|Pa Ko people gather at the communal yard to celebrate the Arieu Ping festival
The celebration also helps enhance unity of family members and villagers to build a prosperous, sufficient, and happy community.
The Pa Ko organize the Arieu Ping celebration to pray for peace and sublimity for the deceased and stability, no disease, for no illness for the living people. At Arieu Ping festival, all villagers rebury the remains and repairs the tombs.
Patriarch Ho Van Hanh of Le Trieng hamlet in A Luoi district, ThuaThien Hue province, said “The Arieu Ping of a typical festival of the Pa Ko that no other ethnic group has. At the festival, all families rebuild tombs of the ancestors.”
The Arieu Ping festival is organized every 5 to 7 years, depending on economic condition of the village. All families prepare offerings and food to treat relatives and guests. On the first day of the festival, they build a house in the center of the village yard to keep the ashes and remains of the dead and offerings.
The main ritual begins the next day when guests from other villagers come to join the festival. They wear traditional dresses and play musical instruments such as horn, gongs, and drums. Each clan has planted a Neu tree on which they tie the offering such as buffalos, cows, goats, and pigs.
The villagers and guests walk around the worshiping yard while the patriarch read the prayers to invite the souls of the ancestors to witness the celebration and acknowledge their descendants’ sincerity.
The patriarch say “we are people of Le Trieng village. We follow the tradition to organize the Arieu Ping festival. We have invited people from far and nearby villages. We’d like to invite the ancestors to join with their descendants in this big festival. We’ll rebuild tombs for you and we pray you to bless us with health and good business.”
After the rituals, people join gong performances and sport games such as shooing bows and arrows and pushing sticks. Young people take turn to beat the drums and gongs through the night.
On the last day of the festival, they say farewell to the souls of their ancestors to the rest in peace. The sounds of drums and gongs echo continuously. The ashes and remains kept in the worship house will be reburied in new tombs.
Hoang Thi Lien, a researcher of ethnic culture, says “Arieu Ping is a traditional celebration of the Pa Ko. At present they have skipped backward customs and kept cultural values to pay gratitude to their ancestors and strengthen community bond.”
During the festival, villagers also gather to discuss community and personal issues. Cultural and sports activities have awaken their pride of their traditions.