Folk customs in Hainan Province

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, October 27, 2010
Adjust font size:

Betel-nut culture

Betel nuts, one of the four famous Chinese medicines, are mainly produced in South China's Hainan province, where the tradition of planting betel nuts has existed for over 1,500 years. The betel nuts became well known as early as in the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, when the provincial officials used betel nuts as tributes to the royal court. Over the years, a unique "betel-nut culture" has been fostered.

More than 800 years ago, Su Dongpo, a famous poet of the Song Dynasty, depicted the scene of a Li girl wearing jasmine flowers on her head and chewing betel nuts; this shows that loving, growing, and chewing betel nuts have long been the tradition for Hainan people.

Today, in Wangning, Lingshui, and Wuzhishan, where betel nuts are abundant, people still view the nuts as a symbol of blessings and friendship. When guests arrive, the host will first offer them with betel nuts, and even those incapable of chewing betel nuts will accept as a show of respect. On festivals, such as theSpring Festival, betel nuts are a must-item for every household.

For the young people, betel nuts are tokens of love. When a lad takes a fancy to a girl, he has to first present betel nuts to the girl's family, commonly known as "Fang Binlang (giving betel nuts)", and the family's acceptance of the betel nuts means their approval of the proposal. At the wedding ceremony, betel nuts are even more important, as the newlyweds will distribute them to attending guests.

   Previous   1   2  

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comments

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from