Unknowingly, the ancestors of the K’Ho Sre lived by growing upland rice and wet rice. But perhaps, the meaning of the word "Sre" is "field", the K'Ho Sre call themselves cau K'Ho Sre - the K'Ho people cultivate paddy fields, so wet rice is truly a farming product that they have been living on for ages. The development of the wet rice civilization of the K’Ho Sre people can be based on the epic and hundreds of sacrifices of the Rice Gods of the South Central Highlands people.
The K’Ho Sre people have their own qualifications and methods of wet rice cultivation. The cultivation process is often associated with the rituals organization of worshiping Yàng, praying to the gods to protect and bless the good crops ... becoming the beauty imbued with the traditional cultural identity of the K'Ho Sre people. Rice fields must have water, so the K’Ho Sre people come to the valleys, low-lying areas, rivers, streams ... where the water flows year round to make wet rice. The K'Ho Sre people have two types of fields, this distinction is based on the topography of the field, that is, "sre longon" is located in low terrain, near rivers and streams, there is always water and "sre dang" in a higher position, with water filled in when it rains or when it has big water draining. The experiences of watching the weather through the growth of animals are passed on from the field time; stars observing methods, techniques of soil preparation, irrigation, soaking before sowing, using fertilizer ... have proven their proficiency in cultivating wet rice at a certain level.
The process of rice cultivation is usually through several stages, such as making land twice (còs, lát), harrowing two times (sơkam jroăh, sơkam klềt), and the last stage is leveling the field (kơr) to sow. According to the old people in the K'Ho Sre villages in Di Linh, Lam Dong, the rice varieties used include koi ke, koi phang, and various types of koi m'bar (sticky rice) ... but the most common is the mother "koi me".
Rice seeds with the K’Ho Sre people play an important role, so during the production cycle they often perform rituals, such as praying for rain, sowing rice seeds (sih sre, nhô wèr); planting ceremony (nhô sih sre) at the foot of the field, with the hope of the gods to help the seeds to sprout evenly and the weather is favorable; When the rice were planted, they performed buffalo washing ceremony, abstinence ceremony, worshiping rice fields (nhô rào jơng rơpu); When the good rice is full, the whole village organizes a thanksgiving ceremony for the rain and wind (nhô wèr - worshiping rice), then the celebration of rice flowering (nhô kẹp), planting ceremony if the rice is ripe ( nhô tốt dông). When the rice plant has sprouted, the leaves are dry and turn yellow, the grain firm, signaling that the harvest season has come, people embark on the harvest, gathering in heaps, crowding, ascending in the form of a rice broom right in field. When the harvest season ends, they focus on plucking rice "with their feet", while the large fields used buffalos to "prơjòt", lasting for a month to complete. When all the fields were finished, before carrying the rice to the storehouse, the K'Ho performed a sacrificial ritual to worship the Yang to give thanks and ask the gods to bring the rice to fill the cot (organize the rice back to the warehouse). After that, they organize the festival of rice festival - Celebrating the new rice crop ("lir bong" literally means "to paddy rice paddy") in each family and clan. Well-organized economic events, they usually organize on a larger scale, lasting over a month, which is a feast of eating buffaloes (nhô sa rơpu, also known as nhô dơng). Nhô lir bong festival is considered New Year of the K'Ho people, meaning thanking Yàng, for the people to rejoice after a hard harvest and when the rice has been packed into the cot.
Since ancient times, the K’Ho Sre people mainly produce rice depending on nature and manpower. However, through the process of cultivation, drawing experience, they also reached a level of cultivation that can be called "wet rice civilization". Along with the harmonious behavior with nature, they also rely on astronomy, such as the base of the moon cycle to choose the time of sowing. Experts in the K’Ho Sre villages believe that it is a time when the rice will be healthy, grow well, be free of harmful animals and diseases.
The concept of the K’Ho people, in the grain, there is always the rice god "N’du Yàng kèo”. Therefore, they always respect the grain, rice and often scarify healthy animals (chickens, ducks, pigs, goats and especially buffalos) to offer to the gods. After harvesting, the K’Ho Sre people absolutely do not use paddy as a trading item, because that way they accidentally chased the rice god. For the K’Ho Sre people, for a long, legendary time, rice was only allowed to be used for the purpose of trading with objects of equal value. And it was not until the beginning of the 21st century that when they approached advanced production methods, they stepped through ritual attachment and considered rice as a commodity.
.Mai Van Bao