The M'Nong ethnic group - The ancient, original cultural source

Name of ethnic group: M'Nong (Bru Dang, Preh, Ger, Nong, Prang, PJam, Kuyenh, Chil Bu Nor, and M'Nong Bu Dang)

Population: 92,451 people (Year 1999)

Locality: Concentrated in the southern parts of Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces, and parts of Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc provinces.

Customs and habits: The M'Nong live in houses built on stilts or level with the ground. Each village usually has dozens of households. The village chief plays a major role in village life. They like to drink alcohol from jars with pipes and smoke tobacco threads rolled in leaves. Matriarchy is observed and the children take the family name of their mother. The wife holds the key position in the household. The M'Nong like to have many children, especially daughters. One year after the birth of a child, the baby is given a name. At funerals, people sing, and beat gongs and drums at the side of the coffin. After placing the coffin in the grave, they cover it with plants, tree boughs, and leaves before filling the grave with earth. After seven days, the family holds a rite which completes the mourning process. The M'Nong believe in the existence of many spirits which are related to their life. One such spirit is Mother Rice who has a special role.

Culture: M'Nong language belongs to the Mon-Khmer Group.

Costumes: Men generally wear loincloths and leave their upper torsos naked. Women wear skirts which fall to their ankles. Dark indigo loincloths, skirts, and vests are decorated with red-coloured designs.

Economy: The M'Nong use the slash-and-burn method of farming. The M'Nong in Ban Don are well known for their elephant hunting and domestication. Women handle the weaving of cotton cloth, while the men work on basketry.


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