Ca c'rau in Ngoc Linh mountain region

By HOANG LY - NGUYEN THANH |

(QNO) - Ca c’rau, which means eating tobacco, is a special cultural feature in daily activities and communication of the Sedang ethnic group living beside the foot of Ngoc Linh mountain (South Tra My district, Quang Nam province).

The way to Ngoc Linh mountain.
The way to Ngoc Linh mountain.

On the way to Ngoc Linh mountain, we had to overcome the rocky hills. Going along with us was a Sedang young men group. When we invited them for cigarettes, they refused and said: “We don’t smoke”.
When coming to Tak Lan village of hamlet 3, Tra Linh commune, we met some village elders. They also refused when we invited them to smoke.

Mr Ho Van Hinh “is eating tobacco”
Mr Ho Van Hinh “is eating tobacco”

We went to visit Mr Ho Loi, an over 70-year- old village patriarch. In his house, we saw a great number of dried tobacco leaves hanging in the kitchen except stored corn and paddy bags. Thinking of a man addicted to smoking, we invited him for a cigarette, but he refused and said: “ I  don’t smoke. Our villagers are not used to smoking. It makes us uncomfortable. We just eattobacco”. Then, he took out a small plastic box, opened the cover, poured some green powder into  his mouth. “He is eating tobacco,” said Ho Loi’s wife. We surprisedly looked at him. Five minutes later, Ho Loi spitted out the green powder in his mouth and told us about this “Ca c’rau” habit.

Sedang women is the second to none in “eating tobacco”
Sedang women is the second to none in “eating tobacco”

The green powder which Mr Ho Loi eats is ground from tobacco leaves. They are grown on the hill fields. After harvesting, the local residents bring them home and dry by hanging them above the cooking fire. When tobacco leaves are completely dried, they will be ground to powder. Next, they bake the shells and grind them into fine powder. Then they mix these two kinds of powder together to make a green powder.

Dried tobacco leaves hanging above the cooking fire.
Dried tobacco leaves hanging above the cooking fire.

When meeting their relatives or friends on the hill fields, at private houses, at wedding parties or festivals, the Sedang people always invite each other for “Ca c’rau” to show their hospitality and friendship. Many people said that “eating tobacco” can help to prevent teeth diseases.

By HOANG LY - NGUYEN THANH