Illustrative image (Source: internet)
Gia Lai  (VNA) – The Bul Rice Festival (Celebration of New Rice) is a long-standing festival held by the Jrai ethnic group in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai each spring.

Associated with the ethnic group’s milpa production, the festival, which usually takes place during the period from November to January, is organised to celebrate the crop harvest and the Lunar New Year.

During harvesting, village patriarchs will decide on the best rice field and choose a “good day” for a ritual worshipping deity Ia Pom (Rice God) performed at the field. On this day, all villagers are present and bring their foods to the festival such as a jar of wine, pork and chicken.

This year, people in Yang 3 village, Ia Phi commune, Chu Pah district held their Bul Rice Festival on January 31, after a bumper crop. They gathered in the “Nha Rong” (Communal House) with offerings such as effigies carrying bows and arrows, “ruou can” (wine drunk out of a jar through pipes), pig, chicken and rice.

Village patriarchs who are authorised to give offerings to the “Yang” (the God) hosted a solemn ceremony. They led rituals to ask the deities to protect villagers from natural disasters and epidemics. They also wished the villagers good health and happy lives in the New Year. The effigies were then put at the village gates to drive away unlucky things.

“This is a traditional custom left from our ancestors,” said Patriarch Ro Cham Luol. “We hold it every year to celebrate the harvest of our crop.”

Ro Cham Yung, a young villager, said this is the happiest day of the year for the village, as everybody has a chance to relax and welcome the New Year in preparation for a new crop.

The Bul Rice Festival, a cultural practice of Gia Lai in particular and the Central Highlands region in general, needs to be preserved, as it promotes community solidarity.-VNA