The Drung Ethnic Minority

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The Drung Ethnic Minority

The Drung people live in Gongshan Drung and Nu Autonomous County of Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture by the Drung River.

Before the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Drung people were undergoing,transition from a public-owned clan society into private ownership society. Previously they had three cultivating methods-collective cultivating, family-partnership cultivating and individual family cultivating, but family-partnership cultivating was the most common. The production tools used by the Drung people were also primitive, including some simple iron, steel, stone and wooden instruments. There were no clear divisions of labor in their society, and their productivity was very low. After 1949, however, their living and working conditions have improved dramatically.

Today the Drung family is an independent production and economic unit and is typically comprised of two generations. Before liberation, they were nature worshippers and believed that all living creatures have souls. Since 1930, some Drung People have converted to Christianity. Yet many religious traditions still exist. They have many sacrificial activities and ox butchering is the most formal one.Before 1949, the Drung people made up their own calendar according to the change of the moon's shape. The period between two full moons was a month and the length of a year from the first heavy snow this year until the first heavy snow in the next year. Today the Drung use the same calendar as other ethnic groups in China.

The Drung people live in two kinds of houses. Those who live in the northern region live in wooden houses, and those in the southern region live in wooden houses, and those in the southern region in bamboo houses. They eat twice a day and their diet consists of corn, millet and beets. Common dishes are gruel and stir-fried noodles accompanied by tea. The Drung people have water, earth and fire burying customs after death. Earth burying is the most common. Friends and relatives of the dead come with grain and wine to offer their condolences. On the day the body is buried, everyone in the village stops working. If the deceased was elderly, they would cool buns and bury them into ground after the shaman completes the sacrificial ceremony.

The Drung people (mainly young women) have the custom of tattooing the face, to differiate different clans. This custom has basically disappeared after the liberation in 1949.

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