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Rice Rituals of Ifugao

Traditionally, the culture of the Ifugaos has been intimately connected with the cultivation of rice. Twelve rice rituals, performed by the native mumbaki, define the Ifugao agrarian calendar. These rituals, conducted throughout the rice growing cycle, helped maintain the balance the Ifugaos had with their environment and help ensure a bountiful harvest. (Dulawan 1982)

The agriculture year starts in December with the 'lukya', which means “opening”, and it marks the start of the planting season (tung-od) and the taking of the rice from the granary.

The 'hipngat' is performed after the cleaning of the terraces

The 'panal' (locah or lo-ah) is performed as the seeds are sown in the seedbed.

The 'bolnat' ceremony occurs as the seedlings are transplanted to the terraces. Blessings are asked for productive and healthy plants.

After the planting season is completed, the 'kulpi' (ulpi) marks thanksgiving for a successful planting. The ceremony might take place in January or February.
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The 'hagophop' ritual occurs during the growing season, while farmers weed the terraces.

The mumbaki prays for the protection of the plants from pests and diseases.

The 'bodad' is recited while the terrace walls are being cleaned and cleared; asking for the rice plants to bear abundant grains.

The 'paad' is conducted as the rice grains mature; making promises to the gods as the rice grains are maturing.

The 'ngilin' ceremony signals the eve of the harvest season.

During the 'ani', the harvest-day ritual recalls the story of how the sacred rice, ipugo or butnol, came from the sky world and was first planted in the terraces.

The 'upin' the post-harvest ritual, asks for blessing on the harvested rice and the village with prosperity, health and peace for all.

The rice cycle ends with the 'kahiw' rite of thanksgiving and the replenishment of the granaries.

References:
Dulawan M. 1982. Oral literature of the Tuwali Ifugao in Kiangan. Ifugao

David Leonides T. Yap. 2005. Conservation and Progress: Bridging the Gap, the Case of the Ifugao Rice Terraces. (The University of the Philippines)

 

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