Bunong Story Telling: Raloung Jar (1)

IMG_5789 (for wordpress)My name is Chrem Chrun; I am a 51-year-old Bunong man. I live in a village called Pou Rapet, which is located in Krang Tehh commune, Pichreada district in the province of Mondulkiri.

Raloung jar has existed for a very long time – since the time of the ancestors. I don’t know where it came from or how it was produced or its meaning. In the previous time, bronze was used on the inside of the jar and a hole was drilled in the bottom. It is used because it is a very strong, powerful jar and it contains a spirit inside, which will watch over the villagers in one’s village. Young children find it impossible to sleep near this jar; for fear that the jar will ‘suck’ out the spirits of those children. This is due to the sensitive nature of the jar. Those children will then become sick or possibly die.

For people who have never used this jar, they must first pray and ask for good luck and happiness before they start using it. That’s why people put rice husks around its rim and use chicken egg to pray and ask for happiness before they use it for their ceremony. If not, water will escape from that jar and they won’t be able to drink that wine.

Raloung jar is accompanied with buffalo or pig, but not with chicken. Pig can be either used with this jar or with a big black jar; however buffalo is exclusively used with a Raloung jar. It is rule from our ancestors – It would be considered incorrect practice if we use a buffalo for a ceremony without accompany it with a Raloung jar.


Raloung Jar

This jar is very expensive. Its price is up to 3 teenager buffalos or 1 adult buffalo; or it is equal to 3 thousand Riel in the previous time and equal to 3-4 million Riel in the present day. Only the rich have this jar. Poor people have to borrow it for organizing their ceremony.

This jar is only used in specific events/ceremonies such as weddings, asking for good health, happiness and cures, and elephant or rice ceremonies. For instance, if a wife or a child in a family has become sick, the husband will pray and offer to sacrifice a buffalo and a Raloong of wine if his wife or child were to recover.

This jar seems has a power but I cannot say what this power is.


Note: this jar is not used to distil alcohol like the other jars but it is left empty (no wine inside like the other types of jars) because there are only a few families in a village they have this jar so that they can be sure that this jar will be available when the people in the village need it. It is going to be used for transferring the wine from other jar/s when it is required to be used in ceremonies.

Click here to see our Eng-Khmer story telling poster


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