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Folk Customs

Large rice dumpling procession


On Feb 6 of the lunar calendar every year, villagers in Shangjiangfang in Beituan township will start to prepare for a large rice dumpling procession. They will use tens of thousands of leaves to sew a dumpling skin and 60 kilograms of glutinous rice to fill it. Of the ingredients, 30 kilograms of glutinous rice will be cooked into rice meal while the other 30 kilograms, after having been soaked, will be stuffed into the dumpling to make a bamboo-shoot-shaped dumpling measuring 1.6 meters high.

It will be put into a pot on Feb 7 of the lunar calendar and will be cooked for four days and four nights. On Feb 12 of the lunar calendar, it will be wrapped with gold foil paper and covered with auspicious paper flowers. In addition, hundreds of finger-sized male/female rice dumplings will be made and suspended on the tip of the large dumpling. The dumplings, large and small, will be consecrated in the ancestral temple for one day, while drums and trumpets sound off.

On Feb 7 of the lunar calendar, the procession will begin with the god blunderbuss. Gongs, a kind of Chinese folk musical instrument, will be struck to clear the way. The procession will pass in front of village homes carrying two tents of large rice dumplings, dragon and phoenix flags, festive lanterns, ancient tents, and "five-cereal fairies" sedans.

After the rite has been finished, women in the neighborhood will come to the "blessing hand" home, the home where the large rice dumpling was made, to ask for the small rice dumplings. People who want to give birth to a boy will ask for a male dumpling while those who want a girl will ask for a female dumpling. Moreover, the large dumpling will be handed out to the villages and used to brew wine.

The wine will be brewed from rice from the large dumpling used in the procession. The wine will be rather mellow with a tangy fragrance. After February of the lunar calendar, villagers will prepare for the spring plough, and each household will prepare wine to celebrate and wait for the great harvest of summer grain crops.