Ethnic peoples in Vietnam’s northern mountainous region worship many kinds of belief. Facing with dangerously high mountains and harsh weather, they rely more on spiritual beliefs to overcome these difficulties. Muong Ethnic people and its folk beliefs are not the exception.
Worshipping rock deity
People often worship rocks with particular shapes, connecting them to deities and saints who help people conquering the natural world. Belief of worshipping rock deity is particularly obvious in inaugurating ceremony of a new house with a worshipping object symbolizing the rock deity (bụt mọc).
Nowadays, Muong ethnic people in Cao Phong (Hòa Bình) still keep a legend about the rock deity that, when people tried to remove a big rock in a stream to a different place in order to clear the stream for watering the agriculture works, the day after they saw the rock still in the original place. They repeated removing the rock further away but the rock repeated returning to its original place. So, by the advice of the worshipping master, they decided to take the rock home for worshipping. From then, their life and work became more favorable, and the worshipping of the rock deity came into being.
Worshipping tree deity
Muong people believe that certain kind of trees have a sacred existence and are home to supernatural forces, so they often practice worshipping these trees in their life. These types of tree include banyan, bombax ceiba…
There are other kind of trees worshiped by ethnic peoples, including sugar cane (in funeral rituals and traditional wedding ceremonies) and rice (in ceremonies for new rice crop)…
Worshipping of animals
Life in the mountainous region often encounters with wild animals, including tiger, deer… and most ethnic peoples regard these animals as sacred. So, apart from providing precious meats in meals these animals can be used as offerings in belief rituals. Ethnic peoples also believe that worshipping these animals will help them avoid bad incidents and give them additional strength.
Besides wild animals, raised animals such as cattle, pig, and chicken… are considered as having souls. Speeches in traditional funerals often include expressions of thankfulness for these close animals. For example, toad has been considered as the one calling for rains helping agricultural production, and toad symbol was cast in the old drum in Hoa Binh. Fish and dear symbols also appear in funerals in ethnic communities with an interpretation that these animals would guide the souls the way to heaven.
Folk beliefs have influence on all aspects of life of Muong people, establishing a consistent system of rituals, customs in social production and ways of life. Often expressed in cultural festivals, these folk beliefs play essential roles in both individual and community’s life and contribute to create a unique traditional culture of Muong people./.