Coming-of-Age Ceremony of Pumi Ethnic Minority

Chinese Name:普米族成年礼
English Name: Coming-of-Age Ceremony of Pumi Ethnic Minority

The girls’ coming-of-age ceremony is called “The Ceremony of Wearing Skirts”(“穿裙子礼”) and is hosted by their mothers. The little girl walked to the “Female Column” (女柱) on the right front of the Chinese fireplace. Her feet step on the grain sack and pig fat respectively. In her right hand, she was holding earrings, beads, bracelets and other ornaments, and in her left hand, she was holding cambric, linen and other daily necessities. The objects on her hands symbolize that women will have the rights to enjoy and the responsibilities of the family. Then the sorcerer or sorceress will pray to her ancestors and to the Kitchen God, and the mother takes off the linen gown for the girl, and put on a short linen jacket, a pleated skirt, and an embroidered sash. The girl who puts on new clothes kowtows her thanks to the Kitchen God, relatives and friends. Finally friends and relatives will give her gifts to express their blessings.

The boys’ coming-of-age ceremony is called “The Ceremony of Wearing Trousers ”(穿裤子礼) and is hosted by their uncles. Pumi people retain many matriarchal social customs, and the uncle has the highest status in one family. The ceremony of boys are very similar to girls’, the boy walks to the “Male Column”(男柱) in front of the left side of the Chinese fireplace. His feet step on the pig fat and grain bag respectively. In his right hand, he holds a sharp knife that symbolizes bravery, while in his left hand, he holds a silver coin, symbolizing wealth. After the sorcerer or sorceress has prayed, the uncle took off the boy’s linen gown and put on short linen gown, linen trousers and sash. The boy who changes his new clothes should also kowtow to the Kitchen God and his relatives and friends, then toasts them with ox horn cup. And friends and relatives usually send him a sheep to bless him with a peaceful and auspicious future and herds of cattle and sheep.

When the coming-of-age ceremony is held, the parents of these girls and boys have a big feast to entertain their friends and relatives. The hosts will serve guests bone soup, meat , some pig hearts and liver to show their close relationship. The ceremony is not complete until the banquet is over. After the ceremony, the girls and boys become adults, so they can participate in productive labor and social activities, and become full members of their families.

Translated by Dianna Zhou/周晓畋