Echoes of Central Highlands gongs welcome new spring

(VOVworld) - Central Highlands people for generations have celebrated the holiday season for an entire month from the beginning of  last month of the winter until the first day of spring. The sounds of gongs invite everyone to enjoy a festive season. The cultural space of the Central Highlands gongs has been recognized as an important part of human culture, so preserving and promoting the everlasting echoes of gongs is now even more meaningful to the people in the Central Highlands of Tay Nguyen.

The sound of gongs playing in Dang village has dispelled the quiet of the remote border area. Patriarch Po Mah Yoh, 78, says that the Ja rai people always play gongs at festivals and communal activities, and gongs have become one of the most important things in the life of people here. They play gongs, they dance and they drink ruou Can or alcohol through long bamboo straws together. Yoh said: “The gongs of the Ja Rai people have a very long history. Gongs are indispensable in Ja Rai festivals especially when celebrating a New Year. Ja Rai people play gongs in various circumstances and for various purposes.  For joy, sorrow or victory, gong playing is a source of pride for  the Ja Rai people.”

Echoes of Central Highlands gongs welcome new spring  - ảnh 1

Patriarch Yoh said that Ja rai people in Ia O think that a rich family is a family with a lot of gongs and it is shameful for a family to have no set of gongs at all. Old Yoh now keeps two sets of gongs in his home, which cost him 8,000 USD when he bought them from a Muong family in Thanh Hoa province 6 years ago. A Hoanh set contains 11 gongs while a Pat is a single gong. People have been known to trade 30 buffalos for a Pat gong. Yoh said:During the war time, Ja Rai people would leave behind their houses, chickens, cows, and pigs but not their gongs, especially Pat and Pom Gongs which are very precious. Everything, even gongs were destroyed when our village was invaded. I still remember that many people buried their gongs under the ground but they still got destroyed by the invaders. People bust into tears when they saw seeing their gongs destroyed. Gongs are the great fortune passed down by our ancestors, so what we need to do now is preserving them for the next generation.”

Echoes of Central Highlands gongs welcome new spring  - ảnh 2

The family of Ro Mah Hyiuu of O village, the youngest generation of Ja rai people in Ia O commune has been granted the great responsibility of keeping the family gongs. His family is considered rich because they have 7 sets of gongs, including 2 Pat gongs which are very precious. “I know that the preceding generations endured many hardships to preserve and pass down those gongs to our generation. Gongs are the priceless property of each family, so my wife and I have spared no effort to preserve the gongs for the next generation.”

Ksor Khieu, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ia O commune says proudly that Ja rai people are not rich in coffee, peppers, rubber, or cattle like  people of other communes in the Central Highlands but they are considered the richest because of the large number of ancient gongs they own.  Nearly 600 sets of ancient gongs are preserved in nine communes of Ja rai people. Khieu said that thanks to policies of the Party and government to develop the economy while preserving and promoting cultural heritage, Ja rai people now are trying very hard to safeguard their Gongs.