Name of ethnic group: E De (Rade, De, Kpa Adham, Krung, Ktul, Dlie Rue, Bio, Epan, Mdhur and Bich).
Population: 270,348 people (Year 1999).
Locality: Concentrated in Dak Lak Province, southern Gia Lai Province, and western parts of Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen provinces.
Customs and habits
The E De live in houses built on stilts. These houses are generally elongated. The interior of the house is divided into two parts. The main part, called the Gah, is reserved for receiving guests. The rest of the house (called the Ok) is divided into compartments for a kitchen and for living quarters. At each side of the house there is a floor yard. The yard lying in front of the entrance is called the guest yard. Matriarchy prevails in E De society. Women are the heads of their families. The children take the family name of the mother. The right of inheritance is reserved only for daughters. The husband comes to live at his wife’s house after marriage. If the wife dies and nobody among the wife’s relatives replaces her position, the man then returns to his home and lives with his sisters. The E De practice a polytheistic religion.
E De language belongs to the Malay-Polynesian Group. The E De have a rich and unique treasury of oral literature including myths, legends, lyrical songs, proverbs, and particularly well-known khan (epics). Their musical instruments are comprised of gongs, drums, flutes, pan pipes and string instruments. The Ding Nam is a very popular musical instrument of the E De which is much liked by many people.
Women wear a skirt and vest with colourful motifs. Men simply wear loincloths. The E De like to wear copper, silver, and beaded ornaments.
The E De practice slash-and-burn agriculture and cultivate rice in submerged fields. Besides cultivating, the E De also practice animal husbandry, hunting, gathering, fishing, basketry, and weaving.