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Singing for Love

Dong GirlsIn Dong communities, young people up to a certain age begin to join in social activities and to seek a lover. "Xingge Zuoyue" - traveling to sing and sitting in the moon - is one of their social and entertainment activities, which is popular in the south Dong areas. Names are different in different areas: some call it "Zouzhai" -travelling among villages (for the young men), and "Zuoye" - sitting in the evening (for the girls) or "Zuogetang" - sitting in the singing hall. According to tradition, they are mentioned together as "Xingge Zuoyue" or "Xingge Zuoye". Usually it is held in the season-free period.

When darkness falls, the young men would travel among villages in groups, carrying their self-made musical instruments like a Niutui qin (a stringed instrument) or a lute and so on, to visit girls. Several girls would gather in some one's home, spinning, embroidering, as well as waiting for the young men. When they have arrived, all sit around the fire pool, exchanging love songs, or boys playing Niutui qin and pi-pa while girls singing. In this manner, they unclose their true feelings indulgently. Songs of different contents are sung in different seasons. In the question-and-answer singing, those who know more knowledge and decency are most favored. The gathering can be large or small, and partners are not fixed. Both males and females can get to know and communicate with many friends of the opposite sex, and visit many singing halls. In a long-term communication, they get to know each other, and are always looking secretly for their own lover. When a couple is willing, they can date each other, and set up a formal love relationship.

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