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The call of takiiaru blesses the Hla'alua

 

The call of takiiaru blesses the Hla'alua

◎Written by Li Ming-huei

◎English translation by Lin Yu-ciao

 

 

 Legend has it that in the ancient and mysterious land called hlasʉnga, there lived a group of dwarf people known as the kavurua. They and the ancestors of the Hla'alua people — one of Taiwan's indigenous Austronesian tribes — got along very well.

 When the Hla'alua (who are also known as the Saaroa) decided to leave hlasʉnga, the kavurua were saddened to see their friends go. As the Hla'alua prepared to migrate, the kavurua handed them their most precious heirloom, takiiarʉ, and told them to worship it as their god.

 After several different migrations, the Hla'alua came to the places they now inhabit: the villages of Gaojhong and Taoyuan in Taoyuan District, as well as Maya Village in Namasia District. Both Taoyuan and Namasia are in the mountainous interior of Kaohsiung.

 The Hla'alua tribe can be divided into four subgroups: the paiciana, vilanganʉ, talicia and hlihlala. The total population of these four subgroups is about 500 people.

 In 2014, the Hla'alua and the Kanakanavu (who also live in Namasia District) were officially recognized by the central government as Taiwan's 15th and 16th indigenous ethnic groups.

 Ever since their migration, the Hla'alua have followed the instructions of the kavurua and respected takiiarʉ as a protective deity.

 This year's miatungusu ceremony was held on March 20 and 21. There were 12 takiiarʉ: Pavaasu, Paumala Papa'a, Pamahlatʉra, Paumala Aanʉ, Hlalangʉ'Ihlicu, Patama'iiarʉ, Pamavahlaʉvaʉ, Kupamasavaʉ, Paumala Ngahla,Pamaiatuhluhlu, Papacʉcʉpʉngʉ, and Sipakinivaratʉhlausahlʉ.

 Normally, takiiarʉ are kept by the chief of the Hla'alua tribe, known as the raahli. He seals takiiarʉ in an urn which he then buries in the soil behind his home. However, even after the urn is sealed and buried, takiiarʉ are still able to move around. Legend has it that takiiarʉ go back to hlasʉnga, and only return to the urn prior to the ceremony. Therefore, the duties of the raahli include confirming their return and conjuring them during the ceremony.

 The main purpose of miatungusu is to call the spirits of the ancestors and pray for the tribe's safety and sustainable development. The most important element in the ceremony is to soak takiiarʉ in wine and see its color change.

 Once it turns red, the ancestral spirits are drunk, symbolizing the complete success of the ceremony. Only vilanganʉ (the last subgroup to leave hlasʉnga) can publicly display takiiarʉl, and only they can hold takiiaru-throwing activities.

 Participation in miatungusu is restricted to members of the Hla'alua. Tribesmen who receive takiiarʉl are believed to enjoy a year of good fortune with the full blessings and expectations of their ancestors.

 

 

聖貝的呼喚 庇佑拉阿魯哇族

◎文/李明潓

◎照片提供/拉阿魯哇文教協進會

 

  相傳在古老神祕的東方日出之地(hlasunga),住著一群小矮人(kavurua)和拉阿魯哇族(Hla’alua)的祖先,他們相處非常融洽。後來拉阿魯哇族進行遷徙,準備離開hlasunga這個地方,小矮人很不捨,便在拉阿魯哇族人離開時,交給他們最珍貴的傳世寶物-聖貝takiiaru ,並交代拉阿魯哇人把聖貝奉為自己的神來祭拜。

  經過幾次不同路線遷移,拉阿魯哇族來到現在居住的地方──高雄市桃源區高中里、桃源里以及那瑪夏區瑪雅里,包含排剪(paiciana)、美瓏(vilanganu)、塔蠟袷(talicia)、雁爾(hlihlala)4個社,人口約5百人,2014年經臺灣官方認定成為原住民族第15族,與卡那卡那富族(Kanakanavu)同為高雄市獨有的族群。

 遷離hlasunga的拉阿魯哇族遵照小矮人的囑咐,把聖貝奉為庇佑族人的神靈,每年舉行的聖貝祭儀今年在3月20日至21日舉辦,聖貝共有12個,分別為「勇猛神」、「狩獵神」、「健康神」、「食物神」、「驅魔神」、「勤勞神」、「平安神」、「驅懶神」、「狀元神」、「守護神」、「聰明神」及「風雨神」。

  平常聖貝由拉阿魯哇族頭目(raahli)保管,頭目會將聖貝封存於甕中,再埋進自家後面的土裡,但神奇的是,不到祭典時間,即使被封存的聖貝仍然可以自行遊走,相傳聖貝們都回到hlasunga,只有在祭典前才會回到甕裡,所以頭目會在祭典前幾天先確認聖貝是否已經回來,等到祭典時再請出聖貝。

  平常聖貝由拉阿魯哇族頭目(raahli)保管,頭目會將聖貝封存於甕中,再埋進自家後面的土裡,但神奇的是,不到祭典時間,即使被封存的聖貝仍然可以自行遊走,相傳聖貝們都回到hlasunga,只有在祭典前才會回到甕裡,所以頭目會在祭典前幾天先確認聖貝是否已經回來,等到祭典時再請出聖貝。

  聖貝祭儀主要為召告祖靈,並祈求族群永續發展、族人平安,其中最重要的環節「聖貝薦酒」,是將聖貝浸在酒裡,看其顏色的變化,如果貝殼發紅就表示祖靈喝醉了,象徵祭典圓滿成功,祭儀中也會特別將聖貝公開亮相,但只有當初最後離開hlasunga的美壠社可以公開,也只有美瓏社得以舉辦拋貝殼的活動,僅限拉阿魯哇族人參加,並於活動結束後歸還聖貝,拾到聖貝的族人可因此得到一年好運,延續祖先對族人的祝福及期待。