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Rong
the communal house


The Rong, a large and impressive communal house

          The RONG - is a communal house, and is usually in the middle of the village. It is a large, imposing, beautifully decorated house, which is built on stilts. It is the place where common activities take place, such as receiving important guests, meetings, weddings or ceremonies. It is also the place where legal disputes are discussed.

This type of house can only be found in villages in the north of Central Highland region, especially in Gia Lai and Kon Tum provinces
Every ethnic minority has a specific architectural style for designing and decorating the Rong communal house. However, most Rong houses have common characteristics.
In the village, it is often the biggest house roofed with yellow-dried gianh leaves and having 8 big wood columns. The roof of a rong is incredibly steep and tall, like the blade of a hole. In front of a rong stands a balcony. These stilt houses serve as communal halls.
The roof can reach 30 meters in height, although most are about 15 to 20 meters. The higher the Rong, the greater the status of the village. At the front of a Rong is a balcony. This large stilt house serves as a common hall.

 

The Rong is often the biggest thatch-roofed house with 8 big pillars made of wood. The rafters are decorated with patterns of bright colors, depicting religious scenes, legendary stories about ancient heroes, stylized animals, and other familiar things often seen in daily life of local people. The most outstanding feature of the décor of the Rong House is the image of the brilliant God of Sun. The Rong House is a cultural symbol of Central Highlanders, a longstanding and long-lasting culture. It is believed that, the bigger the House is, the wealthier the village shall be.

For the stairs to go up the Rong house, ethnic groups usually cut from 7 to 9 steps. On the top knob of the stair, there is the shape of the chest of a young unmarried girl. From the inauguration of the Rong house, unmarried men have to sleep here to protect. Therefore, the folk architecture of the Rong house is unique and each ethnic group own their different style. Very skillful hands, intelligence, and efforts of the whole community build all. The Rong house is attached to the mentality, sensitivity and social activities, religions of the Highlands’s people. We will miss a lot when going far away from the Rong house and when we visit the Rong house, it is very happy. The Rong house is the heart of the mountain village that will never be fainted in the mind of the Highlands’s people.


Longhouse of the Ede

The Ede, Bahnar and Jarai are just three of the ethnic minorities, who live here in the Central Highlands. They have a population of about 200,000 to 300,000 per group, but then spread throughout the country. The Ede live mainly in the province of Dak Lak, especially in the region around Buon Ma Thuot. They use no Rong but a longhouse, as communal house. Sometimes these Longhouses can be 100 meters long.

At the moment you come into a village of the Bahnar and Jarai, your eyes will be drawn to the Rong, the towering communal house. For the many ceremonies and festivals of the Bahnar locals are wearing their tribal outfits, they play gongs and sing. The main ceremony is the festival "Le Hoi Dam Trau" - the sacrifice of a buffalo. This is horrible for many Western eyes, but it plays an important role in these communities: it binds together. Like the Bahnar the Jarai sacrifice also a buffalo on important occasions, one of the reasons is saying goodbye deceased relatives.


Grave of the Jarai

Worshipping ancestors is to the Jarai an intense affair. A funeral for the Jarai is a complex and costly business. Most Jarai villages have a cemetery to the west, which is divided into enclosed family graves. Family members are buried in the same grave
Sometimes the deceased's family can't afford the ceremony. Then it can be held up for several years. Most Jarai villages have targeted the cemetery to the west, which is divided into enclosed family graves. The family members are buried in the same grave. Precious possessions, such as a TV (see photo) or bicycle, will be laid at the grave of the the deceased. On the edge of the simple family tomb carved figurines are placed in a variety of moods - pensive, sad, happy or sexually aroused.

After a number of years, the tombs are abandoned. This final ceremony of the abandonment of the tomb marks the point where death becomes final and the deceased spirit is released, thus releasing a widow for remarriage for instance. It is best to visit a Jarai cemetery in the company of a local guide.


The sacrifice of the buffalo

 

 


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