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Dong People, the Creator of Kam Grand Choirs


 
Quick Facts of Dong People
 
 
Name: Dong Nationality, Gaeml, Kam, Kam People

Population: 2,960,293 (by the year of 2000)

Distribution: Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi

Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County (Guizhou, 1952), Tongdao Dong Autonomous County(Hunan, 1954), Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture(Guizhou, 1956), Xinhuang Dong Autonomous County(Hunan, 1956), Yuping Dong Autonomous County (Guizhou,1984)

Language: Dong language belongs to the Shui branch of Zhuang-Dong Language genre. The standard Dong language is represented by Rongjiang of Guizhou. It boasts 32 initials, 56 finals, 6 promoting sound ( Cu Sheng) and 9 soothing sound(Shu Sheng). Hence, it is rhythmical and responsible for the melodious Kam Grand Choirs. Dong language splits into two main dialects: northern and southern, the former absorbs the words and grammar of Mandarin Chinese while the latter sticks to its original features. In 1958, Dong people were encouraged to adopt Latin alphabet to record their language.

Beliefs: Dong people are polytheistic; they deem everything around them possesses supernatural properties and adorn a myriad of gods in nature. At the core of their faith is Sa Sui Worship. According to their legends, Sa Sui was the great grandmother of Dong people, whom sacrificed her life to save them. She is omnipresent and omnipotent, who still protects the Dong people whole-heartedly. In southeast Guizhou, each Dong village has its own altar devoting to Sa Sui.
 
UNESCO Heritage: Kam Grand Choirs
 
 
kam grand choirs
Dong people perform Kam Grand Choirs in Zhaoxing Dong Village(behind them is the famous drum tower)


Key Words of Dong people: musicians, dancers, handicrafts, Kam Grand Choirs, Drum Tower, Wind-Rain Bridge(Roofed Bridge), Embroidery, silver ornaments

Dong Festivals:
 
Main Dong Festivals include Dong New Year, Dong Bullfighting Festival, Firecracker Festival, Girls’ Day, Sowing Seeds Festival, King Lin's Day, Eat New Harvest, Reed-Pipe Dance Festival and various singing contests. Gaoba Singing Festival and Shengdeshan Singing Contest are participated with tens of thousands of people, which are very engaging...
                               
 
 
dong festival
 Dong Festival: Gaoba Singing Festival
 
 

Main Villages: Dong Nationality Villages in Southeast Guizhou Province: The Villages of Dong Nationality-Liudong and Jiudong Villages
 
 
dong-village
 
                     
 
Top Dong Villages
 
 
 
 
Dong Architecture
 
Just as the saying goes: “ Dong people have three treasures: drum towers, Wind-Rain Bridge and Kam Grand Choirs.” Drum Towers and Wind-Rain Bridge testify to their extraordinary carpentry skills. All of these distinctive architectures are built by wood and stone. The most amazing part of their architecture is that not a single snail is used during the process.
 
dong architecture
 Dong Architecture


-------Drum Tower: it is the centerpiece of any Dong village, both physically and spiritually. Among all the ethnic groups, Dong people value community life the most. Drum towers is a place where they hold parties, discuss important issues, find soul mates and practice the Kam Grand Choirs. It also symbolizes the prosperity and union of a village. The five drum towers in Zhaoxing Dong Village worthy of a stopover. Mapang Drum Tower in Guilin is striking and Zengchong Drum Tower in Congjiang County is breathtaking.

-------Wind-Rain Bridge (Roofed Bridge): to facilitate passengers and to improve Fengshui, Dong people build Wind-Rain bridges above rivers near their village. Made of fir woods and stone, these bridges are endurable and elegant. Sangjiang Chengyang Wind-Rain Bridge is the most famous one.
 
 
chengyang wind rain bridge
 Sanjiang Chengyang Wind-Rain Bridge
 
Dong Food
 
 
Featuring diversified raw materials, cheering table customs and sour flavor, Dong cuisine distinguishes itself from other minorities subtly. Dong people love sour dishes, which account to half of their menu. Famous dishes include Sour Soup, Picked Fish, Pickled Pork, Barbeque Fish and Niubie. Long Table Banquet of Dong people is very interesting.
 
 
 dong long table banquet
 Dong Long Table Banquet
 
 
 
The Extremities of Dong Costumes

The most ancient festival attire of Dong people is Xindi clothes, which is used during Guzang Festival or Reed-Pipe Dance Festival. The top is left side opening, long-sleeved gown, which goes well with dress decorated with white feather. The dark fabric of Xindi clothes is embroidered with snake pattern, which is gorgeous and mysterious.

The most luxurious attires of Northern Dong people are seen in Baojing Dong Village of Zhenyuan. Their right side opening and collarless tops are trimmed with blue patchworks. To ensure consistence and harmony, trousers are made from the same fabric and trimmed with the same patchworks. Apron, the centerpiece of the whole set, is embellished with eye-dazzling embroidery, thus is especially eye-catching. They often wear two to three silver bracelets and silver earrings.
 
 
guizhou dong people
Dong girls in Baojing area of Zhenyuan wear the most luxurious attires.


The most typical summer attire of Southern Dong people can be found in Guandong Area of Congjiang, Guizhou. Their ancient hairstyle and embroidered white top as well as dresses can evoke our nostalgias feelings.

The most representative male Dong attires can be found in Huanggang area of Liping County, southeast Guizhou.

Dong girls in Gaozeng Area of Congjiang County wear the most numerous silver ornaments.
 
dong people
 


Dong girls in Shuikou area of Liping County wear the shortest dress among all Dong people, which just reach the upper middle section of their thighs. These trendy girls also wear embroidered aprons slightly longer than these dresses, leggings with light blue ribbons as well as hand-made embroidered shoes.
 
dong people
 


The heaviest silver bracelet: Dong girls living in Jiuping County wear bracelets weighing over 700g, which is the heaviest silver bracelet of its kind in China, which are engraved with auspicious patterns such as phoenix, dragons, insects and flowers.
 
 
 
dong peple
 


 

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