The role of “À Cha” in Khmer community

(VOVWORLD) - The Khmer’s rich culture, including its unique worship ceremonies, has been developed through multiple generations. Each ceremony has rites conducted by a master of ceremonies, who is called “À Cha”. Today VOV looks at the role of À Cha among Khmer of Tra Vinh province.

The role of “À Cha” in Khmer community - ảnh 1À Cha Thach Khen (holding a microphone) hosts a wedding in Tieu Can, Tra Vinh province (photo: VOV)

The Khmer celebrate many important community events: Chôl Chnam Thmây, Oóc Om Bóc, Sen Đolta, and personal and family ceremonies like weddings, anniversaries, funerals, and dedication of a new house. À Cha, the Khmer masters of ceremonies, play an important role in these ceremonies.

À Cha men have profound knowledge of Buddhism and of the Khmer culture and traditions. They are prestigious, well-respected people in the Khmer community.

Sơn SôPhia in Dong Binh commune says that whenever a family organizes a ceremony, they must invite an À Cha master to help them prepare and conduct the event.

“À Cha men are prestigious and respected people in the hamlet. Without them, we cannot organize a rite. They also guide us and remind us to live a good religious and secular life,” Sơn SôPhia said.

The role of “À Cha” in Khmer community - ảnh 2À Cha Thach Khien (L, standing) hosts an ancestral worship. (photo: VOV)

Each Khmer ceremony has particular rituals and prayers. The À Cha man instructs the participants to correctly arrange the offerings, perform the rituals, and read the prayers. The À Cha men learn from their predecessors and from their own experience reality.

À Cha Thạch Chhiêt of Don Chau commune said: “We are constantly improving our knowledge of traditional culture and following our predecessors’ footsteps.”

À Cha men teach the Khmer language to children and inspire them to love and preserve Khmer culture and traditions.

Monk Thuong Thach Suong, Head of Kom Pong Ni Krốt Kom Pong Chrây pagoda, in Chau Thanh district said: “The pagoda’s Executive Board consists of A Cha men, who take care of the pagoda’s work as well as community affairs. They tell Buddhist followers and other villagers, particularly young people, to stay away from social fads and do good deeds. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the À Cha remind people to follow the 5 health measures recommended by the Ministry of Health: facemasks, disinfection, safe distancing, no large gatherings, and health declarations.”

The role of “À Cha” in Khmer community - ảnh 3An À Cha teaches Khmer language. (photo: VOV)

A Cha men help inform the Khmer people of new laws and policies.

ViTi Va Lây, Party Secretary and Head of Phù Ly 1 hamlet, said: “À Cha men play an active role in informing people of Party guidelines and State policies. Phu Ly hamlet encourages people to improve rural life. The À Cha are fully engaged in this movement.”  

À Cha men are often praised for their contributions to cultural preservation and public communications to maintain social security and order.

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