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Va people smoke in mysterious Wengding Village

By : InKunming | Published: 2012-March-23

A woman of Va ethnic group smokes at Wengding Village, Cangyuan Va Autonomous Prefecture, Lingcang County, Yunnan.

Situated about 33 km away from the downtown of Cangyuan Va Autonomous Prefecture, Lingcang County, Yunnan, Wengding Village (翁丁寨) is embraced by mountains. With warm climate and abundant raindrops, Wengding Village is a pleasantly beautiful place. Surrounded by luxuriant banyan, bamboo and green fields, it is called "Wengding", because of the mists all the year around. The village has a history of nearly 400 years, and all villagers here are Va people.

Va people are ardent lovers of smoking, which has lasted for more than a thousand years. Tobaccos are regarded as "holy herbs" for Va people who present tobaccos as the most cherished gifts when visiting heads of tribes or participating in weddings and festivals. This custom has been passed on till today.

Va people prefer Hanyan (tobacco smoked in a long-stemmed Chinese pipe) to shredded tobacco for water pipes, as the long-stemmed pipes are easy to find. One has to drill a hole on one section of a bamboo and install a cigarette holder. In this way, a pipe can be made shortly.

Smoking plays an important role in Va people’s life. When a boy dates with a girl, they usually chat while smoking. If he is attached to the girl, he sings and lets the girl to light the cigarette for him. If the girl regards him as the person of her heart, she will find an excuse to light for him.

Located in the subtropical zone, Cangyuan County is suffering mosquito, especially in the village. Smoke helps to get rid of mosquito and snakes. The most efficient way to cope with them is smoking, so maybe this is why Va people have special preferences for cigarettes.

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