Guol house - Spiritual and cultural symbol of Cotu ethnic minority in Quang Nam
PSNews - Built with the efforts of everyone in the village, Guol communal house is a spiritual and cultural symbol of the Cotu ethnic minority community in the central coastal province of Quang Nam. Cotu ethnic minority community considers Guol house a sacred place, where the gods and the ancestors reside.
For the Cotu people, a village without a Guol house is considered out of touch with their cultural traditions. The Guol houses contribute to the restoration of traditional cultural values of the Cotu ethnic group, helping future generations of Cotu to understand and inherit the cultural and spiritual values of their nation.
Village elder Briu Po (Aroh village, Lang commune, Tay Giang district, Quang Nam province) shared that, the construction of a Guol house is very important and requires the involvement of the entire Cotu ethnic people in a village as it would take months to complete.
Traditionally, a Guol house has a principal pillar in the middle and 8 surrounding smaller pillars. The roof is made of a special kind of leave called corypha saribus and has the shape of a mango.
The wattles are embossed with carvings of buffaloes, buffalo heads, and geckoes and scenes of the daily activities of the community such as men beating drums and women holding children. The Guol house is also a place for displaying musical instruments and skeletons of animals. The house is a symbolic structure for all villagers, demonstrating the power of the village.
Guol communal house is a spiritual and cultural symbol of the Cotu ethnic minority community in Quang Nam. Cotu ethnic minority community considers Guol house a sacred place, where the gods and the ancestors reside.
“In the Cotu ethnic language, Guol means communal or community, and a Guol house is a place for administrative works, cultural activities and cultural preservation. A Guol house exists in every Cotu village, whether the villagers are rich or poor. A Guol house is considered a sacred place inhabited by the gods and the ancestors”, said village elder Briu Po.
As a result of wars and time, many Guol houses are deteriorating. Over the past years, the Quang Nam provincial authorities have made efforts to restore traditional Cotu culture, including old houses, contributing to preserving village culture, we preserve the traditional essence of the Cotu.
To date, almost every hamlet has a Guol hous with Tay Giang district taking the lead in this effort. Situated on top of a hill is the district center, which consists of one central Guol house and 10 others, representing 10 communes of the district. The architecture and decoration differs among Guol houses.