The Bon Xo Ruk festival of the Brau ethnic group in Kon Tum
The Bon Xo Ruk festival was an extremely important festival for Brau. When calamities and disasters such as epidemics, fires, landslides, floods and poor harvests occurred, the festival was organized. In addition, Doctor Bui Ngoc Quang from the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences:
“The system of brewing ceremonies is very diverse. The most typical of these was the Bon Xo Ruk festival. The aim of the festival was to ask God to take away all evil and bring good to the villagers. The ceremony took place within three days. The villagers carefully prepared for this festival. "
To prepare for the festival, the village elders assigned tasks based on the ability of each villager. Women prepared food, firewood, and water. Men went into the forest to find bamboo, the material for the “Cay Neu” - the tree used to drive out the devil - and for the house of worship. Before the festival, the village was fenced in with bamboo and wood. The village gate was closed. No one was allowed to enter or leave the village during the three-day festival.
On the first day of the festival, all families in the village were not allowed to cook. According to the Brau, fire is sacred. If there was an accident in the village, fire was no longer sacred. Therefore a ceremony should be organized to pray new fire.
The second day of the festival was a special day when the villagers held the ceremony asking for a new fire. At the ceremony, a boy and a girl brought roots of a male bamboo and a female bamboo to the Rong house. The two bamboo roots had dried. In addition, Doctor Bui Ngoc Quang:
“The two dried bamboo roots were the main characters in this ceremony. The village elder conveyed to the god that the villagers held the ceremony to light the new fires. They expressed their hope that these fires would bring goodness to the villagers. ”
The boy and girl rubbed both bamboo roots together to start a fire. When the fire was blazing, gong instruments played along with it. The villagers sang and danced around the fires. Doctor Bui Ngoc Quang continues:
“The villagers lit fires to cook beef and pork. They sang and danced all night. That was the highlight of the festival. "
While sacred ceremonies took place on the first two days of the festival, the third day was the day of the meeting. Brewing women brought the sacred fires from the Rong House stove to their families' kitchens to prepare the first meal with the new sacred fire. After lunch, the villagers bathed by the stream to drive away misfortunes and anger.
The Brau's Bon Xo Ruk festival was typical of community solidarity. Nowadays, however, this festival only remains in the memory of the brewers in Kon Tum.
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