Betrothal firewood of Ro Ngao women

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Betrothal firewood of Ro Ngao women

According to custom, before getting married, the daughters of Ro Ngao (Tu Peng village, Po Ko commune, Dak To district, Kon Tum) have to go deep into the forest to find hundreds of bundles of chestnut firewood as an offering to their father. mother-in-law.

Living in the middle of a vast land with dense trees, the Ro Ngao people living in Tu Peng village attach great importance to firewood. For them, firewood is one of the indispensable things in every family. Therefore, since ancient times, people here have had a rather strange custom, which is that every girl who reaches the age of marriage must go to the forest to collect firewood to prepare as an offering for her husband’s family.

Village elder A Hanh said that firewood is a very important thing that shows a girl’s love for a boy. Looking at the bundles of firewood earned by a girl, people in the village can evaluate the girl’s “merit, kindness, speech, and conduct”.

cui 2To get married, the women of Tu Peng village have to carry hundreds of bundles of firewood like this on their shoulders.
If a girl’s firewood is abundant, beautiful, and even… it means the firewood pile belongs to a girl with skillful hands, beautiful appearance, filial piety, carefulness, and certainty to her husband. She was about to marry a healthy and handsome boy and the girl’s love for the boy was very deep. Because of this, the people of Tu Peng village always stack firewood to show off in front of their houses.

A special thing according to customary law is that a girl’s betrothal firewood must be firewood from a healthy chestnut tree. If a girl takes firewood from a chestnut tree with its top cut off, it will be a bad omen for her future marriage.

In addition, engagement firewood must comply with regulations such as: each firewood must be about 80cm long, the firewood must be straight and strong, all outer bark must be stripped clean, the tip of each firewood must be cut with a sharp knife. or all pointed.

Because of these strict regulations, every teenage girl has to endure many dangers and hardships for 2 to 3 years to go into the forest to collect enough firewood to get married. This is also the most difficult testing time for a girl’s love for a boy.

cuiMs. Y Na has a happy life, loved by her parents-in-law because she earns a lot of firewood.
Elder A Hanh also added that in the past, when the forest still had many trees, the girl had to go into the forest alone to find firewood. If a boy goes to help a girl to collect firewood and is discovered by the village, he will be punished. Now, when the forest has been destroyed a lot, in order to find firewood for her husband’s family, the girl has to go deep into the forest to find firewood. It will take a long time, so the village has decided to reform the “law”. She is a girl who can borrow anyone in the village to help her collect firewood.

Nowadays, any girl who has a lover just needs to ask people in the village to go into the forest to help her find firewood. They will collect firewood continuously for 20 to 30 days for the girl. When there is enough firewood (at least 100 bundles), both families will hold an engagement ceremony and the daughter will bring all the firewood to her husband’s family. Build a house to stack firewood neatly and wait for your husband’s family to organize the wedding.

In response to the girl’s hardship in collecting firewood, her husband’s parents will organize a lavish wedding for their son and daughter-in-law with 10 – 20 jars of wine, many chickens, a very large pig, and a large family. Any family that can afford it will buy more beer. Those who collect firewood to help their daughter-in-law will be solemnly invited to the wedding.

Elder Y Hap (70 years old) added: “If a girl is clumsy and doesn’t satisfy the groom’s family after the wedding, the groom’s family will return the firewood and will not marry again.”

To demonstrate, old A Hanh took us to the house that stored the firewood that her daughter-in-law Y Na had been collecting for three years for her husband’s parents. He proudly said: “This is the firewood my daughter-in-law has been looking for, I’ve been cooking for 5 years.” Now it’s not over yet. My daughter-in-law’s hands are very skillful, my husband and I love her very much.”

Ms. Y Na said that in the past, to collect firewood for her husband’s parents, she had to go to the forest for four years. Every day, she had to climb several hills and wade several streams to reach the place where there were beautiful chestnut trees that were cut down to use as engagement firewood. To have a large pile of firewood for her husband’s parents to cook for more than 5 years, she has carried the heavy weight on her shoulders thousands of kilometers without worrying about fatigue. At that time, Ms. Na always had faith in her heart that only then could she be loved by her husband’s parents.

NGOC LINH

According to Ho Chi Minh City Police


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