Land god of ethnic minority group in Cao Bang on traditional lunar new year

Tuesday - 21/12/2021 15:42
Land god shrine in Lung O village, Quang Uyen towship.
Land god shrine in Lung O village, Quang Uyen towship.

Non nuoc Cao Bang is a land of internationally geological significances. This territory is home to 9 differnet ethnic minority groups, this area has identical traditional cultures. Originated from the agricultural practice of ethnic group in Cao Bang, people consider Traditional lunar new year is the most important festival in a year; during the festival, the land god worship ceremony is really important.

          The Mong ethnic group named this ceremony “Thứ Tỷ”. This ceremony is carried out on the 30th December (lunar calenda), each family in the village bring their worship items to the god land shrine, nomarlly located at the head of the village, which is carried out by the breadwinner of the family. They bring with them an emasculated chicken, 5 pices of sticks, 3 cups of wine, and rice. The representative (man) of the each family prays for the protection of the god for good crops, good soils,…After finishing this ceremony, people clean their house; normally they use three branches of bamboo with leaves tightened by a red pice of cloth to clean the spider web. After cleaning and sweeping the floor, rubbish is gathered at the inter section so that it can be swept away with the bad luck of the previous year.

          The Dao Tien people in Nguyen Binh named and cerebrate this ceremony “Thi Tieu Mien” twice, one at the end and begening of the year. The cluster of houses co-organize this ceremony and vote a representative of the cluster to carry out the procedures of the worship. At the end of the year on the 25th-26th December (lunar calendar) onwards, each household bring wine, fake paper money, incense, a boiled emasculated chicken, rice and the steamed rice represents “Gua Chang” on replacemen of Trung cake, since they haven’t been able to make Trung Cake for the traditional new year. During the ceremony, the representative man reports to the land god on the income, crops of households and express their gratitudes to the land god. After the ceremony, Dao Tien people slaughter pig to get food for the traditional lunar new year and making Trung cake. The second land god worship at the beginning of the new  year, however this ceremony doesn’t have a fixed date, households will take a day that they consisder to have good luck. By this time, Dao Tien people already have “Gua Chong” cake to present it to the land god and pray for the best lucks. After the ceremony, families gather and enjoy the meal together at the village/cluster head.

          For the Tay people in Chi Vien commune, Trung Khanh district, on the last day of the year, people clean and rennovate the land god shrine together, the elderly in families bring the clothes of family members to pray for good lucks, good health. On the first days of the new year, they go to the shine and light incense, the worship items are presented on the last day of the old year.          

          For Nung people, on the 30th night of December, they bring their worship items to the land god shrine. After the ceremony, the bamboo tocsin is rang, upon hearing the soud of the bamboo tocsin, people in each family go to feed their animal. This activity please the animals and the soud of animal at the bigining of the year means good luck to Nung people. After the ceremony, people gather and have meal together at the shrines, then they go home to prepare for their visit to their parents-in-law.

It can be said that the land god worshipping on the Traditional lunar new year is one of ceremony to pray for good crop of people living on agriculture with worshipped items lick chicken which associated with the belief of sun god, the soud of chicken wakes up the sun also associate with their wish for peace and good luck. Trung cake or “Banh Tooc” associates with the image of a pregnant woman, and wish for the children and it also associates with famers working on the farms. After the festival, people continue with the farming activities.

          For ethnic minority group in Cao Bang, the land god worshiping is not only the religious practice but demonstrates the union of local communities. People gather and enjoy the meal happily, wish each others best wishes under the witness the god.

Source: Hoang Huyen

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