices with plantain and put it together with the instruments, the Buddhist necklace, a long knife, clothes and other objects of the sick person to the fields outside of the village. After a special ceremony is held, the Denglongkan will point to the foods and say " I've prepared all these for you; you can enjoy the food. Please set the sick person's soul free." 

  "Bawo" will wrap his head with red cloth and hang a string of pearls on his face with a white cloth on his body. On the table inside the house, they will make a god figure with corn and put some sacrifices such as rice, eggs, wines and clear water before it. The instrument is a drum. Bawo will beat the drum and shake all over as if he is chasing the ghosts away. He will shout: "take away the sick person's chain and set his soul free´". Then he will put the burned stones into a pot with boiling water. He will spray some boiling water on himself and the sick person with a small brush to chase the ghosts away.

  To chase away the ghosts can cure a person and to ask for god can also make a sick person recover. The "Juemu" and "Bamo" of the Mamba people say they are the embodiments of goddesses and they are the messenger in-between human beings and gods. They will hold all sorts of ceremonies to ask for the cause of illness or the method to cure a sick person from gods. With the help of gods, they will find the sick person's soul and then return the soul to the sick person, so that the sick person would recover.

  Besides all the abilities stated above, "Benbo" could also utter incantations. In Chinese, Benbo is called "the religion of ben". Before the introduction of Buddhism, it was a common religion. Benbo (a kind of witch) can utter curses. It's said that such curses can put a person to death. Benbo also has a scripture of incantations. They will kill chickens, pigs, or cows personally and will take the heart or the inner organs of them out and steam them. They will place some ingredients on the sacrifices, so that god will like to have such sacrifices. Then, they will ask the ghosts not to trouble the sick person and let the ghosts go away after having the sacrifice.

  For the time being, the ceremonies of these primitive religions are greatly simplified. But in the desolate high mountains and deep valleys, the Mamba people can do nothing to natural disasters, illness and death. These ancient religious ceremonies might give them some spiritual console.




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