The creation of the world among the Wa of China

ethnic china

The creation of the world among the Wa of China

As soon as the heaven was formed, it looked like the back of a toad, full of lumps and protrusions, it was very ugly. The god Li[i] extended his hands and was polishing without stopping. Nobody knows how many years he polished, but in the end the sky was as polished as the belly of a fish, slippery and shiny. And in that bright, flat and slippery heaven, God Li placed the sun, the moon and the stars. From then on the heaven was transformed into something beautiful.

As soon as the earth had been formed, it looked like the skin of a cicada’s belly, completely empty, very unpleasant. The god Lun[ii] used mud to pile it up where nobody lived, and by piling up and piling up he made high mountains and deep valleys, and made rivers and dikes. Since then, the earth was transformed with a form similar to the body of a horsehair snake[iii] where there were high and low areas, ravines and hills, very pleasant to the sight.

When the god Li was polishing the heaven and the earth, the remains fell into the great sea, absorbing the water. Since then, the rivers and lakes changed conveniently.

The separation of the heaven and the earth

At that time the heaven and the earth were linked by an iron chain. Heaven and earth, in fact, were very close. The countless beings living on the earth were not comfortable, continuously complaining before the gods Li and Lun. These ordered Daneng, the God of Animals, to cut with a huge axe the chain that kept united heaven and earth. The sky then ascended higher and higher, while the earth descended lower and lower. From then on, heaven and earth were separated.

Heaven and earth were originally a marriage. They could not stand the separation, they cried and cried without stopping. No one knows how many days they cried, how many years they cried, but the tears that flowed without stopping became the rain and the clouds.

In those days, there was only day and not night. When the sun descended the moon rose, and when the moon descended it was the sun that rose. Food was cooked by the sun, the moon boiled water. The living beings that populated the earth could not live, complaining continuously to Li and Lun. After deliberating how to solve this problem, they took a large tree and placed it on the moon, so that it became cool and dark[iv]. Since then there is a division between day and night.

The origin of earthquakes

Daneng could eat 200 kg. of red rice[v] in one bite, in one step he could cross 1000 lis[vi], with the tip of his finger he could lift an elephant, and the wooden drum that not even ten men could move, he put it as an ornament hanging from his ear[vii].  When Daneng cut the chain that held heaven and earth together, living beings feared that the sky would fall again, crushing everything that lived on earth, so Daneng held the sky with his two hands, from Ximeng all the way to Xibu and Dawa[viii]. When he reached Anwa, he kicked so hard on the earth that he broke its surface and his body fell inside it. Inside the earth he could not see the light or distinguish the clarity. In that cold, dark place no one knows how many years passed. He feared that all living beings on the earth would eventually become extinct, and so every several days he would make the earth tremble a little, as if asking if there were still living beings on its surface. Then the people, frightened by the earth tremor, beat their gongs and their drums, fired their shotguns and shouted in a loud voice. When hearing these sounds, Daneng would calm down and stop shaking the earth.

The creation of all beings in the world was done at all times as it had been prepared in an orderly way, after creating the heaven and the earth, Li and Lun created the plants and animals. Then they sent Puling, the god of vegetables, to govern the plants, and Daneng to rule the animals.

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Extract from «La Creación del Mundo y otros mitos Wa «, by Pedro Ceinos Arcones. The book is available for free download at

[i] The God of Heaven. Li in wa language is «polisher». Sometimes it has been translated as the God Liji (N. of the T. to Chinese).

[ii] The God of the Earth. Lun is «to heap» in Wa language. Sometimes it is called God Luan. (N. of the T. To the Chinese)

[iii] 马鬃蛇 in Chinese.

[iv] Also among the Chinese there is a belief in the existence of a tree on the moon. Among them an osmanthus.

[v] In Chinese 小红米.

[vi] Chinese length measurement, is about half a kilometer.

[vii] In some areas Wa women still wear huge ear ornaments. Perhaps this deity is female.

[viii] Ximeng and Xibo in the Chinese province of Yunnang. Dawa and Anwa in Burma.

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