The H’re believe all things are administered by genies and they pray to the genies for peace, protection, bumper crops, and chasing away bad luck and diseases.
The H’re believe that all human activities are influenced by supernatural forces.
They have several rituals for daily and production activities. They worship the rice soul, the land genie, and the water genie whenever they plant a new crop, harvest, or stockpile rice.
Their buffalo worship ceremony is the biggest ritual of all for the community.
Phung Thi Lan is a researcher of the Vietnam National Museum of Ethnology. She said “The buffalo worship ceremony is the biggest ceremonies of the H’re. The buffalo is their precious asset and a close friend in production. The buffalo worship ceremony marks special events like the inauguration of a Rong community house or celebration of a bumper crop. They express their gratitude to the genies for blessing them.”
“New rice” worship is one of the most important ceremonies of the H’re. They consider the woman of the family to be in charge of the family’s food.
She takes rice from the field, prepares steamed rice in a “sacred pot”, performs the worship ritual, and eats the steamed rice by herself. She is the first person to harvest the rice and takes the first basket of rice home.
A housewarming ceremony is an important and festive event attended by the whole village. A shaman performs rituals outside and inside the house with offering of pork, chicken, rice, and wine.
Following the ritual, the house owner invites all the villagers to a party. They drink wine and dance all night to gongs.
At the end of the year, the H’re organize a party to clean the house for the New Year. Folklorist Pham Van Dat said “Before preparing cakes for the New Year, the H’re organize a house cleaning ceremony. The offering is an egg. The ceremony chases away the bad luck of the old year and welcomes good things in the New Year.”
Before the New Year ceremony, the H’re clean their house, dredge canals and waterways, clean the village roads, and make new musical instruments and new clothes.
In their New Year rituals they express gratitude for their ancestors’ merits and pray to the genies to bless them with health and good luck.