When it comes to the end of a harvest, inauguration of a communal house or a wedding ceremony, C’tu ethnic people in Quang Nam Province dress up in traditional costumes and dance in tune with gong and drum beating and shouting.
A feast was staged at Pro’Ning Village of Tay Giang District last Monday when the C’tu locals celebrated a bumper harvest and opening of their communal house called Guol – an important cultural part of the ethnic minority people who make up two-thirds of the district in the central province.
As the two events co-incided, the authorities of Pro’Ning Village mobilized many men and women, both young and old, to stage their traditional dancing for the extravagant feast, coupled with the ritual of killing buffalo.
The 81-year-old Co Lau Nam, who is patriarch of Pro’Ning Village, told the Daily that as the C’tu people believed the buffalo symbolized wealth and power, they killed it to worship and offer to deities in gratitude for bumper harvests or the fact that the rich wanted to show their wealth.
The ritual of slaughtering buffalo is a crucial part of a big festival. As usual, the village patriarch leads a group of senior men to beat gongs and drums while they go around the buffalo. The C’tu men with a scimitar, spear and stick in their hands shout and dance around the buffalo and the women dance in an outer circle.
After dancing for a while, the village patriarch with a small incense burner goes around the buffalo and then pours wine over the animal before he holds a spear to cut the buffalo’s nose to have its blood mixed with white wine in a small bowl for a nearby worship table/place together with steamed sticky rice, chicken’s egg, a bottle of rice wine among others.
The patriarch prays and kowtows at the worship place and then returns to the buffalo with chicken’s egg and a bottle of yellow wine. He throws the egg on the buffalo’s head and pours the wine on the flesh and head of the animal before letting his men in the village stab the animal until it is dead.
Men of the village throw a live chicken with blood of the buffalo and cut this animal’s hairy tail up to a pole which is used to tie the buffalo to pray for prosperity and bumper crops for the village. The dead buffalo is split and then distributed to households in the village.
As an essential part of the festival, a big meal is prepared in the communal house for the locals to enjoy and share their joys after a successful harvest. Visitors are invited to the meal consisting of com lam which is sticky rice cooked in bamboo cylinders, roast beef and chicken, boiled cassava, sugar cane and wine.
Visitors can join the cultural activities in the communal house Guol. Built with wood, bamboo and rattan leaves, the Guol house of C’tu people is a public place where traditional activities and village ceremonies are organized.
In addition to important events, the Guol house also provides visitors with an insight into the daily-life activities through the scenes carved or drawn on the building’s walls. That is why the house is regarded as the soul of C’tu people.