We all want to be blessed, and keep away from badness. Since the ancient time, people have searched a path to settle down their live. To the Chinese people, the certain ritual called Nuo is one of the answers. Nuo is a ritual which people put on the mask of gods to drive out evils. Today, in many countries of Chinese, we can still find it play a major role in their life. This thesis will focus on the Nuo ritual in Shi-you Village, Nanfeng County, Jiangxi Province.
Nuo in Shi-you has a long history, Since Ming Dynasty, it was held during Chinese Lunar New Year (it last 17 days). The whole ritual can be divide into 4 phases: Chi Nuo (Begin to process ritual), Tiao Nuo (Blessing), Sou Nuo (Drive out Evils), Yuan Nuo (The end of the ritual). The form of this Nuo ritual is so simple and powerful that many researchers will focus on these external characteristics but ignore the inner connection to the society. Shi-you is a little village base on the Wu’s patriarchal clan, there are few villagers living here are not Wu’s family. How this kind of resident structure be kept stable? How it reveal itself in Nuo’s ritual? Eventually, what king of character did this ritual play in this social process?
This thesis will divide into 4 chapters to find out the answer: first, I will clarify Shi-you Village’s history, to define the connection between the Wu’s clan and the Nuo ritual; second, the Field Research method was introduced to record all the detail of it; Third, I will try to find out the major meaning of Nuo to Shi-you villagers using Mircea Eliade’s idea to Sacred Space, and Sacred Time; finally, I will quote Victor Turner’s ideas of Limen and Communitus to identify Nuo Ritual’s importance in the social process.
I think, People is the true subject of ritual. Any study pursuits to solve this question should never ignore the complex connections between human and ritual, Without that, we could never confirm the real value of ritual.