02/01/2022 08:01 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

The unique ritual of Lau Then

Lau Then (meaning to heaven) is a traditional and cultural ritual that is unique in its performance form and contains traditional values, connecting the local ethnic minorities.
Then masters are reputable people in the community of the Tay in Lang Son province. A Then master is knowledgeable about customs and can perform all traditional and spiritual rituals from funerals and weddings to longevity celebrations. The profession of a Then master is divided into levels. The higher rank a Then master gets, the more power and prestige he gets. After a period of training, Then masters will hold a great ceremony to level up.


The colorful space of the ceremony.


The home owner prepares for the ritual. 


The altar is set up for the solemn ritual.


Then masters are reputable people in the community of the Tay in Lang Son province.


The Then master dips peach leaves in water to clean the space for the ritual of Lau Then.


Lau Then is an arts performance of arts, which includesing singing,
dancing, and acting. 



The curtain for the altar is made of paper swallows.


The Then master welcomes the general to witness the ritual.


The Then master checks the offerings to the gods. 


The Then master ties a red thread around the homeowner’s wrist.


The homeowner prays before the altar of the gods in the ritual of Lau Then.


The musical instruments for the ceremony include the gourd lute, the drum and the gong.


The gourd lute is the main musical instrument in the ritual of Lau Then. 


Finally, there is a dance to worship the general.

Lau Then is a performance of arts, including singing, dancing, and acting. The Then melodies are sometimes low, sometimes high, sometimes dignified, sometimes bustling. They have both singers and viewers captivated. The musical instruments for the ceremony include the gourd lute, the drum and the gong.

The Lau Then ritual consists of many steps. At first, the Then family organizes a ceremony to welcome the Then ancestors and the ancestors of the homeowner to the world to witness the ritual. Next, the Then masters will count the offerings to the gods before declaring the beginning of the ritual. During this most important step, the Then masters will sing, bestow blessings, cast spells and tie a red thread around each person's wrist. The masters then will bestow wishes of health and peace suitable for each person. The Then masters will sing a report about the smooth and joyful ceremony afterward.

Finally, there is a chau hau tuong (dance to worship the general). Everyone then is invited to join in the joyful rhythm of the song.
 
By Viet Cuong
Translated by Hong Hanh