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Basha Village


Basha Village

Basha is a very special and old Miao Ethnic village and is virtually untouched in any way by modernization. Basha residents still live in their wooden houses, practice centuries-old customs and have their own unique beliefs.


Basha village is home to over 1,000 residents living in more than 400 households. Their ancestors were frontline troops who charged through forests and fought the bears there -- all to guard the land where they lived. Through hundreds of years, they have been guarding their homeland. Still today the men in Basha preserve their musketeer heritage, which makes Basha the only tribe that can legally carry real guns in China. A strong sense of precaution inherited from their ancestors keeps this village isolated from the outside world. The villagers lead a self-sufficient life in the hilly areas and retain the dressing and living customs hundreds of years ago.

The villagers in Basha worship trees, especially maples, as gods. They believe the buns on their heads represent trees, while the purple clothes they wear represent bark. (The color is a special bluish purple. Biasha people usually add egg whites into the indigo when dying the coarse cloth, making it shiny and waterproof.) In Basha, a tree is planted whenever a baby is born. Often it will be cut down to make the coffin when the person eventually dies. Cutting down ancient trees is forbidden in the village.

Basha men are also famous for their unique hairstyles. Like the men in the Qing dynasty, Basha men wear their long hair in braids. They attach great importance to their hair bun, which they believe is a symbol of masculinity, as well as an emblem of power. This is a hairstyle that 's existed for thousands of years.

Young boys have to take part in a shaving ceremony between the ages of seven and fifteen. The tribe leader wets a sickle with the water used to boil eggs, and shaves off all of the boy's hair except for the central part, which is coiled into a bun. The blade caresses the scalp, and patches of hair fall to the ground. This shave is done without any shaving cream, or even a rinse. Boys get their first haircuts as a rite of passage, and then are given a hunting rifle at the age of 15 as a sign that they've become adults.

 

Old customs and traditions

Welcome Ceremony with Guns: Visitors to Basha frequently are greeted outside the village in the traditional manner by a group of the Basha men carrying weapons of long rifles. Please don't be frightened!! They are the locals practicing a traditional welcoming ceremony.


Adult Ceremony: Like men of the Imperial Dynasties, most Basha men-folk still wear their hair long. As little children, Basha boys, like girls, have to keep their hair until they are 16 years old. The Adult Ceremony is when the boy becoming a man is held and he is allowed to decide whether to keep his long hair. The Adult ceremony is held to have a young man's head shaved or to keep his hair which is twisted and coiled atop the head.


Worshipping Trees: Around the Basha Village, there are many large tall trees. Like many other tribes, who take an animal or material as their totem, Basha people worship trees. On important occasions or some traditional festivals, villagers usually burn incense under big ancient tress to pray for heath and happiness.

A tree is planted on the birth of a baby. Often it will be cut down to make a coffin for burial purposes when that person eventually dies.


Unique Dress Code: People in Basha maintain their unique code of dress dating back to the Qin Dynasty. Basha men usually wear a collarless coat with buttons on the left side or down the front with baggy short trousers. Basha men don't usually wear shoes, even in the cold winter. However women's clothes are more colorful. A coat buttoned down the front, a kilt and more colorful wrappings are the usual make-up for women.

 

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