Jew’s harp expresses love of Kho Mu men

(VOVWORLD) - Jew’s harp is a popular musical instrument of many ethnic groups, but it has never named as a national musical instrument. It’s mostly mentioned as a tool for young men to express love to the girls.
Jew’s harp expresses love of Kho Mu men - ảnh 1  Lo Van An, a Kho Mu man in To Cuong hamlet, Muong Ang, Dien Bien province.

Kho Mu is one of the oldest ethnic groups living in Dien Bien province. They don’t have written language, but have developed a rich culture of folk arts and customs. When a young man has a crush on a girl, he will go to her house to blow the jew’s harp.

The jew’s harp of the Kho Mu is made from old, dry bamboo or rattan.  It’s not used at religious ceremonies, but only at festive events. Kho Mu man prefers to blow the jew’s harp to express his sentiment for the girl he likes instead of talking. Lo Van An, a Kho Mu man in Muong Ang said: “When a man goes out for dating in the evening, he brings with him a jew’s harp. He blows the jew’s harp to wake up the girl. If she likes him, she’ll invite him to come in for talks.”

Lo Van An explains the jew’s harp says “darling do you hear me? If you hear me, please wake up and talk to me.” Quang Van Ca said the boys and girls know each other while working in the fields. If a boy likes a girl, he will work close to her and help her.

On the first date, he goes to the girl’s house, blows the jew’s harp, and knock on the floor of her stilt house to call her. “If the girl likes him, she will invite him in for a talk. They are allowed to hold each other’s hand while talking and not go further. If the girl’s parents like the boy, they will let him stay. If not, they will set a big fire in the woodstove to imply “not to return”.

After some dates, if they want to married, the boy will regularly come to the girl’s house to help doing farm work. The girl’s parent will invite the boy to have a meal. It’s a chance for him to make a proposal that he is not a hired labor, but comes to help and wants to be a family member.

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