VOV.VN - The epics of the Xo Dang ethnic group’s T’dra branch, also known as ho mu’uan, were first discovered in the early 2000s by Vo Quang Trong, Director of Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Dr. Trong and his colleagues have collected 106 versions of epic narratives in Kon Tum province’s Dac Ha and Dac To districts.
|The Xo Dang ethnic people's Kneang tea festival.
Epics of the Xo Dang ethnic group include many independent stories closely related to each other. The stories all depict Dam Duong, a heroic character, who represents his community’s dreams and passions.
"Dam Duong is a hero of Xo Dang people, with refined characteristics. He’s a strong young man who is very industrious and masters all skills such as weaving, hunting, and farming. He’s also brave, able to fight beasts and any enemies threatening his community", Vu Quang Trong told VOV.
Metaphors, comparisons, and hyperbole are repeated by the artisans while singing epics, making them more lively and attractive. Through Dam Duong, the Xo Dang ethnic people want to voice all of their wishes and desires.
"In addition to the main character Dam Duong, there are other supporting characters who also represent the group’s desires. They are good people who are ready to help each other in daily life activities, like sharing skills to make stilt houses, or hunting. They represent Xo Dang people’s aspirations in their path to conquer the world", said Mr. Trong.
Xo Dang epics tell the group’s stories of personal conflicts and fights to protect their land and community. Production activities, customs, cultural traditions, and living experiences were all depicted in the epics.
"Many people say that epics are considered encyclopedia. Many epics tell the stories of how Xo Dang people established their villages, to select the locations to settle down near the water resources, forests, and fertile farming land, which are also convenient for traveling. Other epics shared stories of daily life, including farming skills, fishing techniques, catching animals, and collecting food in the woods", elaborated Dr. Trong.
A Jar of Kon Tum city has translated 15 narratives of the Xo Dang people into Vietnamese.
"Each epic teaches us good lessons about life and morality, which encourages people live better and improve themselves", said A Jar.
Several stories about Dam Duong have been included in the “Central Highlands’ epics” collection. The 64,000-page collection consists of 75 works on epics of the Ba Na, Cham, Ede, M’nong, Raglai, and Xo Dang ethnic groups.