The sounds of gongs in the Central Highlands invite everyone to enjoy a festive season, which the local people for generations have celebrated for an entire month from the beginning of last month of the winter until the first day of the spring, according to Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV).

The cultural space of the Central Highlands gongs has been recognised as an important part of human culture, so preserving and promoting the everlasting echoes of gongs is now even more meaningful to the people in the region.

The sound of gongs playing in Dang village has dispelled the quiet of the remote border area. Patriarch Po Mah Yoh, 78, said that the Ja rai people always play gongs at festivals and communal activities, and gongs have become one of the most important things in the life of people here. They play gongs, they dance and they drink Can wine or alcohol through long bamboo straws together.

“The gongs of the Ja Rai people have a very long history. Gongs are indispensable in Ja Rai festivals especially when celebrating a New Year. Ja Rai people play gongs in various circumstances and for various purposes. For joy, sorrow or victory, gong playing is a source of pride for the Ja Rai people," Yoh was quoted by VOV as saying.

According to Yoh, Ja rai people in Ia O think that a rich family is a family with a lot of gongs and it is shameful for a family to have no set of gongs at all.

A Hoanh set contains 11 gongs while a Pat is a single gong. People have been known to trade 30 buffalos for a Pat gong.

“During the war time, Ja Rai people would leave behind their houses, chickens, cows, and pigs but not their gongs, especially Pat and Pom Gongs which are very precious. Gongs are the great fortune passed down by our ancestors, so what we need to do now is preserving them for the next generation,” Yoh said.

The family of Ro Mah Hyiuu of O village, the youngest generation of Ja rai people in Ia O commune has been granted the great responsibility of keeping the family gongs. His family is considered rich because they have seven sets of gongs, including two Pat gongs which are very precious.

Ksor Khieu, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ia O commune said proudly that Ja rai people are not rich in coffee, peppers, rubber, or cattle like people of other communes in the region but they are considered the richest because of the large number of ancient gongs they own.

Nearly 600 sets of ancient gongs are preserved in nine communes of Ja rai people, Khieu said, adding that thanks to policies of the Party and government to develop the economy while preserving and promoting cultural heritage, Ja rai people now are trying very hard to safeguard their Gongs.-VNA