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The Kanakanavu's Kaisisi Cakuran Ceremony

The Kanakanavu's Kaisisi Cakuran Ceremony

◎Written by Tan Sin-yu

◎English translation by Lin Yu-ciao

 

 

 Kaisisi Cakʉran is a ceremony unique to the Kanakanavu people, an Austronesian tribe in Kaohsiung's Namasia District. This year, the tribe applied for Kaisisi Cakʉran to be officially recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of Taiwan's indigenous people.

 Tribal elders are familiar with the origins of Kaisisi Cakʉran, which is a legend full of imagination and meaning. Long ago, there was a teenager named Namasia who did not like to go hunting. He preferred to go down to the river. One day, the weather was good, but the river water was muddy. Wondering why this might be, Namasia went upstream and found a giant eel blocking the river at its source.

 The teenager returned to his tribe to warn them. No one was able to remove the giant eel, but then a wild boar volunteered to help the tribe kill the eel. This helped restore the flow of the river. To express their gratitude to the wild boar, members of the tribe used some of the corn and sugar cane they had grown to feed it. They also renamed the river “Namasia” to commemorate the youth.

 However, Kanakanavu men continued to encounter many bad things in the river. The tribe's three shamans dreamed that the river god was furious, because members of the tribe were taking fish and shrimps from the waterway without expressing any gratitude. Kaisisi Cakʉran evolved as a way for the tribe to pray to their gods for blessings and protection.

 Kaisisi Cakʉran is usually held before the “Plum Rains” season in late spring, which is also the spawning season of fish and shrimps. During this period, the Kanakanavu cease fishing and concentrate on preparing what is needed for the ceremony. They set out for the riverside before dawn, and they must observe various taboos during the ritual. For example, they must not sneeze, as sneezing before heading to the river bodes ill for the tribe's members.

 For the ceremony, the tribe prepares millet wine, uncooked white rice, sweet potatoes, and fishing equipment such as nets and rods. Pork, peppers, and sour foods must not be used, because they can pollute the river. Only Kanakanavu men can attend the ceremony beside the river. Each participant wears a red traditional costume with rain gear made of Taiwan sugar palms on their backs, to conceal him from evil influences.

 The officiant who leads the ritual uses the Kanakanavu language to reverently make a report to the river god regarding fishing equipment and fishing territories. He thanks the river's creatures for feeding the tribe, and leads prayers beseeching the river god to keep members of the tribe safe in the stream and to prevent accidents such as rockfalls and landslides. Later, the rice and sweet potatoes are sprinkled in the river and the clumps of reeds to feed the aquatic life. It is hoped that the fish and shrimps thrive and are not afraid of humans. According to Kanakanavu tradition, only larger fish should be caught; smaller fish should be released back into the river.

 Kanakanavu people hope that all forms of life will flourish, that the tribe can protect the river, and that the gods will continue to protect the tribe and ensure an abundance of fish. Kaisisi Cakʉran is thus a timeless demonstration of the tribe's respect for their gods, and an expression of their reverence for nature and their intention to protect the environment through sustainable ecological management.

 

 

 

卡那卡那富族的河祭

◎文/譚欣瑜

◎照片提供/臺灣卡那卡那富族發展協會、高雄市政府原住民事務委員會

 

  河祭(Kaisisi Cakʉran)是卡那卡那富族特有的祭典,今年更申請登錄為原住民族無形文化資產。族內耆老述說河祭的由來,充滿原住民族的想像寓意;很久以前有一名叫那瑪夏的未成年青年,不愛打獵卻喜歡下河,有天發現天氣很好,但河水卻混濁;好奇之餘遠溯至上游,發現有隻巨型鰻魚在源頭擋住河水,於是青年回到部落示警,在大家束手無策的情況下,山豬自告奮勇協助族人殺死鰻魚,使部落解決了河水枯竭的問題。族人為感謝山豬協助,將所種植的玉米、甘蔗等拿來餵養小山豬,並將河命名為「那瑪夏」以感念示警的青年。而後族人在河中發生了許多不好的事,族中3位巫師同時夢見河神生氣,探究後發現是因為族人在河中補魚抓蝦,卻沒有表達感恩而觸怒河神,因此有了河祭來祈求神靈保佑。

  河祭的時間多訂在梅雨季前,春夏之際舉行,這期間同時也是魚蝦的產卵季,卡那卡那富族人會先停止捕撈,並準備祭祀用品,天未亮即出發至河邊。祭儀期間有多禁忌,例如不能打噴嚏,相傳如果出發前打噴嚏會發生不好的事。

  祭典會準備小米酒、白米(生米)、地瓜,以及捕魚工具如魚網、釣竿等,而豬肉、辣椒及酸的物品則因會污染水源而禁止攜入。祭典儀式僅族內男士可以下河參加,大家穿著紅色傳統服飾,背上則是山棕葉的雨具,有隱蔽及拒絕邪惡干擾的意思。

  主祭者虔誠地以族語向河神稟報使用的捕魚工具及範圍,並感謝河中生物餵養族人,祈求河神庇佑族人安全地在溪流活動,不要有亂石掉落、崩塌等意外;之後將咀嚼過的米及地瓜灑向河中及蘆葦草束內,用來餵食水中生物,希望魚蝦等能好好成長且不懼怕人類;卡那卡那富族傳統只捕抓大魚,小魚則放回河中繼續生長。

  卡那卡那富族的河祭主要是透過儀式性的稟報,希望生物興旺,族人能好好保護河川,期盼神靈持續保佑族人平安及漁獲豐收,發展出獨特的敬天地兼具生生不息概念的祭典。其中的細節涵蓋卡那卡那富族對於環境保護、生態永續經營及對大自然崇敬的心意。