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“Chui ke pi” ritual of the Tong people

TQO - The Tong ethnic group has settled in Dong Cuom Hamlet, Trung Son Commune, Yen Son District for nearly 100 years. The Tong people have their own language, costumes and cultural features. Especially, they have the “Chui ke pi” Tet - kitchen ghost Tet - an important religious ritual of the Tong people.

Snail rice porridge bowl and spiritual characteristics

There are many ethnic groups living in Dong Cuom Hamlet, Trung Son Commune, such as Dao, Nung, Tong, H'mong, Tay, La Chi, Pa Then, etc. The small Dong Cuom village has 170 households, of which there are 15 the Tong households. The life of the Tong ethnic group has been associated with the fire stove.

Tet of Ghost Kitchen, also known as "Chui ke pi" Tet is held annually on the sixth day of the sixth lunar month. This is one of the important rituals of the Tong people and it is celebrated on a small-scale in the family.

Right from the early morning, the Tong people went to the stream to catch snails.

A bowl of snail rice porridge is an indispensable thing in ceremony's offerings. Right from the early morning, the Tong people went to the stream to catch snails. The selected snails are big snails and live from the upper streams because they are considered as little creature that guide the kitchen ghost's spirit to come home and witness the owner's sincerity.

Snail rice porridge is very easy to cook. Clean snails and put them into hot porridge pot, add guise leaves to eliminate the sickly smell.

The ritual is held secretly

The Tong people believe that women have responsibility for taking care of the fire stove in the family. The kitchen is not only a place where people cook food, but shows the virtue of a woman. The kitchen space is also a location for the whole family to talk and unite. Therefore, The Tong people avoid pouring water and heating clothes on the kitchen.

The homeowner burns incense and says his wishes to the kitchen ghost.

With that gentle meaning, Tet of "Chui ke pi" is often held secretly. During the ritual, homeowner  put offerings near the kitchen. Then he burns incense and says his wishes to the kitchen ghost. At the end of the ceremony, the whole family gathers to eat and drink at the tray of offerings and tell each other funny stories and upcoming plans.

After performing the ritual, the whole family gathers to enjoy Tet of "Chui ke pi".

Special cultural features

The Tong people have their own language - a language they have heard when they were young and it was passed down through the generations. From a young age, the Tong ethnic group often taught each other to sing folk songs and lullabies.

A house of the Tong people.

Their costumes are not colorful but quite simple, usually made of indigo dyed raw fabric and few decorative embroideries. Tong women's shirts are cut short at the waist. The collar in the centre of the chest has a simple blue and yellow pattern. Their skirts are designed like cone shape with pleates.

The dishes of the Tong people are made from available products in the nature, such as upland rice, wild vegetables, chicken and pig meat. In addition, they often make specialty dishes including ant's egg cake or fermented pork.

Giang Lam

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