Saturday, July 26, 2014

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Nha Dai of E De Ethnic People

Located in Buon Me Thuot City, Dak Lak Provine, Ako Dhong Hamlet of the E De ethnic people is considered a model hamlet of the ethnic people in Tay Nguyen (the Central Highlands) with well-known Nha dai (traditional long house).
Visitors to Ako Dhong Hamlet will see many beautiful long houses which were built in the unique architectural style of the E De people on basalt red soil, giving them good feelings about a peaceful, windy and sunny plateau.

There are about 300 E De people living in 30 long houses in Ako Dhong Hamlet. The long houses are about 15-100m long, depending on the number of members in a family. Many generations of a family live together in the long house and it is a typical feature in the matriarchal society of the E De people.

A Nha dai in Ako Dhong Hamlet in the early morning. Photo: Huu Thanh

Foreign tourists visit a Nha dai of the E De ethnic people in Ako Dhong Hamlet. Photo: Huu Thanh

The inside space of the house is large and full of sunlight. Photo: Kim Phuong

Foreign visitors enjoy in climbing the staircase of a Nha dai. Photo: Huu Thanh

A Nha dai yard. Photo: Huu Thanh

A Nha dai staircase. Photo: Huu Thanh

The main door of a Nha dai. Photo: Kim Phuong

The long houses are made from natural materials such as bamboo and wood. Its roof is covered by reeds, its walls and floors are grafted by Nua (Neohouzeaua) that is cut in half and crushed. They are built upon stilts with low architectural structure for the practical purpose of protecting dwellers from floods and dangerous wild animals. The long house’s length is measured by the number of collar beams. Once a girl living in the house gets married, the house is lengthened with a compartment because according to the E De matriarchal society, men live in their wives’ houses.
E Pap, an elder who has lived in Ako Dhong for over 40 years, said that in front of the door there is a large yard, also called a guest yard. People walk through the yard before entering the house. The more prosperous the family is, the larger and more beautiful the yard is. Each house has two doors and two staircases on either end, one staircase is for the owners and the other is for guests. The stairs have an odd number because odd numbers are considered lucky in E De culture. The staircase is always the pride of the E De people. It is made by hand and decorated with two breast-shaped designs at the top, the symbol of matriarchal vitality and power.
In Ako Dhong, visitors not only enjoy the charm of the special long houses, but can also discover the typical living style of the E De ethnic people in the Central Highland.
Story: Nguyen Vu Thanh Dat - Photos: Huu Thanh – Kim Phuong
Source: Vietnam Pictorial

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