Discover 10 interesting things about communal houses in the Central Highlands

The communal house has long become a unique and impressive symbol of the basalt red soil plateau. Join iVIVU to discover interesting things you may not know about communal houses in the Central Highlands!

Discover 10 interesting things about communal houses in the Central Highlands

1. Tay Nguyen communal houses are only associated with villages, there are no provincial communal houses or shared communal houses in many villages. Nowadays, people’s houses are also built more comfortably, but the traditional communal house is always preserved in the center of the village as a place for common activities and to organize many gatherings and common events of the village.

Tay Nguyen communal house. Photo: nguoiduatin.

Tay Nguyen communal house. Photo: nguoiduatin.

2. Not all ethnic groups in the Central Highlands have communal houses. These houses appear a lot in ethnic villages in the northern Central Highlands, especially in Gia Lai and Kon Tum provinces. Belonging to the Gia Rai ethnic group in the northern Central Highlands, the Gia Rai Chor and Gia Rai Mthur ethnic groups do not build communal houses, only the Gia Rai ethnic group on the Pleiku plateau and the Ba Na people build this type of house.

Photo: VnExpress

Photo: VnExpress

3. People in the Central Highlands have the concept that a communal house is a place that attracts the sacred energy of heaven and earth to bring luck and peace to the people in the village. Therefore, in each communal house there is a solemn place to worship objects that people believe are living gods such as knives, stones, buffalo horns… In addition, this place is also a museum that stores artifacts. Traditions associated with the village’s history include gongs, drums, weapons, and animal heads sacrificed during holidays.

Nha Rong

house-Rong-ivivu-1

Photo: VnExpress

4. The communal house is not a house used for accommodation by the Central Highlands people. Although it has a structure similar to a habitable house, the communal house has unique architectural features and is much taller and wider. The long strip of decorative motifs along the roof of the communal house is a visible feature that the stilt house does not have. This is often a place for people to gather for village events.

Check-in at Konklor Kon Tum communal house. Photo: @katie_dinh3.

Check-in at Konklor Kon Tum communal house. Photo: @katie_dinh3.

Photo:cungphuot

Photo: VnExpress

5. Because the communal house is the most important place in the village, men often take turns staying overnight to take care of it. In addition to the purpose of preserving the sacred space, the communal house is also a place where people exchange stories and experiences in life. Single men and women in the village can gather in the communal house to visit and find a life partner, but are not allowed to go beyond the limit.

The new communal house worshiping ritual takes place inside the communal house. Photo: PL

The new communal house worshiping ritual takes place inside the communal house. Photo: PL

6. The stairs of a communal house usually have 7 to 9 steps, but each ethnic group has different decorations. On the railings and columns of stairs, the Gia Rai people often carve the shape of a water gourd, the Ba Na people carve the shape of a vegetable tree top, and the Gie Trieng and Xo Dang people often carve the shape of a gong knob or the bow of a boat.

Communal house architecture seen from the outside. Photo: defarm.

Communal house architecture seen from the outside. Photo: defarm.

7. Tay Nguyen communal houses are associated with the familiar image of a neem tree. This neem tree is decorated with many outstanding motifs and is erected in front of the communal house to serve village activities. In each festival, the neem tree has a different symbolic image such as the neet tree in the buffalo stabbing ceremony has 4 branches, the neet tree has only 1 branch in the new rice celebration…

The tree appears in festivals and cultural activities of the Central Highlands people. Photo: dangcongsan.

The tree appears in festivals and cultural activities of the Central Highlands people. Photo: dangcongsan.

8. Each ethnic group in the Central Highlands has a different style of communal house construction. The smallest and lowest communal house size is that of the Gie Trieng people. The communal house of the Xe Dang people is so tall. The communal house of the Gia Rai people has a thin, flat roof like an ax blade. The communal house of the Ba Na people is larger than the Gia Rai house, has soft lines and often has stilt houses surrounding it.

Compare different types of communal houses. Illustration photo: angcovat.

Compare two types of communal houses. Illustration photo: angcovat.

9. The communal house is the largest community living space in each village, where people exchange and discuss administrative and military fields, where customary laws are enforced, traditions preserved and ceremonies take place. religion and beliefs.

Photo:@baoyenbai

Illustration photo: @baoyenbai

Illustration

Illustration

10. The floor of the communal house is designed in association with the culture of gathering and drinking wine of the people. The floor is usually made from wooden planks or crushed bamboo pipes. When assembled, the panels do not fit tightly together, but the panels are about 1cm apart.

Photo: VnExpress

Photo: VnExpress