CULTURAL IDENTITY OF THE M’NONG
Luong Thi Son, Director of the Dac Lac Museum of Ethnic Groups, says: “We have many festivals to celebrate new rice and pray for rain and bumper crop. The most popular event is the farewell ceremony for the dead in Ea sup and Buon Don districts in Dac Lac. The elephant race of the M’Nong has become a provincial festival. The M’Nong also organize the elephant bathing ceremony and prayer for the elephant’s health.”
The M’Nong believe that after death one’s soul will maintain a connection with the living. The family will offer meals to the dead every day. After 3 to 5 years, the hamlet will hold a ceremony to see off the dead to another world. The ceremony consists of various activities such as beating gongs, singing, dancing, and performing folk games.
Normally, the family prepares pigs and chickens and makes wood statues to place at the tomb. The popular images are elephants, birds, people pounding rice, a mother breast-feeding a baby, a man crying, or people beating drums.”
The M’Nong have maintained their unique cultural values including folksongs and epics. “Ot N’Rong” is the oldest epic of the M’Nong telling about the history of ethnic groups in the Central Highlands including the M’Nong.