The “Dao Tien” in Son La province believe that a newborn baby is not an official member of the family or recognized by his or her ancestors until the child experiences a birth registration ceremony.
Dao Tien children
The ceremony is a compulsory ritual in each Dao Tien person’s life.
On the third day after a child’s birth, the Dao Tien of Van Ho district conduct a “bua phan tziu”, or birth registration ceremony, for the child. Before the ceremony, the child neither has a name nor is recognized by the ancestors.
“Birth registration is an important ceremony. After the ceremony the child is an official family member and is protected by the ancestors,” said Trieu Thi Mui of Van Ho commune.
The worship offering should include four bowls of rice, a vase of wine, some chicken, and some pork. The shaman invites the ancestors’ souls to the ceremony.
Trieu Van Toan of Van Ho commune repeated for us the ritual’s invocation: “Dear ancestors, we inform you of a new family member. The child is three days old and we have organized this birth registration to ask your permission to make him an official member of the family. We ask you to bless him with health and to grow up with no diseases. This child is now named at the witness of his ancestors.”
The shaman writes the child’s name and date of birth in the family’s genealogy book. The child’s grandmother takes him out of the house to look at the sun and the sky. They all pray to the Heaven God for protection and peace.
“I’m so happy that our parents held a birth registration ceremony for our child. His name has been written in the family’s genealogy book. I pray to the ancestors to bless him with obedience and health,” said Ban Thi Thanh of Phieng Luong commune.
The Dao Tien believe that if children are obedient to their ancestors, the family will remain under ancestral protection. VOV5