Driving on the Ho Chi Minh road that connects the north and the south region across the northern of H. Dak Glei area in Kon Tum province, it’s very easy to catch up the large piles of wood which is neatly lined up to the porch at the houses of the Gie Trieng village. These are the piles of betrothed firewood of girls preparing for a "husband catching" day. The betrothed firewood is an ancient custom of Gie Trieng people.
According to the ancient customs of the Gie Trieng, when the girls reach adulthood, they have the right to choose a person who will become their husband in the future. Therefore, when a girl reaches 15 years old, apart from the days of going to the fields to pick bamboo shoots and mushrooms, the girl also has to cut firewoods to "catch their husbands".
Normally, each firewood is about 90cm long, because according to the ancient custom, it is 7 for girls and 9 for boys. The bundle of firewood must be equally sharp and beautiful, each firewood must be meticulously divided into 5 trenches but absolutely not separate from each other. In the past, the girls went to the forest to cut the betrothed firewood. They often chose chestnut wood because this kind of firewood burns very long, coal with little ash. But now, they replace it with Litsea trees to protect the forest.
When the firewood in the house increases and the girl have a boy in her heart, she will choose the beautiful pieces of sugarcane or the big baked corns. Then on one special occasion, she will ask the boy to eat. If the boy agreed to eat, then the boy agreed to let them learn about each other.
After the boy agreed to learn about her, the girl proactively told her parents about her desire to "get married". The girl's family chose the right time to inform the patriarch and find a matchmaker. The matchmaker will go meet the boy to confirm that the young couple is learning each other.
Before moving into the same house, the couple must go through 2 main ceremonies. The ceremony will be held in both boys and girls house. First, the girl's family went to the boy's house to do the ceremony, the girl is the one that will cut the chicken’s throat. After finishing the first ceremony at the home of their future son-in-law, the girl's family welcomed the boy's family to their home and continue the ceremony.
On a good day, the wedding will be held. At this time, the son's family will give the girl's family a pork thigh, little rice, salt, chili, and a gourd. After the wedding, following the instructions of the son's family, the girl will carry a few bundles of firewood and give it to the close people of the son's family. This is a gift because they have helped with a lot of wine and meat at the wedding.
Today, implementing a new lifestyle, "betrothed firewood" is not a mandatory ritual for Gie Trieng anymore, but almost every girl tries to find a few dozen bundles of firewood before getting married to relieve their parents. This custom is like a priceless love message in a wedding ceremony that no gift can replace. When they became husband and wife with children and grandchildren, the betrothed firewood remained well preserved.
The betrothed firewood is like a work of art that draws a beautiful landscape beside the pleasures of the great Truong Son along the Ho Chi Minh endless road with mountains and forests.