Festivals related to the rice life cycle of the Ba Na people


A ceremony to worship Yang – praying for a good harvest and happy villagers – Illustration, taken at the Kon Tum Provincial Museum.

Somăh Kocham (Opening ceremony for a new production season): This festival is conducted by the Ba Na people in late February and early March, when the whole village is about to enter a new production season. The offerings are pigs, sometimes buffalos. The festival lasts one day and one night. During the festival, the villagers inform the gods about the work they will do during the year, pray for their help so that everything goes well, the weather is favorable, the crops grow quickly and lushly, and there are no problems. natural disasters and pests; healthy people; livestock development; abundant crops.

Somăh go (Pot offering): After repairing the old house, and preparing to go to the fields to plant rice, the Ba Na people hold the Somăh go ceremony. The ceremony is held in one day, at each family’s private home, with offerings of a chicken and a jar of wine. The purpose of the ceremony is to pray to gods such as Yang go (god residing in the pot), Yang ti Konung (god residing in the pillar tying offerings), Yang te (god of the earth) to help people have health and protect them. give the family a perfect life and a good business; Especially pray for the rice god to remember the way home, the rice will not be flat, not be destroyed by disease, and when harvested, it will fill the house…


A Yang worshiping ceremony is held at a private family.

Illustration photo, taken at Kon Tum Provincial Museum.

Somăh dak mat atau (praying for tears of the dead soul): Ba Na people believe that the souls of the newly dead still hang around in the cemetery. When the planting season comes, you will remember the fields and return home. The soul sees changes and doubts in the house. The soul counts its fingers and sees only 4 fingers, knowing that it is no longer human, so it will cry. The very intense cry of the soul will wake up Bok Koidii (who usually sleeps soundly). When Bok Koidi wakes up, lightning will appear and the god will send rain. So when the first rain stopped, the whole village started the Somăh dak mat atau ceremony. The place to worship is at the entrance to the tomb. The ceremony takes place in one day with the purpose of thanking the ghosts and dead grandparents for waking up Bok Koidi and Da Korké and causing rain to fall in time for the planting season. At the same time, they also pray for that year’s crop. have favorable rain and wind. The ceremony is also an opportunity to pray for the souls of food crops, fruit trees, and livestock to not be taken by ghosts and brought to the cemetery.

Somăh Zmul ba (prayer to grow rice): The ceremony is held in March according to the Ba Na calendar. If it rains, it is held at home, if it is sunny, it is held right in the field. The ceremony is conducted by each household and in one day, on the first day the whole village goes to rice fields. The purpose of the ceremony is to inform the ancestral spirits of one’s family and gods such as Yang Kong (mountain god), Yang Dak (water god) about rice cultivation, praying for their help throughout the process. The process of proliferation and development of rice seeds will: “Not be rotten and damaged, no holes will appear, natural holes will also grow, the earthworm will not dig out, the ants will not let it go. If you want the rice bush during the day to be like the lemongrass bush, during the day at night with a banyan tree, don’t let the worms eat it, you want all the seeds to be firm, fill the house, and have some to pour into the house wing…”.

9.10.22Thinking that the rice plant is the mother of rice and also has a soul, the Central Highlands people only use their hands and not sharp objects to cut it for fear of “hurting the rice” – Illustration.

Ming agam (washing ceremony): Every year, villages will usually hold this ceremony in May. The location is on the bank of a stream in the village or on the field. The Ba Na people believe that this ceremony should be performed because if there is a violation of customs and practices regarding male-female relationships in the village, the rice spirit will imitate it and become “ugly”, causing the rice to become susceptible to pests and diseases and gradually wither. Therefore, performing the Ming agam ceremony means “washing away” the violations of that custom.

Somăh Kwai (pray to return): During the time when the rice is about a hand high until it is ready to plant the rice fields. Usually July and August are the time to prepare for the ceremony. The ceremony lasts two days. The location is at the village gate or on the main road to the fields. People conduct ceremonies to call and summon the souls of rice, corn… that are lost, captured by gods such as Bok Koidoi, Yang Kong, Yang Dak, so they need to be summoned to ask Yang ti Konung to preserve and protect them. develop well.

Samok (eating new rice): This is a big festival held for 2-3 days, in a communal house. During this time, the early rice fields on the fields have begun to ripen. This is a festival held to celebrate the beginning of a new harvest, with the hope that the rice in that year and the following years will always be lush and productive. That’s why the villagers will sacrifice pigs and chickens, praying that Yang Kong and Yang Dak will not frighten the rice souls, so that the rice souls – along with the rice souls – will bring fullness to the villagers.

SomăhKeh (rice planting ceremony): After the Samok festival, each family makes SomăhKeh at home or on the field to start mass rice harvesting.

Somăh Teng amang (warehouse closing ceremony): when the last basket of rice is poured into the warehouse, each family holds a rice warehouse closing ceremony. They take the rice basket and place it on top of the pile of rice in the warehouse, implying that the soul of the rice stays with the rice until the next crop.

And after all the farm work has been tidied up, the Ba Na people will celebrate Tet, also known as the new rice celebration, for the whole community and signals the beginning of the Ning Nong season (season of eating, drinking, and drinking). . After 3 months of house-building ceremonies, house-repairing ceremonies, communal house construction, water wharf worshiping, grave-leaving ceremonies, weddings, ear-blowing ceremonies, peace-praying ceremonies… And when you see the raindrops start to fall They begin a new planting cycle with offerings to pray for the gods to respond and satisfy people’s wishes./.

Tuong Lam

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