54 Ethnic groups - List of Ethnic groups - San Chay - Festival

14:45 | 14/03/2012

San Chay people’s season prayer in the area of the sustainable development project

San Chay ethnic group (other names: San Chi, Cao Lan, Man Cao Lan, Hon Ban, etc) mainly live in Thai Nguyen, Bac Kan, Bac Giang provinces and scatteredly in Quang Ninh, Yen Bai, Lang Son, Vinh Phuc provinces.

San Chay people are classified into 2 distinct groups with different language: Cao Lan with Tay-Nung language and San Chi with Tay-Thai language. San Chay people mainly worship their ancestors; however, they are also heavily influenced by Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism.

San Chay people’s season prayer is usually held before or after Lunar New Year annually. This is one of the major festivals with tradition, unique and distinctive culture characteristics of San Chay people. The most attractive cultural activities are “Sình ca” in singing by repartees and unique "Tắc xình" dances and dances with drum, spotted dove dances, fish stabbing dances, etc.

At the beginning of February this year, Dong Xien village’s people in Yen Lac commune (Phu Luong, Thai Nguyen) held season prayer to honor San Chay ethnic group’s traditional cultural identities.

Turning right from Phu Luong town and passing Dong Dat commune which is a rich village, we realized Yen Lac commune which belongs to the second area of Phu Luong District. Passing the ancient banian at the village gate, flags and slogans were arranged at two sides of the road to welcome visitors in the whole countries. Dong xien village contains 65 San Chi ethnic households living in the houses without upstairs and some stilt houses that are like Tay people’s but have restroom and separated breeding facilities. Clean roads were firstly impressed.

Master Hoang Cong Dung, a staff of Institute of ethnic affairs said: "The current ecological environment is the result of Dong Xien village’s good implementation of Sustainable Development project aiming at raising ethnic minorities’ awareness of sustainable development. The project focuses on some key activities such as supporting the development of production models, clean-water works, environmental sanitation and support them to restore some traditional cultural activities and preserve ethnic cultural identities, etc.

At the cultural house of the village, the stage was decorated splendidly; the national flag, god flag and butterfly flag flied in the spring sunshine, the “sình ca” tunes was broadcasted from the relatively modern repeater of district cultural office as though inviting villagers and visitors to join the festival.

Mr. Tran Cong Luan – the Head of Dong Xien village said: Even at the night before the festival, preparation was well implemented, the elderly and the festival organization board checked assigned works from cooking, costumes and items of the performance teams especially traditional costumes and musical instruments such as gong, cymbals, drums, bells, horns supported and supplied by the project.

In the morning, villagers got up early, there’s a light in every house. In families, people sat next to the cooking fire, boiled cakes, cooked sticky rice (five colors), boiled chicken, pork and local specialties as offerings and partly for families to inviting guests. There were calls of groups in the alleys to join the festival. San Chi girls were beautiful like forest flowers and became to stand out in traditional Vietnamese dresses with a small knife on the belt covered with sophisticated carved wooden and 2-3 colorful silk belts. At the kitchen god temple, when offerings were thoroughly arranged, drums resounds, the heads solemnly kneeled before the temple. The shaman of village dressed in ceremonial costumes started to celebrate ceremony to pray for good weather, abundant harvests, all species’ development, peaceful life, prosperity and happiness.

When the drums were constantly beaten, the master of the ceremony prayed to the Sun and the earth; when village rituals were also accepted, the drums were stopped as a signal of ending rituals. At the stage of the village cultural house, entertainment items were performed, began with the unique dance "Tac xinh", which was this most vibrant item with the largest number of participants. There were 16 young men and women in traditional costumes and 8 people playing traditional instruments including drums, horns and bamboo pipes at different sizes that are popular and unique making up and down sounds for the dances. Mr. Nguyen Hai Binh – the officer of Phu Luong Office of Culture and Information said that previously in the primitive festivals, to make drums, San Chay people often deeply dug into the ground about 60 cm with bottom width of about 50-60 cm and the top width of only 20 cm; took tree bark to cover the pit crater, stretched a very long stretch of forest wires on the ground and used a small tree branch to stretch drum mouth and strike on the wire to make very special sounds. As dances were in a high movement, young men and women in other villages and other communes also share very vibrant atmosphere. When the dance ends, boys and girls were in blush face, people became closer together.

Vibrant and unique "Tac xinh" dance was followed by compelling “sình ca” of Dong Xien village about desire, love, praise of village beauty. San Chi ethnic elderly in the neighboring commune who preserve and develop San Chay ethnic tunes sang a song. The unique item was warmly cheered by the audience that was a signal of desire to preserve the cultural traditions of San Chay ethnic group. Ms. Hoang Thi Hang, the leader of the art teams of the village who have greatly contributed in collecting, compiling, guiding “sình ca” tunes for young people sang a song composed by themselves with new scripts in “sình ca” form to praise the Party’s reform strategy that created the changes at the village, and thank "Sustainable Development Project" of the Committee of ethnic affairs who made investment in Dong Xien so that villagers’ cultural and spiritual life has clearly been improved.

Ending the song, San Chi people in Dong Xien commune also marched and shamans and their assistants held musical instruments and prestigious people and young men and women walked around the stage show the spirit of solidarity and the neighborhood of villages.

The season prayer was closed, the villagers and guests had a intimate dinner in solidarity and the warm atmosphere of the spring.

Bình Minh (Nguồn: cema.gov.vn)

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