Keng loóng, traditional dance of Thai people
VOV.VN - Keng loóng dancing is an indispensable part of the lives and festive events of Thai ethnic people in Mai Chau district, Hoa Binh province.
When Thai villages conduct community tourism, they often perform keng loong to greet and entertain the tourists.
Loóng means trough or long mortar in Thai language. People select a big, straight wooden log to make a loóng. Ha Van Xem of Na Phon commune said: “A loong is a kind of wood log which makes a resonant, echoing sound.
A keng is a stick which is used to beat on the two ends of the loong. In the past, people grew rice on terraced fields. The harvested rice was brought home and pounded in the loong. The loong is really a long mortar.”
The loong is used in agricultural production rituals and festivals of the Thai. When pounding rice, women often make extra strokes against the edge of the trough or tap the pestles against each other to create melodious sounds to dispel hardship. Over time, the rhythms evolved into the Keng loong dance, a prominent folk activity of the Thai in Mai Chau district.
Ha Thi Bich of Na Phon commune said, “Keng loong was created by people pounding rice and straw. Now it’s performed at the New Rice ceremony and at festivals. We also play the Keng loong at solar and lunar eclipse rituals and at funerals. It’s accompanied by drums and gongs at festive events. People stand along the loong and use bamboo or wood pestles to beat on the loong’s edges.”
A musical ensemble of drums, gongs, and pestles beating the loong accompanies people dancing and cheering. The number of people dancing depends on the length of the loong and the occasion.
Ha Thi Tam of Na Phon commune shared, “Keng loóng dancing often includes 8 people, 4 on each side of the loong. The dancing is a wish for a bumper crop and prosperity. When the villagers welcome tourists, they perform folk dances and invite the guests to dance the keng loong and the bamboo pole dance.”
There is a different keng loóng melody for every occasion, whether it’s a New Rice ceremony, a cock fighting festival, a solar or lunar eclipse ritual, or a wedding. At weddings and New Year celebrations, the Thai also play drums and gongs to create a more exciting atmosphere.
Ha Thi Nhat, a Thai woman, said, “Keng loóng dancing is an integral part of life for the Thai. When people dance, everyone in the village feels happy. We dance on every special occasion – the Day of Great National Unity, New Rice Day, the New Year celebration, and festivals. In the past we danced for the tourists on Saturdays and Sundays. Now that tourism is more developed, the village's art troupe dances every day. Tourists love the bamboo pole dance and the fan dance."
"In the past, at each lunar eclipse, old people woke up everyone in the village to do some keng loong dancing to save the moon and make it bright again, thereby protecting people and making them more prosperous,” said Nhat.
In October this year, keng loóng was recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.