The Most Complete Custom of Gelao Nationality

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August 17th 2020
Published: August 17th 2020
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There is an ancient village hidden in Wulong district named Tianjia stockade village. This village is the only home of the Gelao nationality in Chongqing. It is said that the origin of the Gelao people is related to the ancient Lao people. This legend gives the "Gelao" nationality another layer of mystery. In the customs of the Gelao nationality, such as housing, dress, diet, funeral, and so on, a number of features are similar to those of the ancient Lao people. Among them, the "Three Yaotai" custom of Gelao, is the most unchanged.

The "Three Yaotai" custom of the Gelao nationality refers to three kinds of feasts, which are the tea feast, the wine feat and the dinner feast.

The tea feast is offered to treat guests on their arrival. The host will invite guests coming from afar to rest and drink a bowl of oil tea, which is the original creation of the Gelao nationality. What is put on the table to enjoy is all vegetarian, including swelled candy rice, zongzi, cake, sugar food, walnuts, peanuts, chestnuts, dried sweet potatoes, Fried potato chips and so on. There is also a sequence to eating these snacks—the most honored man takes the lead and then the rest of the guests follow.

The wine feast commemorates when the eight immortals got drunk. Eight people sit around a table, and after each one is full of food and a little drink (only slightly drunk), they walk around as if they are stepping on clouds in the sky, just like the immortals. This shows the host's enthusiasm and also shows that the guests have received the hospitality of the host. Generally, there will be no less than nine dishes of appetizers at the banquet, including pig's heart, liver, tongue, ear, pork kidney, sausage, lean meat slice, stewed chicken, etc. with ten slices of each dish. When the host and guests are drinking, it is time for them to communicate with each other and promote their relationship. When everyone has had enough to drink, the people remove their bowls and enter a third feast.

The dinner feast signifies that guests from all over the world are gathered together. The host and guests pray together for good health, successful careers, and family harmony. It is the most exquisite feast. The dishes on the table generally include belly button, crisp pork, fungus, yellow flowers, bamboo shoots, seaweed, tofu balls, and so on. Now that everyone’s life is better, it’s time for more chicken, duck, fish, and other meat. Afterwards, another four dishes are essential: bean sprouts kimchi, radish shreds, mildewed tofu, and potato chips. There should be no less than 16 dishes for the meal.


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