Part of the Cham ethnic people in Vietnam, the Cham “Bani” people called Cham Awal are living in Vietnam’s Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan provinces. Blending the practices of matriarchy, ancestor veneration and Brahmanism, the Cham Bani starts annually celebrating the Ramuwan festival by worshiping at the local cemetery or well known as “Nau ghor”. Part of the Ramuwan festival, the worshiping is purposely held to invite all the dead relatives to come home sharing the New Year celebration.
The dead Cham Bani person was buried next to each other at the cemetery. There are two stones placed on the ground as the marks of head and feet. On the ground, it can be seen two lines of stones as all the dead family relatives were buried as the same plot. The lines are separated by another stones at the end of each family section. Basically, the lines are directed from the East to West.
Early in the morning, hundreds of Cham Bani people in their traditional costumes gather at the cemetery. Preparing the worshiping, ladies make a every sandy line between each pair of stones that presents for a dead person. Men is arranging the offerings. When it has been done, the Cham dignitaries (priests) will come to chant and pour the holy water on each sandy line. All members of the family are already for the worshiping. Men in white costumes sit on the left side of the lines while women and children are sitting on the right side. The praying is commenced! All members of family are praying and chanting. The worship is finished in the morning and then continued with other celebrations in the main spiritual communal settings (thang magik) and home.
Priests chanting and pouring holy water (1/3200, F2.8, 24mm, ISO200)
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