The Thai in Son La province have many cultural and ritual customs. Planting or hanging Ta dieu is a typical rite which has been handed down from generation to generation.
A 7-eye Ta Dieu planted on the ground
In the Thai language, Ta dieu means an eye. It’s made of bamboo strips and hung on a door or planted in the ground to chase away evil spirits.
Tong Van Hia, a shaman in Mong hamlet, Son La city, said, “I’m 80 years old. I saw my grandparents and parents making Ta dieu when I was small. We make Ta dieu for every occasion such as to work or sleep in the forest, inaugurate a new house, to relieve from bad luck, or when a family has a sick person or a newborn baby.”
There are two types of Ta dieu. The one-eye Ta dieu is made from 6 bamboo strips. It’s hung on a door or the staircase, or planted in the ground with a leaf and a piece of charcoal. This Ta dieu aims to chase away evil spirits and inform guests that the family has a sick person or a newborn baby.
A 1-eye Ta dieu
The other type of Ta dieu is made from 12 bamboo strips to make 7 eyes. The Thai plant 4 Ta dieu at the 4 corners of a new house or on 4 sides when they sleep in the forest to inform the land deities of their presence and chase away ghosts and devils.
“When I was about 10 years old, I tended buffalos and cows and learned to make Ta dieu from the elders. Very few people can make Ta dieu, mostly the elderly," said Hia.
Tong Van Hia is making Ta dieu.
Reading a prayer is more difficult than making a Ta dieu. Hia explained: “When we plant or hang a Ta dieu, we read a prayer to scare the ghosts and devils. Shamans will read different prayers but generally Ta dieu miraculously scares away all types of ghosts. A Ta dieu is like a dragon eye, a knife, or a gun to terrify ghosts into running away.”
The Thai feel good when they finish a Ta dieu rite. They have continued to uphold it for the next generation. VOV5