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Kor ethnic group preserves folklore culture

Kor ethnic minorities number nearly 23,000 and live mostly in the central provinces of Quang Nam and Quang Ngai on the towering Truong Son Range.

The Kor ethnic group is also known as Cua or Trau. They speak a language from the Mon-Khmer linguistic family. They believe in gods and Spirits and worship the Rice Genie.

The Kor ethnic group grows rice, maize, manioc and other plants on terraced fields. Their traditional plant, cinnamon, is much sought after in domestic and international markets and brings in large incomes for locals. Each village of the Kor ethnic minority people is named after either their chief or a nearby river, stream, stretch of land or forest. The local population formerly lived in long houses on stilts which would accommodate dozens of families. Nowadays they tend to live in smaller houses on the ground.

By custom, Kor men wear loincloths and are normally bare-chested, while women wear skirts and short-sleeved blouses. During cold weather, they often put on a large cloth cloak. Local inhabitants are fond of wearing necklaces, bracelets, and earrings of bronze or silver, especially colourful beads. Such outfits distinguish the Kor people from other ethnic groups.

Elderly people are highly respected in the Kor community. The village chief is a symbol in the community and often owns a great deal of terraced fields, gongs and cymbals, and jars. He must be successful in production and earning a living. He leads an exemplary lifestyle to gain the respect of the villagers and joins with other villagers to maintain traditional cultural identities and unity within the community.

The Kor population originally didn’t have a specific family name but later most adopted the surname Dinh, and in the past decades used Ho Chi Minh as a common family name. Young Kor people learn about each other and exchange love vows before getting married. Following wedding ceremonies, which are often simple, the bride follows the groom to his family home. Old customs and habits once prevented the Kor people from marrying people in other ethnic groups, but this practice is no longer in effect.

Kor people are fond of dancing, singing and playing gongs and drums. They treasure unique folk melodies such as Xru, Klu and Agioi. Fairy tales and legends are passed down orally from one generation to another to preserve their wealth of literature. The Kor inhabitants hold some traditional rituals and festivals where they commemorate gods and spirits that bless them with plentiful crops and a year free from illness. They also worship their ancestors and the deceased during such ceremonies.

VOV - (24/10/2005)

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