return icon Vietnamnet.vn

Praying for rain in a parched landscape

When the summer sun is at its fiercest and all around is cracked and dried the Jrai ethnic minority in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai pray for rain.

{keywords}
Senior Jrai villagers in Rưng Ama Nin Village are dringking ruou can as part of the ritual praying for rain: VNA/VNS Photo Quang Thai 

The annual ritual is held in early June in Rưng Ama Nin Village in Ayun Pa Town, in the southeast of the province, and is painstakingly prepared by a 'special council' and attended by almost everyone in the area.

The uniqueness of the celebrations is certain to delight visitors hoping to explore the mystic traditions of the Jrai.

Preparations began at the end of May in the small yard of villager Ro Com Hkliong’s house. The village council gathered for a meeting, with selected women villagers, to discuss plans for the ceremony.

Unlike many other places, where the entire village may join in preparations for a ceremony, in Rưng Ama Nin only 12 people conduct the ritual, including the village chief, who is the chief celebrant, while two other  prestigious elders are his assistants.

The remaining nine people, including five women, carry out preparatory to the ceremony, such as providing wine, water, and other drinks, arranging decorative items, and cooking.

The members of this group, which local people call the ceremonial “council”, must never have violated the village’s rules in the past, especially what is deemed taboo. He or she should also exert a positive influence on the community.

There are certain acts that must be avoided at all costs on the day the ritual takes place, such as holding hoes or hammers or even going to work.

The offering, which is displayed for the main ritual, consists of a black boar without white spots and weighing about 20kg, and three jars of Jơbô wine.

Other items used in the ceremony include a large copper pan, five white porcelain bowls, and five bamboo straws for drinking ruou can (wine stored in a big jar and drunk through long bamboo straws). All must only be used for the ritual, not daily life.

At 9am, the ceremony began. Senior villager Ksor Hơ, who is also the chief celebrant and the host of the ceremony, slowly walked over and sat in front of three jars of wine.

Putting his hand on the first, he murmured divine vows in the Jrai language, expressing a desire to pray for good weather, particularly rain and wind, peace, food, and good health for all villagers.

The main ritual lasted about 10 minutes. The host then scooped up water from a brass bowl and poured it into the wine jars until they were all full, then used the bamboo straws to drink the wine.

Ksor Hơ invited Hkliơng, on whose land the ceremony was held, to drink with him. In turn, she invited the host to drink, to express her gratitude for having such an honour bestowed upon her.

A small tray of traditional food was then served. The group ate well and drank ruou can while talking among themselves.

While the southeast of Gia Lai is the province’s largest “rice bowl”, it is also associated with legends of the King of Fire and the King of Water, so praying for rain is an important ritual in the spiritual lives of the Jrai. It is an ancient tradition featuring the ethnic minority’s unique cultural characteristics, amid a sacred and solemn atmosphere of connecting with the gods.

Those who seek to explore the mysticism of the Jrai will be captivated by the act of the ritual.

Visitors can also see villagers make offerings and play musical instruments typical to the Central Highlands, such as cong chieng (gongs), and can drink wine with them as well.

There are beautifully sculpted jugs and ancient cups to admire, the aroma of the ruou can to be inhaled, and traditional brocade sets, with the dominant colours of red and black, to be tried.

Villagers also perform dances with gongs in front of the communal house, where the worshipping ceremony takes place, or explore wooden statues in the haunted space of the ceremony.

Local dishes of blue rice, grilled chicken, spring snails, and noodles are available all around.

Lai Van Minh, director of Ayun Pa Town’s Culture, Information and Sports Centre, said rituals such as praying for rain are part of the precious ethnic culture.

“In order to preserve and promote local cultural values, authorities will hold classes to teach people, especially the younger generations, how to play gongs and weave brocade, and will look at all cultural festivals, including those with great spiritual humanity, and encourage people to study and preserve them,” he said. VNS

Quang Thai

Extracurricular class fuels ethnic minority students’ passion for Gong culture

Extracurricular class fuels ethnic minority students’ passion for Gong culture

Dak Lak province in the Central Highlands has opened classes on Gong playing for students from ethnic minorities to help them learn the core values of Gong culture. 

Discovering Chu Se terraced fields from height

Discovering Chu Se terraced fields from height

The stunning beauty of the green terraced fields belonging to the Jrai ethnic group in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai has proved a popular destination with travelers flocking to the area in recent time.

MORE NEWS

Former State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc explains his resignation

Former President Nguyen Xuan Phuc decided to resign and retire as he was fully aware of his responsibilities before the Party and the people when a number of officials under him committed violations during his stint as prime minister in 2016-2021.

Vietnam remains third largest seafood supplier to RoK

The nation remained the third largest seafood supplier to the Republic of Korea (RoK) last year with the country’s seafood market share as part of the RoK’s total imports reaching 10.2%, according to statistics released by the Korea Customs Service.

Airline agencies asked to tighten control over smuggling by air

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has asked agencies under its wing to strengthen inspection and supervision to promptly detect and handle smuggling by air.

Vietnamese FM meets Cambodian, Philippine, Malaysian counterparts

Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son met with his Cambodian, Philippine and Malaysian counterparts on February 3 on the sidelines of the 32nd ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting (ACC-32) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Vietnam to help Timor Leste soon become official member of ASEAN: FM

Vietnam will work with other ASEAN member states to discuss, agree on processes, procedures and necessary measures to support Timor Leste to become an official member of the group soon, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said.

Vietnamese circus artists Quoc Co, Quoc Nghiep set new world record

Circus artists Giang Quoc Co and Giang Quoc Nghiep on February 3 (Vietnam time) set a new head-to-head balancing walk plus blindfold record in Milan, Italy.

HCM City faces shortage of teachers at all levels

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has held a press conference to provide information about socioeconomic issues and epidemic prevention and control in the city.

Female People's Army officer works at EU Training Mission in Africa

Of the seven officers of the Vietnam People’s Army sent by the President to international missions, Lieutenant Colonel Vu Thi Lien is the first officer performing duties at the European Union Training Mission in Central African Republic (EUTM RCA).

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES FEBRUARY 4/2023

Minister requests fruitful cooperation in defence industry with other countries

Vietnamese cyber users advised to be cautious about ChatGPT registration

ChatGPT has recently been so popular in various fields. Since there are limits in ChatGPT registration from Vietnam, Internet users here are warned to be careful to proceed with the process to avoid being scammed.

2-3 more submarine fiber cable routes needed for Vietnam

The Vietnam Internet Association’s (VIA) Secretary General Vu The Binh said Vietnam needs at least two or three more submarine fiber cable routes in the next five years to serve mounting demand.

Vietnam still approves use of Covid antibody treatment

Vietnam still approves use of Covid antibody treatment Evusheld as it is still effective against subvariants circulating in the Southeast Asian country.

Former Coast Guard generals accused of embezzling $2.1 million

The crime allegedly started in 2019 when the Vietnam Coast Guard’s Department of Technology was allocated VNĐ150 billion (US$6.3 million) to purchase equipment.

Transport Ministry told to disburse VND94 trillion in 2023

The Government has tasked the Ministry of Transport with disbursing nearly VND94.2 trillion of public investment in 2023, up 1.7-fold against the 2022 figure and 2.2-fold versus 2021.
back_to_top