|Shaman Y-Krai Čil performs the longevity ceremony. (photo: VOV)
The Mnong Rlam organize a longevity ceremony to show their filial piety when their parents are over 60 years old. The ceremony is usually held in the 1st or 2nd month after they finish the harvest.
Shaman Y-Krai Čil says that in the past the eldest daughter was in charge of holding the longevity ceremony for her parents. Now all the children are allowed to organize it. The longevity ceremony is associated with the worship of mountain and river deities.
“When the offerings have been prepared, the shaman calls the deities of the mountain, forest, and water and asks for their permission to organize the ceremony.”
The offerings include a pig, three bowls of rice, a gourd full of water, and three cups of straw liquor (ruou can). The M’Nong say straw liquor is the drink of the deities. The deities sent messengers to teach the M’Nong to make straw liquor, so the beverage has a profound cultural and spiritual meaning. The person who makes straw liquor should be “clean” so the liquor will be of good quality.
|A performance of the Mnông Rlăm longevity ceremony at the Dak Lak Gong Festival 2022 (photo: VOV)
The shaman prays the deities to bless all family members with good health and grant longevity to the old people. He invites the father and mother to drink straw liquor and gives them bracelets as a token of deities to show the connection between humans and the deities. He prays the deities to stay by their side to protect them. Then the family members take turns inviting their parents to drink straw liquor, serve food to them, and wish them longevity. The villagers also come to share their happiness.
Shaman Y-Krai Čil said: “We organize a longevity ceremony to pray for the old people to have good health, live happily with their children, and set an example for their children. The old people encourage their children to study and work for a better life and build a more prosperous and beautiful village.”
The longevity ceremony of the M'Nong Rlam is simple but has profound meanings. It’s an occasion to show filial piety to parents and strenghten unity and uphold traditions.