The Interpretation of the Dreams among the Hani

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The Interpretation of the Dreams among the Hani

As a general rule dream interpretation in China has followed a symbolic line, attributing to the memories of experiences lived during the dream a value related, sometimes not so clearly in a first analysis, to the values of everyday life. In a short chapter entitled «Predictions» in the book Customs of the Hani of Jinping, Yan Hongxing provides some examples of premonitory dreams interpretation.

We translate here the first examples, with some brief remarks:

  1. Dreaming of pigs is a sign that guests will arrive home.

– It seems logical, since the consumption of meat is closely linked to festivities and social relations.

  1. Dreaming of shit predicts that there will be loss of wealth.

– A concept easy to be understood by any person.

  1. To dream of stepping in feces or being smeared with it is a sign that riches will arrive at home, or a field with feces that the dreamer will have a good harvest.

– The feces have been the most important fertilizer until the arrival of chemical fertilizers in the 20th century, to dream of them seems to be related to the work and fertility of the fields.

  1. To dream of bleeding is an omen of money, and of people stained with blood that money will come.
  2. To dream of a snake chasing people is a sign that your wife is about to become pregnant.

– The snake also seems to be a symbol of sexuality among the Hani.

  1. Dreaming of pumpkins, watermelons, bamboo shoots is a sign of pregnancy.

– According to some myths mankind came out of a gourd. The gourd is a potent symbol of the female womb. Watermelons, with their numerous seeds, are a symbol of fertility, as is the bamboo shoot.

  1. To dream of falling pumpkins and watermelons is a sign that someone at home will suffer injury or death.

– It should respond to the same symbolism as above. It falls to the ground like the dead.

  1. To dream of collapsing houses, trees, melon frames and walls is a sign of injury or death in the home or family. Falling down, portends casualties to family members; falling out, portends casualties to outsiders.

– Specify a little more dreams related to the same symbolism.

  1. To dream of a falling tree stump is a sign that people will not die or that livestock will die.
  2. To dream of a beach is a sign that someone will die. The upper part of the beach portends the death of young people and the lower part of the beach portends the death of older people.
  3. To dream of being stung by a bee is a sign of a fight with outsiders.

– Insects representing outsiders is a common theme in the symbolism of the area.

  1. To dream that your teeth fall out is a sign that someone is going to die. If you dream that the upper teeth fall out, it foretells that the elderly will die, and if it is the lower teeth, the younger ones will die.
  2. To dream of going to eat with the dead, crossing the river and living in a rotten house is an omen that a «cold soul» or the spirit of a dead person will disturb you. You should ask someone to call the soul.

– This also seems clear.

  1. To dream of making a coffin is a sign that someone is going to die. When the wood is cut, and the sawdust flies out, it announces that the deceased will be a stranger; if the sawdust flies inward, it announces that the deceased will be of the family.

– Already the coffin symbolizes a death, and it seems that if the soul is outside or inside the house it will be able to influence, in the dreams, the direction in which the sawdust flies.

  1. To dream of lifting the coffin, the coffin is very heavy, it is a sign that riches are going to enter.
  2. To dream of falling is an omen of losing the soul, and you must ask someone to call the soul.

– It must refer to these strange dreams in which one falls without knowing if there will be an end.

  1. To dream that the road is cut off is a sign of bad luck.

– It is clear

  1. To dream that one climbs hills or trees but cannot climb them, is a sign that the dreamer will encounter difficulties.

– It is also very clear

References: Yan Hongxing (晏红兴). Predictions (预兆). In Guo Ji (郭级). Common practices of the Hani minority in Jinping ( 金平哈尼族习俗). Yunnan Nationalities Publishing House. Kunming. 2004.

Image: Author’s photograph taken in 2005.

Cite this article as: Ceinos-Arcones, Pedro, "The Interpretation of the Dreams among the Hani," in Ethnic China, 8 febrero 2021, https://ethnic-china.com/the-interpretation-of-the-dreams-among-the-hani/.

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