Proper name: Anak Ede
Other names: Anak, Ea De, Ra De (or Kha De), E De,
Population: 194, 710 people
Kpa, adham, Krung, Mdur, Ktul, Dlie, Hrue, Bih, Blo, Kah, Kdrao, Dong
Kay, Dong Mak, Ening, Arul, Hwing, Ktle, Epan…
Language: The Ede language belongs to the
Malayo-Polynesian group (Austronesia language family).
History: The Ede have long lived in the Tay Nguyen or high plateau region of central
Vietnam. Traces of their origin are reflected in their epic poems,
their architecture, and their popular arts. Up to today, the Ede
community remains a society imprinted with matrilineal traditions.
Production activities: The Ede’s principal food crop
is rice, cultivated on swidden
fields which, after a period of time, after left fallow before being
exploited anew (cleared and burned). Each period of exploitation of a
field varied between 5 and 8 years, based on the quality of the soil.
Crop rotation and intercropping is practiced and there is only one wet
rice harvest per year. Wet rice fields are found only among the Bih near
The most numerous animals and poultry raised on the family farm are pigs,
buffaloes, and chickens, but they are mostly used when there are ritual
sacrifices to perform. The most widespread family handicrafts are the
plaiting of household objects out of bamboo,
the cultivation of cotton in order to weave cloths with the aid of
looms similar to those found in Indonesia. Pottery and blacksmithing
are not well-developed among the Ede. Barter was the most spread
marketing practice in the former time.
Diet: The Ede
eat rice cooked in clay pots or in large-sized metal pots. Ede food
includes a spicy salt, game meat, bamboo shoots, vegetables and root
crops abstained from hunting and gathering activities. Ruou can, fermented alcohol
consumed using a bamboo drinking tube or straw, is stored and served in
large earthen jars. Steamed sticky rice is reversed for ritual
occasions. Men and women chew betel nut.
Clothing: Women wear a long cloth wrapper or sarong
which reaches to the toes; their torso may remain unclothed or they may
wear a short pullover vest. Men wear the loin cloth and a vest of the
same style. When they are cold, men and wears wrap themselves in
blankets. Ede jewelry includes glass beaded
necklaces, rings made of copper or nickel that are worn around
the neck, wrists, and ankles. Men are women alike have their teeth
filed, blacken their teeth, and prefer distended earlobes. Head coverings include the turban and
the conical hat.
Housing: The Ede primarily live in Dac Lac province,
the south of Gia Lai province, and the west of Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa
provinces. The traditional Ede house is a construction whose length is
reminiscent of the shape of a boat which is cut lengthwise or across
giving it a shape of a reversed trapezoid. The structure rests on two
rows of columns and not on the ground. The interior space is divided
into two parts along the length. The first section is called Gah;
it is both the reception area of the large matrilineal extended
family. The other part, ok, is divided into many small rooms, each of
which is reserved for a couple in the extended family.
Transportation: The plaited carrying basket with two
shoulder straps remains the principal way for the Ede to carry their
goods. In the Krong Buk region, the footed basket is the most widely
used, but not all that popular nowadays.
Social organization: The Ede family is matrilineal:
marriage is matrilocal, the children carry the name of the mother’s
family, and the youngest daughter is the inheritor. Ede society is
regulated by customary laws based on the matriarchal system. The
community is divided into two lineages in order to facilitate marriage
exchanges. The village is called buon and constitutes a unique
kind of habitat. The inhabitants of the buon can belong to
many branches of the two lineages, but there is also a nuclear branch.
The head of village is the po pom ea or the master of the
place of water. He directs, in the name of his wife, the affairs of the
Marriage: It is the women who take the initiative in
matrimonial relations. She chooses the intermediary in order to ask for
a young man in marriage, and once the couple marries, they live with
the wife’s family. If one of the couple dies, the family of the
deceased’s lineage must replace the spouse according to the chue
nue (continuing the line) custom so that the surviving spouse is
not alone. It also ensures that the thread of love tied between the two
lineages, Nie and Mlo, do not rupture-in conformity to the
teachings of the ancestors.
Funerals: The chue nue must be observed for
each death. In the case of the death of old age or sickness, the
funerals are organized at the home before the burial at the cemetery.
In the past, if the people of one lineage died on dates near to those
of the death of the same lineage, the deceased would be buried in the
same grave. Consider that the other world is a reincarnation of the
present world, the Ede share the deceased’s goods and dispose of them
in the funerary structure. From the time that the funerary house is
made, the celebration of the abandonment of the tomb takes place to put
an end to the cares to the soul of the deceased and to his tomb.
New house: The construction of a new h is of interest
to the entire village. Villagers help bringing material (wood, bamboo,
straw) or help with manual labor in a system of exchanging labor
(called H’rim Zit). The inauguration of the
new house will take place when one has finished planting a row
of trees along the wall. However, one can move well in advances of this
date if the condition is not organized for the inauguration. Women, led
by a khoa sang – the female head of the matrilineal family
are the first ones authorized on walk on the new floor. They carry with
them water and a fire in order to give coolness and heat to the new
house. It is an Ede way to wish happiness on the members of the new
Festivals: Festivals are celebrated in the course of
the last month of the lunar year, after the harvest time. After the
festival of the new rice, h’ma ngat, it is the festival mnam
thun, in honor of an abundant crop. It is the largest of the
year, with wealthy people killing a buffalo or an ox as an offering,
and others offering a pig or poultry. The spiritthe most important is Ae
Die and Ae Du, the Creator, followed by the spirit of rice, yang
mdie, and others. The Ede are animists. The agricultural spirit is
the good spirits, while thunder, lightning, whirlwinds, tempests, and
floods are the bad spirits. There are rituals that follow the course of
a person’s life, rites that ask for happiness and health. The more
rites there are, and especially those with the sacrifice of many
buffaloes and oxen and great quantities of jars (for the fermentation
of alcohol), the more the organizer are held in esteem by the villagers.
Calendar: The traditional agricultural calendar is
fixed to the evolution of the moon. The 12-month year is divided into 9
periods corresponding to the 9 steps of agricultural work: clearing
the fields, burning the vegetation, turning over the soil, wedding…each
month is comprised of 30 days.
Education: Apprenticeship to a trade or craft and the
dissemination, and oral transmission. Ede writing based on Latin script
made its appearance in 1923.
Artistic activities: The khan is a long epic poem that
one recounts in vivid exclamations and illustrates with gestures. There
are alternating songs, riddles, genealogical histories…Ede music is
celebrated by the ensemble of 6 flat gongs, 3 gongs with projections, a
gong for rhythm, and a drum. The gongs would never be absent from a
festival or a cultural activity. Aside from the gongs, there are bamboo
instruments and calabashes resembling those of other ethnic groups in
the Tay Nguyen region, though they are distinctively Ede.
Entertainment: Children like spinning top, kite flying,
and flute playing.
Stilt-walking is enjoyed by many. Hide
and seek and lance or javelin throwing at a target are also