chapter  VI
11 Pages

VILLAGE FESTIVITIES

Short ly after the departure of Shankai and T hird Go, th e season of tomb sacrifices arr ived, an occasion to be participated in by all th e families of th e Hwang village. The first sacrifice -to the first ances tor-always took place on the first day of the eighth moon. Their first an cestor, in the case of th e Hwan g, was the great-great-great-gra ndfather of Dunglin's own grandfather, the man who had migrated out of South Fukien up along the Mi n River and had settled down so long ago in this littl e village of the Hwang. It was his misfor tune that at the time of his arrival, all th e land surrounding th e village was already occupied by earlier settlers. Yet , by dint of hard lab our, he had gained a foothold in the village. He certainly could never have imagined that severa l centuries later ninety-nine per cent. of th e populati on would belong to the clan of Hwan g, and only one house, th e village inn, be left to be run by others. T o-day th e H wang villagers, all of the same descent, are closely bound together in so fierce an allegiance to each other against outsiders th at their settlement is named " the barbaric village". Moreover, the clan still retains a special brogue of the dialect of South Fukien which th e neighbouring villages do not understand. When the Hwan g villagers do try to communicate with outsiders, th ey mu st use the dialect of the whole district, the Kutien dialect, named after the chief city of this part of the province . To this very day th e first ancestor's descendants, in their hearts as well as in th eir langu age, are truly a clan.