魯凱族下三社祖靈祭時，以前都是要出草獵人頭的，可是現在不能獵人頭了，那要改成獵什麼呢……No more head-hunting for Ngerarukai Rukai people any more for their Ancestral Ceremony, but now they hunt……
老人家說，在以前，下三社每年都有一堆大小祭典，而一年當中最盛大的就是祖靈祭（Mo-lapangolai）。但是後來日本人來了，為了不讓族人太團結，所以規定他們四年才能舉辦一次祖靈祭，因此也造成祖靈記得傳承慢慢凋零。但後來在族人的努力下，祖靈祭的傳統又慢慢回來了，甚至在今年的中秋節，還舉辦了 60 年來最盛大的一場祖靈祭咧！
- 第三步：出草獵頭…… 獵石頭！
- 第四步：啪踢時間～ Party Time!
當藍啦，傳統的祖靈祭，程序更繁瑣，才不只這樣。聽說以前加上準備期間，還可以長達四個月 @@” 但現在濃縮成一天就結束了，就跟 9/19 舉辦的聯合祖靈祭一樣。而其中照片這位呢，就是今年的冠軍得主 －－ 18 歲的顏中維！顏大哥他老人家在當天搶先在沿路坡度斜達 60 度的「獵石頭」比賽中，跑到溪邊摸到石頭，成為今年的第一勇士，要在 4 年後的祖靈祭中，擔任報信員！
The answer: Stones!
The term ‘ngerarukai’ comes from the language of Western Rukai to call the Rukai people living in the three communities, Teldrika (Maolin in Chinese), ‘Oponoho (Wanxan in Chinese), and Kongadavane (Duona in Chinese), meaning “the people living in mountains high and cold”. As Ngerarukai Rukai people feature different cultures with the Rukai from the other communities, and so many people don’t mix them with other Rukai people when talking about Rukai cultures. Among Ngerarukai Rukai, the people from Teldrika even have a unique Rukai dialect which is very different from the others, and so some linguists even say it should be an independent language!
According to the elders of Ngerarukai, there used to be many large and small ceremonies every year, and the annual Ancestral Ceremony (Mo-lapangolai) was the largest among them. However, later the Japanese government forced them to hold the ceremony every four years in case the Rukai people had the chance to unite and rebel against the government, making many ceremonial elements forgotten. Fortunately with the efforts of the people, the important ceremony has been revived and they even finished the largest one ever in the past 60 years just on Sep 19th this year!
So what do they do in Mo-lapangolai, the Ancestral Ceremony?
- First: Bird Divination
The family in charge of the ceremony needs to put salted meat on the ground. At this moment, if there are some bird sounds, it means it’s lucky and the people can continue the Ancestral Ceremony.
- Second: Pig Sacrifice
After the bird divination, the ceremony host will shout: “Get ready and be careful, the boys to race running!” and then kill a pig as a sacrifice with his hunting knife. After then, the young people of the communities will all take part in a running race.
- Third: Headhunting…… oh no, it’s “stone-hunting” now!
Yup yup. Before, the Ngerarukai young people would take part in a headhunting game in the Ancestral Ceremony. However, after the Japanese came, they were not allowed to do headhunting any longer, and the Japanese asked them to hunt “stones” instead.
So after the pig sacrifice, all the young people should run down the slopes to the stream and try to touch the stones in the stream. The first one who touches a stone will be the champion and the First Warrior of the next four years!
…… And the losers? Well, they need to carry the stones back to the community 😛
- Four: Party Time!
After the game, all those who reach the stream are allowed to enjoy pork and can share the pork with girls — Surely those who don’t can eat nothing.
There is a taboo: They can only eat the pork before 5pm. After 5pm, all the pork should be covered up under the ground. And then everybody can go back to the community.
Of course, the traditional procedures of the ceremony were much more and so the Ancestral Ceremony could last up to 4 months including the preparation! But now all the procedures are done within one day, just like the ceremony just finished on Sep 19th. The 18-year-old young boy called Yan Chung-Wei is the champion of this year and will be dubbed as the First Warrior of Ngerarukai in the following four years. He will also be the herald in the next Ancestral Ceremony!
Hey dude, be the First Warrior of Ngerarukai, you need to take the responsibility of protecting the mountains and the forests, don’t forget!
Where to visit the community?
As the cultures are different from the other Rukai communities, the Rukai from Teldrika, ‘Oponoho, and Kongadavane, are called Ngerarukai Rukai all together:
In Ngerarukai, there is the famous Ancestral Ceremony (Mo-lapangolai) every four year, wherein you can see how the people try to preserve and pass down their traditional ceremony that has lasted hundreds of years. To make the event richer, now they even have other activities like making rice cake or warrior dance.
Besides the ceremony, there are the three specialties in Ngerarukai: Double-branded Crow of Ngerarukai (Euploea Sylvester), Wanxan Stone Sculpture, and Duona Black Rice!