Chut ethnic group

Published: 09th February 2012
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Lables: Chut ethnic group, Ethnic Groups, Viet-Muong Group
Proper name: Chut.
Other names: Rue, Arem and Sach.
Local groups: May, Rue, Sach, Arem and Ma Lieng.
Population: 2427 people.
Language: Chut language belongs to the Viet-Muong group (of the Austroasiatic language family).
History: The native land of the Chut used to be the two districts of Bo Trach and Quang Trach of Quang Binh province.
Because of wars and heavy taxes, they fled to the high mountains in Minh Hoa and Bo Trach districts, Quang Binh province. According to annals belonging to some Viet families, the sub-groups of Rue and Sach inhabited this area for at least 500 years.

Production activities: The Chut live by nomadic slash-and-burn agriculture, and hunting and gathering. Hunting and gathering, which tend to offset bad harvests, predominate among most Chut groups, with the exception of the Sach people who are mainly agricultural. The main crops are corn, manioc, beans and rice. Working tools include axes, cutlasses, digging sticks, ploughs and harrows. Since adopting a settled lifestyle, the Chut have raised livestock for ploughing. Basketry is made to meet the household demand. In some places, knife and axe blacksmithing is practiced.

Diet: The main food crops are corn and manioc. People eat two meals a day-at noon and in the evening. In years of bad crops, the Chut must eat sago powder (bang or nhuc).

Clothing: The Chut do not weave textiles, but buy them or exchange goods for textiles with the Viet people and Laotians on the border. In the summer, men wear loin cloths and leave the upper body unclothed, while women wear long skirts. In summer, they may wear, clothes made from tree bark. Nowadays, the Chut have adopted the Viet style of clothing.

Housing: The Chut live in makeshift dwellings supported by a pole and tied by rope, or they may find shelter in caves or under stone roofs.. Before 1954, the sub-groups of Rue and Arem had lived mainly in caves. Nowadays, they. are concentrated in small villages in the valleys. Housing has improved over time.

Transportation: Gui (baskets carried on the back) with straps for carrying or pulling is the chief means of local transportation for goods and produce.

Social organization: The Chut call a village Ca Ven. There are only about five to ten families of one lineage living in one village. Sometimes the families of the same lineage live in different villages. Each village is headed by a Pu Ca Ven, who also takes charge of religious matters. The most important public activity is the agricultural festival. Patriarchy is more dominant in Chut families. Each family usually consists only of the parents and the unmarried children.

Birth: Shortly before childbirth, the husband erects a small dwelling for his wife in the forest. Periodically, he will come there to care for his wife and supply her with sufficient food and drink. Chut women are accustomed to delivering their children in the seated position, and usually on their own. Once a woman has delivered her child, she makes a fire, heating up a small stone previously placed in the fire and pouring water on the stone so that steam rises and, thus, warms the body. The husband only comes to take his wife back home seven days after the delivery.

Marriage: Grown-up boys and girls are free to look for their own partners. As the first step in the marriage process, the boy's family must choose a good match-maker for an engagement agreement made with the girl's family, which takes place several times before the wedding is held. The important wedding gifts are pork, chicken, and dried monkey meat. Matrilocal residence does not exit among the Chut.

Funerals: Wealthy families use coffins hollowed-out from the trunks of trees, while poorer families use tree bark to cover the corpse.

Beliefs: The Chut worship their ancestors at the village chiefs house. When he dies, the task is transferred to his next younger brother. When no one from the elder generation is left, then the responsibility is assigned to the younger people. The Chut believe in the existence of the spirits of the forest, the stream, the land, the kitchen and, most importantly, the village. Agricultural rites are often performed on such occasions as seed-rice sowing, post-sowing, rice's soul worshiping, and a bumper harvest.

Artistic activities: The Chut play a variety of musical instruments, such as pan pipes, flutes, etc., and they sing many kinds of folksongs. They inherited a rich legacy of folk tales and legends, particularly about the coming into existence of the earth, the heaven and human beings.

Games: On ceremonial occasions, children play with shuttle-cocks made of chicken feathers, while adults play the flute or sing.

This article written by Lanh Nguyen from Vietnam Heritage Travel
For original article, please visit:
http://vietnamheritagetravel.com/news/1435-chut-ethnic-group.html
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