Chung cake and Day cake in the traditional festival of Tay ethnic group

Tuesday - 21/12/2021 14:54
Chưng cake and Day cake, which are typical agricultural products linked to agricultural culture and traditional practices of Tay ethnic group in Cao Bang living in the Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp, are usually present in traditional festivals.
Chung cake and Day cake in the traditional festival of Tay ethnic group

First of all, let get to know the Chung cake in the lunar New Year, which is the most important festival the nation in a year. Chung cake is one of the most important cakes in the lunar New Year and an inevitable dish presented at the altar to the ancestor beside the 5-fruit dish, wine, port, and chicken. According to the traditional practice, Tay and Nung ethnic group in Ha Lang and Trung Khanh district area used to make a big pair of Chung cake, which is named as “parents’ cake”, each one has a total weight of 2-3kg sticky rice. This pair of cake is named in Tay language “Moỏc vạ đăng”, which also meant the thunder sound cake. As the old saying in Tay language goes “the sound of thunder in the month before lunar New Year, even the people do not work hard they still have enough food”. This means that the sound of the thunder indicates that people are going to have a fruitful crop, so even now in the month before the lunar New Year people do not work hard, they still have good crop in the New Year.  

In that case, Tay ethnic group would enjoy the cake on the second day of the lunar New Year. If there is thunder sound in the first month of the lunar New year “Vạ đăng bươn chiêng/Nặm phiêng lít, phiêng ly/ Mọi t’ỉ đảy kin”, which means that if there is the thunder sound in the first month of the Lunar new year, there is water for crop; every household will have enough food. This is one of indigenous knowledge of Tay ethnic group on the weather focast from their agricultural production experience.

People also organize the “Đắp nọi” festival at the end of the first month of the lunar New Year. People will make more Chung and fried sticky rice flour cake. The “Đắp nọi” festival is considered as the junior lunar New Year, but on this occasion people don’t usually make the large Chung cakes.

For the “Khuăn vài” festival, this is the time that most of the preparation for the crop including ploughing the rice paddy fields and putting the young rice plants on the field from April to June have been done. “Khuăn vài” means the “soul of the buffalo”. This festival is organized on June 6th lunar calenda annually, and it is also known as the “Slo lộc” (the 6th). In reality, the “Khuăn vài” festival is celebrated as a “thanks giving” to the buffalo after a hard duration preparing for the crops. On this occasion, people make rice noodles, ducks, Chung cake, horn-shape sticky rice cake to report on the progress of their agricultural production to the agricultural gods and land gods so that they can help them to find the soul and return it to the buffalo and cows. On this occasion, people make a big pair of “parent Chung cake” similar to those in the lunar New Year. The big Chung cakes also known as “Moỏc vài” which mean the horn-shape sticky rice cake. After their praying procedures, people enjoy the food. From the morning of the lunar June 6th , people use a piece of Chung cake to rub on the horn of the buffalo and let the buffalo or cow eat one piece of the horn-shape sticky rice cake.

In the wedding, people also make Chung cake and Day cake, but not the big pair of Chung cake as in the lunar New Year, while they also make Day cake with dimension of 30-40cm and red-colored on one side to illustrate the joyfulness and happiness. These two kinds of cakes are presented to their ancestor and share the cakes and happiness of the couples with their relatives.  

The “coincidence 10” or “Lạng thép” festival means shappening the reaping-hook to cut rice. This festival is celebrated on the lunar October 10th that’s why it is named “coincidence 10”, by this time most of crop harvesting activities have been finished. People make Day cake with cane juice sugar mixed with green bean or seseam inside to thank for the reaping-hook. “Bươn slip xì lạng thép” (making Day cake on October 10th as a thank giving for the reaping-hook becomes an annual festival of Tay ethnic group.

Chung cake and Day cake are diriven from agricultural production and closely linked to agricultural production; and festivals become a cultural and religious practice of Tay people in Non nuoc Cao Bang geopark area.


Source: Lê Chí Thanh

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