Sedang people celebrate New Rice Festival hinh anh 1Villagers dance and sing around the totem tree ​(Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The first day of the new year is also time for the Sedang, an ethnic group among the 54 ethnicities of Vietnam, to celebrate their New Rice Festival.

One of the most important festivals for the Sedang, the festival is held at the beginning of the year to appease the spirit of the rice, to celebrate a bountiful harvest and to pray for good fortune in the new year.

The festival begins with Sedang families going to their rice field to pick the most beautiful rice plants and bring them home. Families must prepare food offerings to the spirit using the new rice.

On the day of the ceremony, a village elder summons everyone to the village’s nha rong – the Sedang’s communal house where the majority of their spiritual and social activities take place. Young men erect a cay neu – a tall tree with a totem on top of it – in front of the house.

The Sedang dance and sing around the tree. Their musical instruments include gongs in various sizes and the Klongput – a wind clap xylophone. Made of bodies of bamboo trees cut and designed in different length, the xylophone sound is made when people clap their hands near one of their ends.

Most of the Sedang villages, which house a total population of nearly 100,000, are located in Vietnam’s central highlands region. Isolated and often without contact with other villages, the Sedangs were said to be fierce warriors years ago. The Sedangs now make farming their primary occupation.-VNA