Planning a trip? Consider this idea from a fellow Boomerater
"Choro ethnic group"
|Submitted by: lanhnguyen||Length of trip: 10 days to two weeks|
|Trip taken: January 2008||No. of people on trip: 1 person|
Far East and Asia: Vietnam
Culture: Ethnic/Religious, Music, Architecture, History
lanhnguyen took this trip with her
and also recommends this trip for those traveling with their:
> Guy Friends
> Immediate Family
> Extended, large family
> Significant other/Spouse
> Parents/Elderly relatives
> Group of friends
Lables: Choro ethnic group, Ethnic Groups, Mon-Khmer Group
Other names: Chau Ro, Do Ro, Chro and Thuong.
Population: 15,022 people, (1999 census).
Language: Choro language belongs to the Mon-Khmer group (of the Austro-Asiatic language family).
History: The Choro are permanent inhabitants in the mountainous areas of southern Indochina.
Production activities: In the past, the Choro mainly practiced slash-and-burn cultivation, using a digging stick to make holes in the scorched earth to insert the seeds. They have a special way of arranging plants in their fields: they grow creepers, such as gourd, pumpkin, luffa and soya curd, along the outer perimeter; manioc is grown in the intermediate zone; and the central part of the field is reserved for rice, alternated with the planting of sesame. Nowadays, apart from paddy cultivated on widen fields, people also cultivate wet-rice paddy in submerged fields, using buffaloes to pull the ploughs. Hunting and gathering take place during breaks in the agricultural cycle (in the sixth and seventh lunar month). Horticulture, animal husbandry, and handicraft production are less developed. Bamboo and rattan plaiting are popular. In the past, some Choro people also worked on local plantations as forest guards, but they still cultivate their own land as well.
Diet: The Choro mainly eat ordinary rice. They smoke locally-grown tobacco with pipes. The most popular drink is can (pipe) wine. Both men and women are fond of chewing betel.
Clothing: In the past, Choro men used to wear loin cloths and women used to wear skirts. In summer, the torso might remain uncovered, or wrapped in a blanket in winter. Nowadays, the Choro have adopted the local Viet style of dressing. One distinguishing feature of the Choro is that they are often seen carrying a gui (a basket) on their back. Women often wear five-colored beads and bracelets made from copper, silver or aluminum, while girls wear necklaces, brace- lets and large earrings.
Lifestyle: At present, the majority of Choro live in the low mountainous areas in the southwest and southeast of Dong Nai province. A large, segment also live in the communes of Xuan Binh, Xuan Truong, Xuan Tho and Xuan Phu of Xuan Loc district as well as Hac Dich, Phuoc Thai, Ngai Dao, Bau Lam "of Chau Thanh district. There are also some scattered Choro communities in the provinces of Song Be and Ba Ria and along National Highway 15. Before coming to these places, they had long inhabited in the region of Ba Ria-Long Khanh. Since the mid-twentieth century, the Choro have been increasingly influenced by Viet culture and lifestyle from the southeast. For example, nowadays the Choro have switched from tall stilt-houses with doors at the sides to living in houses built on the ground. The architecture has also been influenced to include support beams. The only feature retained of their traditional architecture is the wooden floor, which accounts for half the width of the house and the whole length of the interior. Nowadays, some houses have tile roofs.
Transportation: The main means of transporting goods and produce is the bamboo or rattan basket carried on the back.
Social organization: In Choro society, the older matriarchal system has faded, but the new relationship of patriarchy has yet to be defined. Dual power seems to be increasing, while inhe- ritance is still enjoyed by women. In Choro families, women have a higher position than men. The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing. There are many family lineages living in one Choro village.
Marriage: There are two forms of Choro marriages: the boy's family takes the initiative, or vice-versa. The wedding is organized at the bride's family, where the couple will stay during the first few years before they move away to live separately.
Funerals: The Choro, according to their traditional customs, bury their dead. The grave is topped by an earthen mound. In the first three days after the burial, the deceased's soul is called back to eat meals. Then a ceremony of opening the grave takes place followed by rice offerings lasting for a hundred days. The custom of burning votive papers has appeared in Choro funeral practices, and people visit the grave on 23rd of Lunar December each year.
The new house: The inauguration of a new house is a cheerful occasion shared by the hosts and villagers.
Festivals: The most important event of the year is the worshiping of the soul Of the rice. Various kinds of cakes are made to treat the guests on this occasion, such as glutinous rice cakes, pipe cakes and sesame- rice dumplings. The ritual for the soul of the forest is organized as a major festival three times a year.
Calendar: The Choro also make their agricultural schedule based on the lunar calendar.
Education: Traditional Choro society did not develop its own writing system. Teaching and learning was passed on verbally.
Artistic activities: There are a few traditional alternating songs left in the Choro's traditional folklore, which are sung at festivals such as rituals to the forest's soul. Musical instruments comprise a set of seven-pattern gongs, including four smaller patterns and three larger ones. Vertically-blown flutes and bamboo sound- boxes are also found in the mountainous districts of Chau Thanh.
Games: The children play tug-of-war, tree-branch seizing, hide and seek, kite-flying and cu (spinning top).
This article written by Lanh Nguyen from Travel Agency in Vietnam
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