The ritual of praying for water - The particular culture of E De people
Updated : 12/27/2016 7:50:28 AM (GMT+0700)

E De ethnic minority compatriots are still preserving the particular cultural costume and habit and The ritual of praying for water (water deity) annually held is the largest particular one. The custom is to pray for favorable weather conditions, stable and peaceful life, asking for water from the water deity for the clean, fresh water sources to prevent the local inhabitants from pollution and epidemics… This vividly shows the plentiful activities of belief, community spirit.

The ritual of water worshipping in Le Diem hamlet, Hai Rieng townlet (Song Hinh district)

After the harvest, rice is preserved in rice stock, and without any reminder, each family self chops the rice to brew “che” liquor to prepare for the water-praying ritual. Besides, they prepare with pork, chicken and new rice to wait until the village’s elderly has chosen the best day (to organize the praying day), everybody is ready for the festival.

E De compatriots hold the water praying rituals in close connection with the belief and religious culture honoring and worshiping the life-long water deity. As to the thought of E De compatriots, rivers, streams, mountains, hills, trees, fruits and land all have souls “Land has the land soul and so does river”. Ha Ba, The God of Water, helps people with abundant, fresh water sources from the subterranean streams of water, free of epidemics and pollution. Water helps with irrigation, lush trees and fruit, bumper crops and water brings about prosperous and happy life. Therefore, water deity is worshipped and plays a crucial role in E De compatriots’ spiritual life.

Mr. Ma Cot, 72 years of age, in Xay Dung village, Suoi Trai commune (Son Hoa district), lets known, “The ritual of worshipping water by E De compatriot has been in existence for ages, bearing the close connection with the belief and ritual life of the human in everyday life. The organizing water worshipping ritual is to ask for the Heaven to offer favorable weather conditions, asking the Water Deity for the clean, fresh and unlimited water sources, bumper crops, good health for both people and cattle, poultry, and abundant rice, materials to rid of both hunger and poverty”.

The person implementing the water worshiping ritual has to be elderly and prestigious (competent to inform to the deities all of the villagers’ aspirations), the person must be chosen by the rituals. The offerings at the ritual include head of the pig, one hen, one big bowl of rice liquor, one chain of pork, one big bowl of plain rice… One the offerings have been prepared, the person and two ritual assistants wear the traditional costumes of E De compatriots. The person looks very solemn, resembling the ancient people heading towards the battle field to conduct the worshiping ritual. The person goes first with the head of the pig and the sword, the two assistants follow, one holds the meat and rice, the other holds liquor mixed with pork blood and other offering to the water bank. During the annual ritual by E De compatriots, those attending can be different but the above three Men are unchanged. 

The ritual attendants’ number is getting more and more crowded; they gather for the party with meat and liquor, having conversations. This is the occasion for them to enjoy the community cultural activities with the largest participation of E De compatriots. Everybody is indulging in the ferment of liquor, in the effervescent gong sounds with Arap dances, all is to convey the messages to all deities to aspire the happy, prosperous life, peaceful society; joining hands to construct the united and creative villages, to form one sustainable block of strength.

Source: Phu Yen Newspaper

Translated by HAI LOAN

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