Unique Che Worship Ritual of E De People

9:32:36 AM | 4/6/2021

E De people believe that each che, a big jar, has its own soul. Che are not only artifacts but also sacred items, which manifest the strength of the clan. Joining the ritual helps connect with the community and the family. Therefore, E De people always worship this spirit whenever they buy a jar or whenever there is any change made to the jar.

E De people always have an offering ceremony to che after they buy it or before they sell it. As soon as they bring home a precious che, they host an “entering the house” ritual. The ceremony means that the owner wants to inform relatives and neighbors to come and share the joy with the family for having bought a precious jar, witness the che officially becoming a member of the family to be cared for, treated like a human and to live a long, healthy, happy, warm, harmonious life with the family. Likewise, when it is no longer in use, either being sold or given away, they hold a farewell ceremony to say sorry to the spirit and the che owner.

The jar offerings include one castrated pig, three large wine jars, six bronze rings, three bead chains, three bronze cups, three bronze bowls, and one bronze tray among other things. The ritual must have a bead tree because this is considered an object that connects humans and divines. In the longhouse, the wine pillar is erected and decorated with colorful patterns beside three large wine jars tied to three wine pillars with ropes taken from the forest. The village's gong team will conduct a gong performance to welcome invited guests and the shaman begins to make an oath to invite the Mountain God, the River God and ancestors to witness and allow the family to hold the worshiping ceremony. The worshipping narrative to che reads “Oh, villagers, the Gods, near and far, up and down, have all agreed to let the family have the che worshiping ceremony. The family, despite difficulties and hardships, also saved to buy the precious che to brew wine for the Gods. Oh my che god, the host today has a ceremony to welcome che to home, informing and inviting the Che God to join the ceremony with the host, from now on the family will treat you like a kindly-treated child of the family. May you live happily, long, peacefully, warmly, and help your family members.” Che will be worn copper rings and bread laces on the neck and ears by the shaman for the purpose of beauty and kind treatment as for a human.

According to Ms. Hoang Thi Nhat, Deputy Director of Dak Lak Museum, in all rituals of E De people, che - a big jar made from clay - is an indispensable artifact. In particular, the wine jar is an important offering in this sacred and solemn event. A big ceremony requires a full set of precious che, according to the custom.

The final procession is for the owner of che, asking the Gods for health, luck and good business to the owner to make him able to buy more good jars.  When the ritual ends, the family thanks relatives and neighbors, from far and near, for attending the event and invites them to stay for dinner and drink ceremonial wine.

To preserve and promote the cultural value of che, Dak Lak Museum has collected and introduced the collection of che of the E De people. In addition to nearly 60 pieces of che arranged according to the traditional layout, there are many pictures, documents, information excerpts and legends about che here. Sophisticated modern graphical methods are used to introduce E De cultural embodiments translated into these popular items.n

The E De people divide che into four main types, ranked by the order of preciousness: Che Tuk, Che Tang, Che Ba and Che Bo. There are also other types of che like Che Jan, Che Due and Che Kriak. Che is called differently by ethnic groups, depending on their culture.

However, at present, due to various reasons, che worshipping is fading among ethnic groups in the Central Highlands, including E De people. The Che worship restoration of the E De has raised the awareness of preserving and promoting the traditional culture of the Ede people in particular and the Central Highlands in general.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum