Come to Kon Brap Ju to hear whispers from ancient times

July 16, 2013 1 travel

Characteristic cultural features from ancient times

The people of Kon Brap Ju village have preserved it intact to this day

Our group started from Kon Tum city, followed Highway 24 about 40 km to Kon Brap Ju village (also known as Kon Du) – Ba Na Ji Lang ethnic group, Tan Lap commune, Kon Ray district, Kon province. Tum. Because it was introduced by a friend, we easily recognized the small trail leading to the suspension bridge over the clear river. This is probably the fastest and most interesting path to the village.

The first thing that made us excited was setting foot on a suspension bridge spanning a river about 100 meters wide. Feeling overwhelmed by the height, and heartbroken because it feels like I’m about to be thrown out of this “giant hammock” at any moment, because every time someone accidentally steps hard or the wind blows continuously, The bridge tilted, swinging continuously in mid-air… It wasn’t until we reached the other side that I felt relief and an indescribable joy. Perhaps we had just discovered many interesting things about the world. The suspension bridge that has been closely associated with the people of this place for generations…

After just a few steps, we were surprised to see long tassels in front of us – the symbol of rice flowers made of bamboo, carefully placed by the people at the entrance to the village. Every few steps we saw a tree like this. position. We guessed that perhaps the village had just held a big festival this year… Just a few dozen meters further, from afar, we caught a glimpse of a large, tall, towering, majestic house located right in the middle of a large campus. and surrounded by old and new stilt houses. Everything is enhanced by the green color of rice, cassava and coffee cultivated by the hardworking and simple people here.

July 16, 2013 2 toursKon Brap Ju village communal house

We were quite lucky because the first person we met right on the stairs to the communal house was Village Elder A Jin Deng (Kon Brap Ju Village Elder). With a very standard Chinese language, he is knowledgeable about the cultural life of his people. Elder A Jin Deng happily talked to us and explained to us the typical festivals and customs of his people.

Proudly telling us about the village’s history, Mr. A Jin Deng immediately pointed to the other side of the mountain and said: Ba Na Ji Lang people (also known as Ba Na Jo Luong) in the Kon Tay area. This village, previously settled in the An Khe region (Gia Lai), after many times following shifting cultivation and nomadic practices due to farming, fires, wars, epidemics, the village had to constantly change places of residence… then Before the year of liberation, the village settled down to do business and live here to this day.

Explaining the architecture of the communal house here is that the roof is low and the house is long, rather than being high and big like the traditional communal houses of the Ba Na people in the city, Gia A Jin Deng explained: “The reason the roof is low is because This area is higher than the low-lying area of ​​Kon Tum city, so if built too high, it will be easily damaged by strong winds, etc. As for the long house, before building it, the elders carefully calculated and arranged it for each household. Everyone has a place to put wine to worship Yang in the sacred area every time the village has a festival.”

July 16, 2013 3 tours

The row of columns in the middle of the communal house is a place for households

Place a jar of sacred wine to worship the gods

And as if to prove his explanation, Elder A Jin Deng invited us inside the communal house to observe. It is interesting to see that in the middle of the communal house is a partition so that every time there is a big festival, each household in the village will bring a jar of wine. They carefully use rattan rope to tie the wine tightly to a small piece of tree. Avoid accidentally touching it and it will easily fall or break, and according to the villagers, it is a sign of bad luck for the homeowner that year…

The impression was accompanied by a feeling of excitement when we saw traces of the ancient custom of sacrificing sacred creatures, which were horns, buffalo heads, jawbones, bows and arrows, … all carefully tied on a large pillar. in the communal house, which according to Gia Deng is the altar, the residence of the Supreme Being, the God with ultimate authority who governs all activities in the village’s spiritual life. Besides, there are also wine glasses made of bamboo tubes, wooden masks… hung on the roof of the communal house, which are items used in the festival. Bones, molars and heads of buffaloes, pigs, goats, bow and arrow symbols to ward off bad things, etc. after each festival are also installed on the roof of the communal house as proof to the ancestors that descendants always remember them. They always preserve the customs of their ancestors from ancient times, and will pass them down from generation to generation, never forgetting the culture of their people.

July 16, 2013 4 tours

The bow and arrow symbol is intended to ward off bad things

The villagers carefully hung it on the roof of the communal house after the ceremony

Through observation, we discovered that there are three stoves in the communal house, instead of one like other communal houses. Gia Deng said that the weather here at night is quite cold, the kitchen is used to warm people on nights when they need to gather to discuss work related to the community, and the fire is also a place to demonstrate the the dates of the couple before they became husband and wife… The village still retains many ancient customs, such as when the boys reach adulthood, they take turns sleeping in the communal house to protect the village and to learn. experience in hunting, farming… What surprised me when I saw many sheets as big as a sling, stretched by solid rattan ropes, turned out to be buffalo and cow skins made from People carefully stretch themselves to make blank faces…

Not only did we see unique totem beliefs in communal houses, but it was even more interesting when we visited a few people’s houses and discovered that every house had a sacred corner dedicated to protecting gods and ancestors. mine. In addition to objects such as bamboo tassels, bows and arrows, and thatched grass, some households also mold clay into the shapes of people, buffaloes, fish, birds, and some households also mold objects such as hoes, axes, knives… Especially in Every sacred corner has a pot of wine ready to “satisfy” the spiritual being at any time.

And after a few hours of being immersed in the unique cultural space and spiritual beliefs in Kon Brap Ju village, and listening to old A Jin Deng’s steady voice telling about the typical customs and traditions of his people, it was like It was like returning to the past, to the world of ancient people… To this day, that impression is still deeply imprinted in me./.

Article and photo: Tuong Lam

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