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Từ điển Việt Anh (Vietnamese English Dictionary)
Chăm



dân tộc Chăm
With about 100,000 inhabitants, Chăm (Chàm, Chiêm, Hời) ethnic group originates from Ancient Chăm Pa Kingdom. They live mainly in Ninh Thuận, Bình Thuận, Bình Định, Phú Yên. Belonging to Mã Lai-Đa Đảo linguistic group, the Chăm people remains influenced by matriarchy and Indian culture. The ancient Chăm writing is Sanskrit-based. Hinduism and Mohammedanism are their principal religions
THE UNIQUE CHĂM CULTURE: The Chăm culture is a unique tradition, contributing much to the diversity and richness of the Vietnamese multi-ethnic culture. From the first century AD, the Chăm people received deep influences from Indian culture. In the 7th century AD, Chăm Pa was already a kingdom with a capital in Trà Kiệu (now Quảng Nam) with a temple dedicated to the Indian Valmiki and his famous epic, the Ramayana By the middle of the 8th century AD, their capital was shifted to Nha Trang and five years later to Đông Dương, 15 km away from Trà Kiệu in the southeast.
The Chăm are one of the 53 ethnic groups in Vietnam and comprise various subgroups. There are around 98,000 Chăm people, including the Chăm Hroi in Bình Định, Phú Yên and those living in Ninh Thuận, Bình Thuận and other parts of southern Vietnam Inhabiting a large area, the Chăm also have many diversified customs and social practices. While most of the Chăm in Saigon, AnGiang and Tây Ninh, and the Chăm from Cambodia follow Islam, those living in Bình Thuận, Ninh Thuận provinces follow Brahmanism. Islam is modified to suit the people here and is called 'Baní. The Chăm language is of the Malayo-Polynesian family and is spoken by about 250,000 people (G Moussay, Dictionaire Cham-Vietnamien-Francais, published by Phan Rang Culture Centre 1971). However, it does not necessarily follow that the Chăm in different regions can fully understand each other. It is natural that the Chăm borrow local words and expressions at the place they reside, mainly from Khơ Me and Vietnamese. In terms of their script, only the Cham Dong (in Bình Thuận, Ninh Thuận provinces) have preserved their original script. The Chăm script is now being taught at elementary school to help maintain this unique linguistic tradition. The Chăm also utilised the Akhar Thrah scripts from Nam An which has been incorporated into present-day Chăm scripts. Ancient texts written on papyrus or paper used both of these scripts and include various epics and love stories such as the Devamuno Inra Patra, Ummurup, Cambini, Bini-Cam, Sah Pakei, Patauw Kamai, Patauw adat Likei etc. This ancient literature gives a clear picture of the life and society of the Chăm through history. Together with academic literature, the Chăm also have very rich popular literature which comprises hundreds of stories, sayings, idioms, puzzles, songs etc., which make up a precious literary tradition. Chăm people have songs for fishing using the 'vai chai' rhythm (pwoc jah), betrothals (danh dom da ra), milling rice (danh rasung chai) etc. These rhythms are also sung during festivities with dances which have become a real attraction to spectators. Surely the greatest and most unique contribution from the Chăm culture is their architecture and carvings Historical stupa compounds in Mỹ Sơn (Quảng Nam-Đà Nẵng), Tháp Bà (Nha Trang), Tháp Chàm (Ninh Thuận) and various Tara statues in Đông Dương, and Apsaras in Trà Kiệu have all had their position confirmed in the Southeast Asian sculptural tradition. Though most of these works were created for religious purposes and stemmed from Brahmin spiritualism, they became popularised and part of the Chăm national culture. As such, the Indian-inspired Vishnus, and Shivas went through considerable transformations and became more human when recreated by Chăm artisans.=In the present day, the Chăm people have adjusted their lives to local conditions. People in Tây Ninh mostly work in agriculture, fishing and commerce while those who live near Saigon have developed an urban lifestyle. The majority, however, still maintain traditional professions like cultivation, husbandry, weaving and ceramic production. Chăm handicrafts are now exported to various countries where they are highly appreciated due to their unique style and high quality workmanship


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