02/05/2021 19:56 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Pristine M’lieng

M'Lieng village is one of the rare villages in the Central Highlands of Vietnam that is preserving the tangible and intangible cultural values of the M'nong ethnic people.
M’Lieng villagers in Dak Lieng commune, Lak district, Dak Lak province live in long stilt houses that sit concentrated on a large area, surrounded by big, green bamboo trees. The area is decorated by woodlands, sedge swamps, fields, big trees and a water wharf. Traditional crafts are practiced, and customs and lifestyles of the wetlands on Dak Lak plateau are intact still.

During annual festivals in M’lieng, the gong culture, the matrilineal culture, the culture of epic poetry and a diverse culinary can be seen the most clearly. Many families in M’lieng still have the Kpan chair - a seat that is exclusive for gong artists when they perform during M’nong festivals, as well as many ancient gongs and drums made from elephant skin.

The family of 86-year-old Y Dlum Teh is an example. His family still has an ancient gong set that he brings out to perform whenever there are village festivals or family events. For him, the gong set bears the memories of many generations, therefore it needs to be taken care of and absolutely cannot be sold, something he reminds his children and grandchildren of every day.



The peaceful scene at M’Lieng village in the early morning. 


Long stilt houses of the M’nong in M’Lieng village.  


Wooden stairs leading up to the stilt house.


Bamboo pillars and trusses on the roof of the M’nong's traditional stilt house.


A stilt house still retains its ancient features such as a leaf roof, a wooden wall.


The rugged coffee tree trunks are used as borders around the floor of the stilt houses. 


Old banyan trees are considered sacred trees in M'lieng village. 


The M'nong live in traditional stilt houses.  


M'lieng villagers also make a living from fishing. 



A M’nong boy takes care of his brother while his parents farm. 


Besides Y Dlum’s ancient gong set, M’lieng village is home to 8 other sets
of ancient gongs ranging from 100-200 years old. 



M’Lieng village has 3 gong performing groups (one traditional group, two young groups)
and a children arts team in M’Lieng village. 



M'lieng attracts tourists by its pristine beauty. 

M’lieng village is also the home of 8 other sets of ancient gongs ranging from 100-200 years old. In 2011, M’lieng was one of the 6 villages in the Lak district gifted with a set of gongs by the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and was selected as a place to preserve the cultural space of gongs.

These spring days, the M'nong in M'Lieng as well as many other villages in the Central Highlands have begun their festive season with many exotic activities, such as the celebration of new rice (celebrating successful harvests), or the elephant race festival. Villagers like Y Dlum now have another thing to be proud of, that M’Lieng has now become a popular destination for tourists, both domestic and foreign. For the future, after finishing doing their traditional occupations, M’Lieng villagers will have more sources to improve their income as well as their living standard while continuing the invaluable preservation of their ancestors’ culture.

 
By Khanh Long & Cong Dat