Vietnam War - A Memoir - History

The Chu Ru People

It is the Chu Ru women’s responsibility to propose marriage.

The Chu Ru are also called Cho Ru and Chu. They have a population of more than 10,000, chiefly living in Don Duong district (Lam Dong), and the rest in Binh Thuan province. The Chu Ru language belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian group.

They adopted a sedentary life and practised farming very early. Nowadays they also practise sericulture and life is fairly stable. Apart from cultivation, they raise cattle, pigs, goats and poultry. They make bamboo and rattan handicrafts and tools such as sickles, picks and knives. Some villages are well known for their pottery. Hunting and gathering and picking are sideline occupations in every family.

The play (village) contains many family lineages and other residing ethnic groups. Po-play (village chiefs) are elected by the inhabitants. After them comes the shaman who plays an important role in spiritual life.

Usually, the extended family of the Chu Ru comprises 3-4 matrilineal generations living in an elongated house. Monogamy is observed. The young woman chooses her own husband. The husband lives in his wife’s family.

The Chu Ru worship their ancestors. There are no altars in their houses. Instead, rituals are carried out at various festivals.

Agricultural festivals are diverse. They are often held in honour of the water spirits or the new harvest. Worth noting is the festival for the spirit, Bo-mung (water dam) which is celebrated in the second lunar month.

The Chu Ru have a rich oral tradition comprising folksongs and proverbs. A prominent theme is praise of the role of females in traditional society. In their treasury of folklore, there are stories in verse and narratives of great artistic and historical value.