In praise of life-giving water

Every year, after the harvest is completed or around the end of the Lunar New Year, the Ro Ngao ethnic minority in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum’s Dak Ha District celebrate a festival called Nước Giọt (Water Drops).

In praise of life-giving water
SHARED JOY: Children in traditional costumes get ready to dance. VNA/VNS Photos Khoa Chuong

It features a worshipping ceremony to pay tribute to the God of Water, who is locally known as Yang Ia, for his support during farming.

The ceremony is also held to pray to him for good things to happen, including a bumper harvest in the new year.

Their belief is that the God provides the Ro Ngao with their main source of water for crops and brings good health and peace to villagers, so that they never overuse or waste the local water supply in farming and daily life.

In praise of life-giving water
GOOD TIMES: Villagers drinking local wine at the festival.

Instead of digging wells, the villagers find geysers in the mountains and use hollowed-out tree trunks to convey water to where it’s needed. These water supply points are called "water drops" by the Ro Ngao and this has become the name of the festival, which is equivalent to the Lunar New Year festival, celebrated around Vietnam.

To prepare, A Thui, the village patriarch, determines an auspicious day and notifies all to contribute offerings to the worshipping ceremony, of which main items are pigs, chickens, sticky rice, and wine.

The patriarch assigns young people to go into the forest to cut down a big bamboo and bring home to make a kind of totem pole decorated with artificial flowers and other colourful items. The pole is erected near the village water station.

The Ro Ngao people believe the pole is God’s spirit shelter and a symbol of the solidarity in the community.

The more splendid the pole is decorated, the more favourable and lush the crops will be. It must be perfect, and whole.

No one is allowed to immerse the pole in water or step over it while it is still being decorated.

Young men are assigned to clear the weeds and the path leading to the water supply points. Meanwhile, women focus on cleaning up, redecorating the communal house, and preparing food, wine, and containers to store water.

In praise of life-giving water
ESSENTIALS: Wine and food are among the key items at the festival.

When everything is ready, village patriarch A Thui, dressed in brocade, stands at the front of the water supply point and begins worshipping, inviting the God of Water to join in and enjoy the ceremony along with the villagers.

At the end, the patriarch uses a bucket to take water. After filling it up, the villagers use a little water to fill a pot of wine. Elderly villagers are the first to enjoy the drops of pure water.

Next, villagers collect water together and bring it home, preparing for the upcoming festive season at the communal house.

All feel a sense of excitement and joy, as they believe the God of Water will bring them all the pure water they need together with good health and bumper crops.

A Thui said that the festival is now better than before.

 

Villagers have ended some of the backward customs associated with the festival, including cutting the neck of a chicken and spreading its blood around the place of worship.

“This not only pollutes the water source from the mountains but also arouses superstitions that are not allowed in the community,” the village chief said.

Another evil custom, the animal sacrifice, has also been rejected by the community.

“In the past, when worshipping Yang [the Deity], people would tie a sacrificial animal, usually a buffalo or a cow, to the totem pole in front of the communal house,” A Thui explained.

“After saying some words of worship, the village patriarch would use a long spear to stab the animal once, to cast a spell. Young people would take turns stabbing the animal until it was dead.”

He said he had convinced the villagers to stop such backward and violent customs.

“Instead, I told them to focus more on cleaning the worshipping area to welcome the God of Water, which is a symbol of a healthy and happy life, for a bumper crop,” he said.

An elder in Kon Trang Long Loi Village, A Not, said he used to participate in the animal sacrifice ritual when he was young. But he realised the custom was not humane so was willing to end it.

“I support patriarch A Thui and local authorities in the campaign to remove these evil customs from the community,” he said. “The villagers agreed immediately with the decision of local authorities to end it.”

After the rituals at the water supply point are cultural activities at the communal house.

The throbbing sounds of gongs resound throughout the village. The patriarch walks around the communal house with gongs and dances to thank the God of Water for helping the villagers have a bountiful harvest. Everyone also prays to God for a happy and successful new year.

The villagers gather around the communal house, presenting all kinds of food, including stir-fried bamboo shoots, grilled meat, fried noodles, and, especially, wine.

Hundreds of eye-catching decorative wine vases are presented in front of the communal house by people to thank the God for giving the village valuable water.

To joyful rhythmic sounds, all of the villagers, old and young, enjoy drinking, singing, and dancing.  VNS

Khoa Chuong

Tet of ethnic groups

Tet of ethnic groups

The Vietnamese nation has 54 ethnic groups. Each group has its own culture, customs, language, lifestyle, costumes, and celebrations. The ways they celebrate Tet, the lunar New Year, add color to the Vietnamese culture.

Craft villages in Hanoi gear up for Lunar New Year festival

Craft villages in Hanoi gear up for Lunar New Year festival

Local people in craft villages throughout the capital have moved to ramp up production of various products in an effort to meet increasing demand from consumers ahead of the Lunar New Year festival, known locally as Tet.

 
 

Other News

.
Huong Pagoda Festival canceled because of Covid-19 pandemic
Huong Pagoda Festival canceled because of Covid-19 pandemic
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  07/02/2021 

The Huong Pagoda Festival in 2021 would be canceled for the prevention of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sai Gon FC plan to send players to Japan
Sai Gon FC plan to send players to Japan
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2021 

This year, Sai Gon FC plan to send two players to compete for FC Ryukyu in Japan, who play in the J2 League.

Local movie industry at stake this Tet
Local movie industry at stake this Tet
FEATUREicon  07/02/2021 

The Lunar New Year (Tet) has always been an ideal occasion for film distributors, but it will probably be different in 2021. 

HCM City to open book street festival to mark Tet holiday
HCM City to open book street festival to mark Tet holiday
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  06/02/2021 

Thousands of books are set to go on show at the annual book street festival which will take place in downtown Ho Chi Minh City from February 9 to February 15 in celebration of the upcoming Lunar New Year, known locally as Tet.

Oldest bookstore on Hanoi's Dinh Le Street
Oldest bookstore on Hanoi's Dinh Le Street
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  07/02/2021 

Nestled quietly in the small attic of the old dormitory on Dinh Le Street in Hanoi, Mao Bookstore has become a familiar destination for book lovers in the capital city.

Hoang Anh Gia Lai to face An Giang in National Cup opener
Hoang Anh Gia Lai to face An Giang in National Cup opener
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  05/02/2021 

Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) have been handed a straightforward National Cup draw against An Giang FC in the qualifying round following the online draw held on Tuesday in Hanoi.

Quang Hai named among most valuable players of ASEAN teams
Quang Hai named among most valuable players of ASEAN teams
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  05/02/2021 

Vietnamese midfield maestro Nguyen Quang Hai of Hanoi FC has been named in a list featuring the most valuable footballers playing for ASEAN teams, as announced by website Asean Football.

Hanoi to set off fireworks at only one location in Lunar New Year’s Eve
Hanoi to set off fireworks at only one location in Lunar New Year’s Eve
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  04/02/2021 

The capital city of Hanoi will cancel fireworks display in all of its 30 districts as planned in the Lunar New Year's Eve, which falls on February 11, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Kitchen Gods ceremony a tradition of Tet
Kitchen Gods ceremony a tradition of Tet
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  04/02/2021 

The Vietnamese traditional New Year (Tet) festival actually begins on the 23rd of the last month of the lunar year, which falls on February 4 this year, with the “Ong Cong - Ong Tao” (Land Genie and Kitchen Gods) ritual.

Spring colours featured at village
Spring colours featured at village
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  05/02/2021 

A series of annual cultural activities to welcome spring by various ethnic minority groups will be held throughout February at the Vietnam Village for Ethnic Cultures and Tourism.

Midfielder Nguyen, a rising star of Hai Phong
Midfielder Nguyen, a rising star of Hai Phong
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  05/02/2021 

Nguyen Phu Nguyen's sparkling form has helped Hai Phong FC become the surprise V.League 1 leaders as the season is paused due to the pandemic.

Vibrant spring energy on show in art exhibition
Vibrant spring energy on show in art exhibition
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  03/02/2021 

An art exhibition to celebrate the success of the 13th Party Congress and the founding anniversary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (February 3) has opened in Hanoi.

New book on Tet released
New book on Tet released
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  03/02/2021 

A new book on the culture and lifestyle of Vietnamese people during Tet (Lunar New Year festival) has been released in HCM City.

Hanoi's historical sites brought to life
Hanoi's historical sites brought to life
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  03/02/2021 

Student Dang Viet Loc won first prize at a drawing contest held by the Centre for Scientific and Cultural Activities of the Temple of Literature.

Goalkeeper Lam joins Cerezo Osaka of Japan
Goalkeeper Lam joins Cerezo Osaka of Japan
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  02/02/2021 

Cerezo Osaka of Japan have announced their successful signing of goalkeeper Dang Van Lam from Muangthong United of Thailand.

New insights on Emperor Gia Long
New insights on Emperor Gia Long
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  02/02/2021 

To commemorate 200 years of death of Emperor Gia Long in the Lunar calendar, Hue Monuments Conservation Centre held the opening ceremony of an exhibition on Emperor Gia Long at Long An Palace, Hue Royal Antiquities Museum. 

V-League postponed amid COVID-19 outbreak
V-League postponed amid COVID-19 outbreak
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  02/02/2021 

The fourth round of the 2021 V-League has been delayed due to the spread of Covid-19 in some provinces in Vietnam.

New museum about Ho Chi Minh Campaign opens in HCM City
New museum about Ho Chi Minh Campaign opens in HCM City
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  02/02/2021 

A new museum showcasing items and documents about the Ho Chi Minh Campaign in April 1975 has opened in HCM City.

Chance encounter with a Thai wedding
Chance encounter with a Thai wedding
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  03/02/2021 

Hoa Village is home to Black Thai people, with stilt houses made of cement and metal frames resembling those in Doi Village.

Sculptors showcase pottery artworks to mark their club's opening
Sculptors showcase pottery artworks to mark their club's opening
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  01/02/2021 

Nearly 100 pieces of pottery by members of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association are on display at an exhibition in Hanoi.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN