Friday, 21 September 2012

Nha Dai of E De ethnic people

Located in Buon Me Thuot City, Dak Lak province, the E De people in Ako Dhong Hamlet are considered a model community of ethnic people in the Central Highlands.

A Nha Dai in Ako Dhong Hamlet in the early morning

Built in the unique architectural style of the E De people into basalt red soil, the charming Nha Dai (long houses), will put visitors to the sunny plateau immediately at peace.
There are about 300 E De people living in 30 long houses in Ako Dhong Hamlet. The long houses are about 15-100m long, largely dependant on the number of family members.
Many generations of a family live together in each long house, typically in the matriarchal structure common to the E De people.

Foreign tourists visit a Nha Dai of the E De ethnic people in Ako Dhong Hamlet

The long houses are made from natural materials such as bamboo and wood, with the roof covered by reeds. Walls and floors are then grafted by Nua (Neohouzeaua) that is cut in half and crushed.
Built upon stilts for the practical purpose of protecting dwellers from floods and dangerous wild animals, the length of the long house is measured by the number of collar beams.
Traditionally the house is lengthened with a compartment every time a girl living in the house gets married, following E De matriarchal society where men typically live in their wife’s house. E Pap, an elder who has lived in Ako Dhong for over 40 years, said that in front of the door there is a large yard, also called a guest yard. People walk through the yard before entering the house.

 The inside space of the house is large and full of sunlight
The more prosperous the family is, the larger and more beautiful the yard is. Each house has two doors and two staircases at either end with one staircase for residents and the other for guests.
The staircases have an odd number of steps, which is considered lucky in E De culture and is always the pride of the family.
It is made by hand and decorated with breast-motifs at the top, the symbol of matriarchal vitality and power.
In Ako Dhong, visitors not only enjoy the charm of the special long houses, but can also discover the typical lifestyles of the E De ethnic people in the Central Highlands.

Climbing up the staircase of a Nha Dai
A Nha Dai yard
A Nha Dai staircase
The main door of a Nha Dai


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