Songs remembering the old folk. 1.

Sung by Yang Zhi.


In the opening lines, and from time to time throughout this song, the Miao words "yeu" and "bo" are used. In normal speech these words simply mean "man" and "woman". It is clear, however, that in the present context they refer to ancestors. The terms are together synonymous with "li gha lao", meaning "the old folk". It is therefore more appropriate in translation to render "yeu" and "bo" as "grandfather" and "grandmother" respectively.

In line 11 the expression "beu yeu" occurs. This is the name given to the ritual of rebirth. If a child, in the early months of life, did not seem to be thriving as it should, the ritual of "beu yeu" might be performed. In this the child was passed through a basket from which the bottom had been cut away, a ceremonial re-enactment of its birth.

Literal Transcription

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