Special custom of Nung ethnic minority group in Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp

Tuesday - 21/12/2021 15:44

As other ethnic minority groups, Nung people possess customs on celebrating traditional lunar new year and wishes for good luck in the new year.

          Before the 30th December (lunar calenda) Nung families prepare a big firewood named “Pỏ phầy”-the king of the oven which is used in the new year eve night. Nung people go to the forest and choose the “Ca Lieng” tree and split a pice of 12 hands which demonstrates 12 months in a year. After that they separate the peel of the wood, they believe that this practice helps their children’s skin stay away from pimple and strong skin. The “Pỏ phầy” wood is wrapped with red paper and tightened with a “Trung cake”. On the new year eve evening, the woman in the family tights a pice of incese to the wood and put it into the oven. After the wood is burnt, people continue to keep its coal in the oven for the first few days of the new years so that the king of the oven can bring fortune to families. One interesting practice of Nung people is that everymorning when they get up they check the shape of the burnt wood to see if it is “pig mouth shape or chicken mouth shape”; The round shape of the burnt wood indicates a favorable year for the pig farming, the shape of sharp-pointed burnt wood indicates a favorable year for chicken farming. The king firewood is used in the January (lunar calendar) until the it is finish, a small pice of firewood is retained for the “lunar new year repeating festival” which is celebrated to mark the end of new year celebaration and the work in the new year is commenced as scheduled.   

          There is a dish, duck meat, in the end year party is organized in the afternoon of the last day of the old year. Nung people believe that duck meat is to mediate the bad luck of the old year; in this party people have to finish the duck meat otherwise the bad luck might happens in the new year.

          As other ethnic minority groups, Nung people practice “first water” in the early morning of the first day of the new year, which normally is taken by the woman of the family. When they go to take water on the first day of the new year, they have to bring with them three pice of incense, some fake money and two water buckets to get the water from the well or stream at the entrance of the village. Before going to take water, people light and put the incese on the altar to aks for permission from their acestors. Once they arrive at the vennue to get the water, they put the incense and paper money on the ground, after that they carry out practice and pray:

“On the occasion of the lunar new year/We come to take water/wish for new year with good lucks/and sweep away the bad luck of the old year, wish for fortune and success in the new year”. Then they take water and burn the fake paper money, this practice originates from  their belive in “all things have spirit”, which also indicates the connection between the people and the water god. On they way backhome they are not allowed to put down the water buckets and will not talk to anyone. They belive that if they do so, the spirit of water will be scared and will not go home with them. Once they arrive home, they will use this new water to make tea and present it to their ancestor. Some of it is used to boil with “good smell” tree to wash their face, and the rest will be leaft for animals.

          On the first day of the new year, girls in Nung families get up early to make “Khau thec- Pop rice”. Before, the making of “pop rice” makes interesting noise constributing to the hustle atmosphere of the new year.  

          For the land god worshiping, on the 30th evening people bring the worship items to the shrine. On the second day of the new year, families gather at the shine, one olderly on behalf the community pray for the good lucks and good crop. On the first day of the new year the hope for the good luck in the year people will not take a bath in the new year but to retain their good luck and people will also not sweep their floor or give people fire, or visit other people on the first day of the new year, or break something, etc.

          All the practice of Nung people are associated with the agricultural based living style. Nowadays, some dos and don’ts from the previous time are still practiced in some families, which contributes to diversify the traditions of ethnic minority groups in the border area.  

Source: Hoang Huyen

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