Proper name: Bahnar
Other names: Bo Nam, Roh, Kon Kde, Ala Kong, Kpang
Population: 136,859 people
Local groups: Ro Ngao, Ro Long (or Y Lang), To Lo, Go
Language: Bahnar language
belongs to the Mon-Khmer language group (of the Austroasiatic language
History: The Bahnar are long-term inhabitants of Truong
Son-Tay Nguyen central highlands. They have created a unique local
culture and their own socio-culture identity.
Production activities: The Bahnar live mainly on
the cultivation of swidden fields and slash-and-burn agriculture. The
hoe is main food used in agricultural
production. Intensive land cultivation of swidden fields using
the slash-and-burn method dispenses with the notion of allowing fields
to go fallow after a period of time. In general, swidden fields are
located near rivers and stream and have long been popular among the
Bahnar. But since the beginning of the
20th century, wet rice cultivation using harrows is also
practiced. Horticulture and diversified crops also appeared quite along
time ago. Animal husbandry and craft production, such as basketry, cloth
weaving, pottery and blacksmithing, are less developed.
Lifestyle: The Bahnar people live in vast areas from
Gia Lai and Kon Tum to the west of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa
provinces. They mostly live in stilt houses, which are characterized by
having the entrance door at the front of the house. The roofs are
decorated with horns at either end. There is a communal house (nha
rong), identified from other dwellings by its magnificent high
roof. The communal house is a place where public activities are held,
including education for the youth, ceremonies, trials, etc.
Transportation: The chief means of transporting
things is the gui (bamboo or rattan backpacks). The gui
has many sizes and types and can be woven differently, but usually
follow traditional motifs.
Social organization: The village is primary social
unit. Vestiges of matriarchal social structure are still in evidence in b
family relations, lineages systems, and marriage. The decline of
matriarchy has raised the position of men, but social relationships
still tend to be closer to the mother’s family. After marriage, the
Bahnar custom still prevails that the groom stays at his wife’s house.
Society is differentiated among those who are rich, those who are poor,
and those who are classed as servants.
Marriage: Monogamy is a basic principle of Bahnar
marriage. The exchange of living places by the newly-married couples is
increasingly popular. After a period of time when the husband lives at
his wife’s house, and vice versa, the couple then moves to a new place
to settle and becomes a new cell of the community.
Education: Education for youths takes place at the
communal house, taught by the village elders. This traditional education
includes job training, marital arts, combat techniques, and the values
of the community.
Artistic activities: Folk songs are ample, but more
popular ones are hmon and roi lyrics. Musical instruments
played by the Bahnar include percussion and aero phone instruments as
well as chordophones (stringed instruments). Traditional dances are
popular, performed on ceremonial occasions and seasonal festivals. The
long poems and folktales of the Bahnar are unique, traditional works
that are an important part of Vietnam’s cultural patrimony.
Games: Among the popular games are chasing (dru
dra), rope seizing, stone throwing, ball kicking spinning top, and khang