K’ho ritual of drinking straw wine
Friday, October 21, 2016 - 7:42:08
(VOVworld) – Drinking straw wine is typical in the culture of the K’ho people. Straw wine is served at ceremonies to welcome guests, at festivals, and at worshiping rituals.
Drinking wine and playing gongs are often mentioned in the folktales of the K’ho ethnic people. Straw wine is served at rituals to worship the Heaven God. People also drink wine at festivals related to agricultural production such as the new rice festival, as well as at weddings, and death anniversaries.
The K’ho people learned how to make straw wine long ago. Traditionally, straw wine is made from rice. The method is simple. Rice is well-cooked and then mixed with rice husks, and dried. After adding manioc, cassava, and corn, the mixture is fermented in a jar with rice or other kinds of leaves and covered with banana leaves for 1 month. To serve, the jar is filled with water, and straws are used to drink the wine. The older the wine is, the more valuable it is.
K’ho people think that wine jars are where the Wine God lives, so a wine jar is a sacred object. An ancient jar can be worth dozens of buffalos. A K’ho’s wealth is measured by the number of jars he owns. It is an old K’ho custom to collect different kinds of jars. Mr. Luu Danh Doanh is a researcher of ethnic minority people in the Central Highlands: “The K’ho have two prized possessions: a set of Dong La gong and a collection of wine jars. Each K’ho family has at least two jars. The number of jars owned is the measure of wealth”.
Drinking straw wine and playing gongs are closely associated in the life of the K’ho people. Drinking straw wine to the sound of gongs creates a festive atmosphere. Anyone who makes a mistake must take a drink of wine. At festivals and in solemn rituals, wine is drunk in a different manner. According to K’ho tradition, wine should be poured by a beautiful and skillful girl. To spill wine is considered bad luck. Ms. K’ Thi Son said: “Straw wine is indispensible at important events such as a rice welcoming ceremony. I learned how to make wine from my grandparents. I make wine regularly, not just for special occasions”.
The K’ho sell flowers, silk embroidery, and straw wine to tourists as souvenirs of their culture.