The Xtiêng

02:55 PM 22/01/2016 Views: 3418 Print

The Xtieng have a population of more than 50.000 inhabitants living in four northern districts of Song Be province and a part of them lives in Dong Nai and Tay Ninh provinces. They divide into two groups: Bu Dec and Bu Lo. The people of Bu Dec group live in lowland. They cultivate rice in submerged fields and used oxen and buffaloes as draught animals for a long time. The Bu Lo group lives in up-land. They mainly practice cultivation on burnt-over land and settle near the M'Nong and the Ma. The Xtieng are also called Xa-dieng. Xtieng language belongs to the Mon-Khmer Group.

Nowadays, the Xtieng mostly live in a sedentary lifestyle. Each family has built its own house. The Dieu is a popular family name. Autonomy is a tradition of every Xtieng village. Each village is led by an elderly man who must be experienced in the affairs of the community, dynamic, enjoys the trust of the villagers and of course is a man of property of the village. The property consists of heads of buffaloes, oxens, gongs, jars, necklaces. bracelets and ornaments. The Xtieng can marry men or women of other lineages. Ordinarily, the boys of19-20 years-old and the girls, 15-17, begin to choose their partners, After the wedding, the bride comes to live in her husband's house.

The Xtieng's costumes are generally simple. Xtieng women wear skins and men loincloths. In winter they cover with blankets. They wear their hair long tied in a chignon back their heads and insert wood or ivory earrings into their earlobes or tattoo their face and body with simple motifs. The Xtieng young and old alike, like to wear necklaces and bracelets. Even the children wear small bells around their ankles.

The Xtieng believe in animism and mystical power of the thunder, thunderbolt, heaven, earth, moon and sun. The white offerings such as white cocks, white piqs and white buffaloes manifest the sacredness and power of genies. The Xtieng calculate their age according to every harvest gathered from burnt-over land.

The Xtieng like music, Their popular musical instrument is the six-pattern gong sets. They retrain from beating gongs outside of the houses, except in the buffalo-stabbing rite. Gongs are beaten at the rites and ceremonies and used to show someone's feelings or solve conflicts between the families. The Xtieng also like to play bamboo pan-pipes. At the end of the dry season, they use to release kites.