House of the K’ho

(VOVworld) – Like many other ethnic groups in the Central Highlands, the K’ho live in stilt houses which are built harmoniously with nature.

House of the K’ho - ảnh 1
A long stilt house of the K'ho in Lam Dong province

The K’ho live in stilt house made of bamboo, rattan, and leaves. The main pillars and beams are made of wood while the doors and partitions are bamboo lattices. Rattan leaves or grasses are entangled to roof the house.  

Folklorist Nguyen Van Doanh says: “In the past the K’ho used unbarked trees to build the main pillars, corridors, and stairs and roof the house with entangled rattan leaves. Now they build stilt houses lower than in the past and roof with corrugated iron sheets.”

In the house, the right section is for the parents and the left section is for the daughters. The main hall in the center of the house is a family space. At the end of the main hall placed an altar worshiping the Heaven God. Below the altar are sets of gongs and musical instruments used at ritual ceremonies and festivals. A “neu” tree and a jar of alcohol are indispensable items in the house of the K’ho. The “neu” bamboo tree is decorated with images of human, the gongs, mortar, pestle, and birds.

The rooms of parents and daughters have mats to sleep on the floor. They fold the mats to hang them on the walls during the day. Folklorist Phung Thi Lien says: “The rooms of parents and daughters are similar. The daughter’s room may have a papoose or basket to keep her personal belongings. The K’ho are matriarchal and the daughters live with their parents. When she gets married, the groom lives with his parents-in-law.”

In the main hall of the house, the “guest woodstove” is placed on the left size of the door near the “neu” bamboo tree and the jar of alcohol. As the name suggests, they receive guests and all family members gather around the guest woodstove at the end of the day. A woodstove for cooking is placed deep inside the room. Above the woodstove is a platform to dry meat, seeds, and other items which are needed to be smoked. At present some families have moved the cooking woodstove to outside the main house.

Now there are not many traditional stilt houses of the K’ho and the interior decorations have been affected by cultural interference. Some Central Highlands provinces have projects to restore traditional houses of the K’ho to preserve their unique culture.

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