The Neu pole raising ritual and a set of worshipping objects called Gu used in the buffalo sacrifice ceremony have been well preserved by the Cor ethnic people in the central province of Quang Nam for generations as they hold a significant standing in the local spiritual life.

The Cor people is one of the main ethnic minority groups residing in Quang Nam’s mountainous areas, mostly in Tra Kot and Tra Nu communes of Bac Tra My district.

According to ninety-year-old patriarch Tran Van Hanh from Tra Kot, who is usually entrusted with making the Neu pole and the Gu set, the buffalo sacrifice ceremony is to worship gods and ancestors to pray for health and wealthy for the family and the whole village. Although the service is often organised by a rich family, it also attracts other villagers who will contribute rice, wine, chickens, and pigs.

The erection of a Neu pole is important since it will serve as a bridge inviting gods and ancestors from the heaven to witness the buffalo sacrifice, he added.

The wooden pole, about 4m high, is engraved with colourful images of the sun, the moon, mountains, streams, villages, crops, and livestock. A buffalo will be tied to the Neu pole during the ceremony.

Patterns carved on the pole demonstrate the harmony between man and the nature as well as the formation and development of the Cor community, Deputy Director of the Bac Tra My Cultural Centre Duong Lai said, adding that the banana flower-shaped top of the pole implies prosperity and development while a wooden black drongo on it represents the ethnic group’s unyieldingness in production and struggle against enemies.

Meanwhile, the Gu set is hung inside the house of the ceremony’s host. One item will be suspended on the main door to wish for good lucks to the host while another more sophisticated at the middle of the house for gods and ancestors to sit on and receive offerings laid beneath.

In July 2014, Bac Tra My district inaugurated an ethnic cultural square with a Neu pole erected at the centre and an exhibition hall with a Gu set hung inside.

Two months later, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recognised the Neu pole raising ritual and the worshipping set as national intangible cultural heritages, which is believed to further encourage the Cor people to uphold their traditions.

Vice Chairwoman of the district People’s Committee Huynh Thi Thuy Dung said that in the coming time, local authorities will collect all documents on the practice of the buffalo sacrifice to make booklets to be handed over to local villages and schools, helping raise the Cor ethnic minorities’ awareness of maintaining and promoting their traditional cultural values.-VNA