The Co Tu ethnic minority people live mainly in the mountainous regions of Quang Nam and Thua Thien-Hue provinces and in the western end of Da Nang city in central Vietnam.
Co Tu women and children prepare rice cakes for R'dao visits.
After a harvest, when the grain has been transported to the storehouse, people leave their shacks in the fields to go home for New Year celebrations. Before the New Year festival, the Co Tu have a custom of visiting their daughter and her husband’s family.
In the Co Tu language, R’dao is the word for the custom of parents or brothers visiting the family of their daughter or sister before the New Year festival. Colau Bhlao in Voong hamlet said his daughters are married to men in the same hamlet. He and his wife will visit their families in the afternoon.
“My two daughters are married and live close to my house. Visiting extended family by marriage is our custom to express the affection, care, and bond between our two families. Whether we had a profitable year or not, we will give them gifts such as, eggs,bamboo tubes of steamed rice, or brocade fabrics. If we earn well, we will gift them more,” Colau Bhlao said.
Depending on the circumstance of the family, a visit to the extended families by marriage is conducted twice a year. The wife’s family prepares gifts for their daughter and her relatives such as steamed rice and meat of a 2-legged-animal. They also bring new clothes and brocade products for their daughters.
The wife's family prepares food for a R'dao visit.
Colau Hoa, a daughter of ColauBhlao, is touched when her parents and brothers come to see her.
“I’ve been married for 10 years. My parents and brothers visit me every year. If parents are unable to visit their daughter on this occasion, she may end up feeling abandoned. As in previous years, my parents and brothers give us bamboo tubes of steamed rice, chicken, and fish. It’s my family’s expression of warmth and affection for me and my husband’s family,” she said.
The wife’s family will invite the family members by marriage to eat what they bring. They will set aside some food for their daughter’s parents-in-law.
“To greet the wife’s family, we treat them with the meat of a 4-legged-animal such as pork and beef. We don’t eat what we prepare for our guests. If we eat that kind of food, it’s seen as a sign of avarice. God will punish us,” Alang Bhlaanh, a relative of the husband, said.
While having a meal, people from both families sing call-and-response folk songs. They will say goodbye late at night or choose to sleep there. The next morning, the husband will wrap up some food for his parents-in-law to bring home. R’dao is a custom of the Co Tu to spend time with each other and strengthen the family bond after a busy year. VOV5