The Ede’s water ritual

The Ede practise the water ritual when there is an important event in a village such as moving the village and building a new village, and it is performed annually on new year with the aims of praying the Water God for clean water, and on this occasion, the villagers clean up the water wharf. The water ritual lasting for three days led to hold by the water wharf head.

On the first day, the villagers clean up roads and repair the water wharf. Participants are divided into two main groups. The first group is following the sorcerer to perform the rite at the middle between the beginning village and the water wharf. The second group perform rite at the water wharf. The offerings include two pigs (one black male pig for water wharf worship and one pig for ancestors) and nine jars of ruou can, a kind of rice wine fermented in a jar and sucked with a stem, tied into the pillars gong in a queue in the middle of the living room of the long house. The sorcerer poured the rice wine on the water pipe to pray that the water source will never exhausted. Meanwhile, a man holding a shield dancing and he goes forwards and back three times to chase away bad Gods from the water wharf. After the rite at the water wharf, the villagers came to the owner of the water wharf to drink ruou can. On the second day, block the village. The offerings include one white cock, one jar of ruou can, cotton thread and rice. The rite takes place at the village gate. On the side of the water wharf owner’s door hung with the cotton thread, chicken feathers and a bamboo ring. The village entrance is blocked by trees tied with like pink threads and chicken feathers in order to inform the far guests that the strangers will be banned entering the village. In the case the strangers want to leave the village, he/she has to leave something as security which will be returned to him/her. During the water ritual happening, all activities of farming, hunting and gathering must stop. Whoever breaks this will be punished under the rules of the village. The sorcerer prays while the gongs played. Then the sorcerer holds the ruou can sucking-stem and gives it to the owner of the water wharf (the host), the villagers suck ruou can in turns from female to male. Next, the sorcerer delivers rice and pink thread for the families in the village to worship at their own homes. The sorcerers have duty to come every family in the village to practice the water ritual. On the third day, open the village gate. The offerings include one chicken and one jar of ruou can. This rite means chasing bad Gods and pray for the water source fresh and clean. After the rite is completed, there is no sign prohibiting passers-by. The Ede’s water ritual featured with rites more than funny activities. However, this is also the occasion for the villagers to gather at the house of the water wharf talking, singing and sharing feelings.

The water ritual in Buon Kli (Buon Ho town); Photo: Y Dhiu Nie Mla