Chinese Folklore – Part 1 – The Originator

The founder-Sun Liang from Laiyang, Shandong

Source: Internet
Northeastern folk songs: Guandong Mountain, three treasures, ginseng, mink, and uralensis.

Changbai mountain peaks are high and densely forested, with cold and green emeralds. They are rich in ginseng, which is extremely valuable. Because ginseng is a perennial herbaceous plant with head and feet that resembles a human figure and has high medicinal value and can prolong life, people have given it various magical colors since ancient times and called it "magic grass" and "goblin". The Manchu name is "King of Herbs" (Olhouda). With a mentality of worshiping mountain spirits and nature, it is said that it "inherits the energy generated in the East, obtains the spirit of the pure essence of the earth, and generates a sacred herb, which is the top grade of medicine." It is regarded as the first among the "Three Treasures of Guandong" precious. In addition, Changbai Mountain is the birthplace of Nurhaci, the founder of the Qing Dynasty. Naturally, it is regarded as a treasure land with beautiful people and outstanding people. The rulers of the Qing Dynasty were afraid of digging up the "dragon veins", so they adopted a ban policy in the early years of Kangxi, prohibiting outsiders from entering the mountains. However, the refugees in the pass (mostly from Shandong and Hebei), forced to make a living, often had no choice but to break into the Guandong. "Fangshan" has a long history and reached its peak in the Qing Dynasty. In a specific historical era, special geographical environment and special living conditions, special mountain rules, customs and a set of beliefs and taboos of mountain people have emerged.

In the primeval forests of Changbai Mountain that block out the sun and are infested with tigers and wolves, digging for ginseng is like finding a needle in a haystack. Ginseng is hard to find and dangerous, so people first need the protection of a protective god. At first, out of fear, they worshiped tigers and regarded them as mountain gods. They built mountain temples and worshiped devoutly when they entered the mountains and harvested ginseng. After the Qing Dynasty, due to the rapid development of human resources, the role of the protector of the mountains fell to the old leader who was the first to open the mountain from Shandong and sacrificed himself in the mountain. Legend has it that the old leader's surname was Sun Mingliang. When he died, he left a desperate poem:

  • I live in Laiyang, my surname is Sun, and I come across mountains and seas to dig ginseng.
  • I ate a mangosteen in three days, and you said he was sad or not.
  • Someone came to me this time and looked up the ancient river.

After his death, Lao Baotou became a god. He often came out to show his holiness and transformed into an old man with a white beard. He extradited people who were lost in the mountains and guided them to obtain precious ginseng and escape from difficulties and get down the mountain. According to old records: March 16th of the lunar calendar is the birthday of the boss. Every day on this day, ginseng pickers, loggers, and hunters in villages and towns under the Changbai Mountains prepare banquets, burn incense, and lay libations to pray for peace. Those who dig ginseng in the mountains will first choose a location not far from the southeast of "Cang (next to the word for soil)" (a very simple shack), and use "three tiles to build a small temple" to worship the head of the mountain god. There were no statues of gods before, but at the end of the Qing Dynasty, there was a paper horse (shown on the side), with an old man with five long beards printed on it, holding a mountain ax in his arms, sitting and enjoying the fireworks.

In the process of digging ginseng, the vast number of ginseng farmers have gradually "broken into" a strict labor organization and a complete production structure. Adapt to the natural seasons and enter the mountains on time.

Ginseng harvesting can be divided into three or four stages: the first stage is between April and May of the lunar calendar, when the herbs are first growing and the leaves are closed. When ginseng seedlings germinate, it is called "budding grass"; the second stage is between June and July, when the grass is thick green and the ginseng leaves are hidden among the weeds. "Market"; the third stage is between August and September. In autumn, ginseng seeds are mature, bright red and clean, shaped like a chicken waist, with a crown on a thin stem, which looks like a hammer, so it is also called "Red Hammer Market" among the people. Participate in the golden season. After September, when the ginseng seeds have fallen completely, it is also called "putting the broom head", "putting the yellow umbrella", or "putting the leek flowers". After finishing the trip down the mountain, it is said to be "dropping the stick" (that is, putting down the rope stick in the hand when setting down the mountain). Due to careful observation during production, Fangshan people vividly summarized the different phenomena of ginseng growth in each season in just a few words. From the earliest local chronicle "Jilin Jiuwenzhi" in the Qing Dynasty, the records and oral transmission among the people are the same, and they have their own unique production culture legends.

In terms of personnel organization, when entering the mountains, there are two types: "gathering a group" to release the mountain and "single sticks" (individuals). Those who join a group to go into the mountain are about three to five people or a group of five or seven people. When entering the mountains, prepare millet, pickles, simple cooking utensils and production tools - picks, knives, axes, deer bone needles, red ropes, oilcloths, etc. The leader led him into the mountain. First, choose a promising mountain farm with good wind direction, sunshine, soft soil, and sufficient water suitable for the growth of ginseng. Settling in "Cang (next to the word earth)" and close to the northeast of Cang (next to the word "earth") At this place, a "Laoye's Mansion" (a small temple) was built. Before entering the mountain, one would worship the old leader god, plant grass as incense, and ask for blessings.

The main members of the production team are the "head", "side stick" and "pot guy". The boss is the leader, the side staff is the one who controls the team, and the person holding the pot is the person in the group who is responsible for cooking. When entering the mountain, each person holds a rope-picking stick (commonly known as the Soluo stick, the stick is slightly thicker and longer than the hoe stick). Every time when choosing a stick when entering the mountain, the one who chooses the stick should be regarded as auspicious, and each member should keep a distance from each other during production. , about one stick length apart in the middle, the sticks are connected to each other, and they advance horizontally. In addition to the head being held by people with prestige and production experience, two "side sticks" handle the sides, and the middle one is called the "stick picker". Sandwiched between the pick pole and the side stick are usually the "young handlers" who have just joined the mountain, mostly played by the "xiaobanlazi" (underage long-term workers) who have just joined the team. The "pot guy" stays in "Cang (next to the earth character)zi" to cook.

When the people go to the mountains to collect ginseng, they are not only well-organized to ensure that there are no omissions in the harvest, but they also have various witchcraft beliefs in an attempt to control nature with human thoughts. Because ginseng is strange and hard to find, and has certain folk psychological effects, many mountain rules and precepts are formed by Fangshan people in the production process: don't say too many words, don't do too many things, and speak for good luck. When Fangshan moved forward to search for ginseng, it was probably to concentrate his energy at first and facilitate the discovery of ginseng. Later, a fixed "mountain rule" was formed. One of the rules of the mountain is to shout loudly when you find ginseng: "Bangchui!" It is said that Bangchui will be "fixed" and no longer run away. At this time, the leader will ask: "What kind of goods?" The discoverer replied: "Five" "Bi Ye" or "Liu Bi Ye". Then the accomplices laughed and said: "Hurry up! Hurry up!" In this way, the report of the discoverer in the front is called "Shouting the Mountain", and the questions and congratulations of the responders in the back are called "Joining the Mountain". The purpose of these shouts and shouts is to frighten ginseng, and at the same time, it naturally has the meaning of reporting and congratulations. It is the etiquette of a person who releases mountains to say "quickly" when meeting someone. To express their psychology and wishes, choose the auspicious meaning. People in the mountains are so accustomed to it that even when talking about tools, they have to add the word "quickly", such as "quickly as a knife" and "quickly as an axe". Mountain herders say hello to each other, and when they meet, they also say: "Hurry up!" "Shouting to the mountain" is a very serious matter, and must not be shouted randomly. If a grass is mistaken for "stick", it is considered unlucky. It's called "Shouting to explode the mountain". At the same time, you are not allowed to say anything you see.

There is a rule for those who release the mountain. They are only allowed to say "take" and not "put". Eating is called "taking the rice", returning to Cang (next to the word "tu") to sleep is called "taking the house", resting is called "taking the fire" (smoking), cooking is called "taking the pot", and digging ginseng is called "carrying the ginseng". Saying "take" in everything expresses a strong desire to take large ginseng, and the verbs such as "duan" and "lift" obviously contain respect. "Lift ginseng" deifies ginseng, and fetch and get have the same effect. In folklore terms, it belongs to the law of similarity or imitation in the category of magic. Ancestors believed that all things that are similar and can symbolize each other can induce each other. If you take the long worm (called "Qianchuanzi" by the monks), you can get the big "stick". Rest is not said to rest, its original meaning of rest is removed, and "taking fire" is used to symbolize progress, prosperity and development. This is the same as "calling the mountain" and "taking over the mountain", which is to use the magic of language to control nature. In addition, the creation of magic power and control of nature due to contact is also reflected in the custom of digging ginseng. There is a folk legend that ginseng is covered with straw hats to prevent it from escaping. As early as the Qing Dynasty, the great writer Wang Shizhen recorded: "When picking ginseng in Liaodong, I saw the ginseng seedlings and was speechless. I hurriedly covered them with weft curtains (the name of the straw hat), and then gathered people to dig them out. They found a lot of ginseng, otherwise the seedlings would not be seen." , nothing can be gained from it." Covering it with weft curtains creates magical power to capture the ginseng. Of course, this is the folk psychology of the law of contact at work.

From the perspective of folklore, in addition to the positive magic effects that such language and contact can produce, it is also believed that negative disasters and certain taboos can also achieve the purpose of seeking good luck and avoiding evil. As mentioned earlier, when people shout "Bang Chui", the secret name of ginseng is called out, and it is controlled and unable to exert its supernatural power. This is because people use their own strengths (using the magic of language) to attack the shortcomings of ginseng (the taboo of name-keeping). , so you can be sure of victory. "Taboo" is one of the oldest taboos, both at home and abroad. "This kind of belief occurs because primitive people in primitive societies cannot distinguish between things and their owners, names and things, symbols and reality. This is one of the most common barbaric ideas." This idea spread into the Middle Ages and modern times. This kind of "name taboo" is reflected in the custom of "calling the mountain" (calling the name of ginseng) by the mountain people. Likewise, a herder in the Changbai Mountains is not allowed to call his or her partner by name when pushing him in the forest. It is said that if you shout here and be picked up by the "Mada Ghost", it will cause you to run in the opposite direction (of course, this may be related to some illusion caused by the phenomenon of echo resonance in the mountains), so when people leave the group, they will Sometimes, the method of knocking on the hollow tree trunk is used as a communication signal. This may have the benefit of a physical venue, but once the so-called "Mada ghost" is explained, it is purely within the scope of folklore.

In the ancient people's concept, the "magic power" of language (such as calling names) can subdue the other party and control the power of life and death; in the same way, the other party is not alarmed (actually personifying natural objects) but can be covered with a kind of magic such as "weft curtain" and "red rope". Binding can make ginseng be captured and there is no way to escape. In the bad guy's concept, the contact between one thing and that thing, the connection of the two things, can produce superhuman power. When digging ginseng, insert two branches one foot away on both sides of the ginseng tree, then tie the ginseng seeds to the branches with red thread, and tie large copper coins on both ends of the red thread. It is said that this can have a suppressive effect. This series can generate magical power in one town. Whether in actual production or oral tradition, this legend is regarded as true and full of solemnity. It is even said that as long as you say "bangchui", the ginseng will really shake with fright, and some even shake off the seeds. It is even said that the frightened ginseng seeds can induce labor when eaten by pregnant women. These brief shouts, various taboos and magic in production, and even the phantoms and spirits of animals and plants are, of course, the legacy of the low productivity of primitive society and the concept of animism. It can very well enable us to learn from these ancient legends. We can see that the folk psychology and strange methods of our ancestors trying to conquer nature have accumulated over a long period of time until today. Regarding these, Gorky once said this:

The ancient laborer longed to ease his labor, increase his productivity, defend himself against four-legged and two-legged enemies, and use the power of words, "magic" and "spells" to control spontaneous and harmful natural phenomena. This last point is particularly important because it shows how deeply people believe in the power of their words.

It can be seen that shouting mountains, tying ropes, blocking hats, and various common beliefs in production are just naive expressions of the ancients' belief in the power and use of their own language. Of course this is a reflection of religious sentiments. However, the long-term preservation of a kind of folk custom may not originate entirely from people's concepts of natural phenomena, but from production and life. According to experienced farmers, when digging ginseng, tie the ginseng seedlings to the branches with red ropes, which can prevent the ginseng seedlings from lodging.

The people who set the mountains have always been very superstitious about dreams that signify brilliance. Not only will the "viewing" of the head lead to miraculous experiences, but it is also widely rumored among Korean ginseng farmers that dreaming of a red-crowned crane flying over will dig up big ginseng. The Han people believe that according to the strange scenes in dreams, Looking for it will also open your eyes.

The so-called magic effect when "Shouting the Mountain" naturally comes from the joyful exclamation from the heart when discovering ginseng. It comes from the actual production.

Back to blog