Festivals brings color to the Year of the Ox

The beginning of the Year of the Ox welcomed various cultural festivals, which remind people the spiritual values and history. 
Drummers perform their music to inspire the game ‘choi trau’ (buffalo fighting) in the festival Tich Dien Doi Son (Photo: VOV News)
The first festival of the year was ‘Tich Dien Doi Son’ at the Duy Tien district, the northern province of Ha Nam from January 31 to February 1, sixth to seventh day of the first lunar month. The festival also welcomed Vice-President Nguyen Thi Doan, who gave the opening speech.
The festival originated in the Tran dynasty in 987CE. During Tet, King Le Dai Hanh decided to plough at Doi Son commune of Duy Tien district. It was believed while ploughing, King found a vase of gold and a vase of silver. Following kings followed his lead and the activity became a tradition for the king in early Spring every year. The name ‘Tich Dien Doi Son’ is combined by ‘Tich Dien’ (entering the paddle field) and ‘Doi Son’ (the place where King Le Dai Hanh ploughed)
Ethnic minorities in northern villages such as Son La, Lai Chau, Yen Bai, Dien Bien, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, Cao Bang, and Bac Kan, enjoyed participating in traditional games like climbing pillars, hide-and-seek, see-saw, as well as dancing and singing. The festival also presented some traditional religious culture like bathing Buddha, water procession, and moving the base of incenses lighted by Kings Le from the King Le Dai Hanh temple to Doi pagoda.

The winner, team no.2 of Duyen Yet hamlet finishes the tasks within one minute 50 seconds. (Photo: VOV News)
On the early morning of the seventh day the New Year brought another festival, ‘Chay Lon’ ('slaughter the pig quickly'), in the hamlet of Duyen Yet, Phu Xuyen District, Ha Noi.
The festival originated in the time of the Hung Kings thousands of years ago. One day, General Cao Son Dai Vuong and his soldiers came through the hamlet of Dien, old name of Duyen Yet, during whilst they were chasing the enemy. The old men of the village asked the General to slaughter a pig to treat his soldiers. The General accepted the proposal but required the villagers slaughter the pig and prepare the food quickly as the soldiers did not have much time to stay.
This year, the festival gathered three teams of 21 people. Their tasks were to slaughter the pig, display the pork in nine dishes and offer the dishes to the ancestors. All these tasks must be completed within 2-3 minutes.

An old man of Cam Pho village brings the ‘Cu’ to pray for wealth and health (Photo: Tuoi Tre Newspaper)
On the evening of the same day, Cam Pho Village in Gio Linh district of the north central coast province of Quang Tri opened their annual ‘Cu’ festival. The festival has been around since the foundation of the village. The spirit of this festival is to pray for a year of peace, health and wealth.
The highlight of the festival is the game ‘Cuop Cu’. The aim of this game is for two teams compete for three 'Cu' (a ball made of grilled foot of banana tree). Once holding any ball, the player should throw the ball into the net hanging on a 4.3 meter pillar on their side the pitch.
The festival this year lasted from noon to 3pm with thousands of guests.

Another cultural activity in early spring is ‘Cau Bong’ (‘Pray for the flowers to be in bloom’) Festival at Tra Que village, Hoi An City. Every family worships the gods both at the temple of the village and at their houses. The offerings are fresh fruits, flowers, a whole boiled rooster (or a piece of boiled pork) and a dish of steamed glutinous rice dyed in red made from fruit.
All the people wish for good crops and good weather.
For those who know and believe in the legend of Mother Au Co, who married Father Lac Long Quan, there was the reappearance of the legend at ‘Mother Au Co’s Temple Festival’ on Sunday. Legend has it that she gave birth to 100 children who became the first Vietnamese.
According to the legend, the seventh day new year was the day that Mother Au Co met and felt in love with Father Lac Long Quan.
At 8.30pm, the organizers had a male group carry the palanquin (a sedan type chair) of Hung Tran Quy Minh – patron deity of the village, to the temple of Mother Au Co. The trip was accompanied by many participants with various colorful flags.

Pham Xuan Khai, chairman of the Ha Hoa District’s People Committee, read the funeral oration to the audiences to respect the great merits of Mother Au Co. This oration was also used to pray for a good crop and peace throughout the country.

Vieng market at the Trung Thanh Commune, Vu Ban district (Photo: SGGP)
Meanwhile, from evening of the seventh day of the first lunar year to early morning of the next day, the Vieng Market visited four districts in the northern province of Nam Dinh: My Loc, Nam Truc, Nghia Hung and Vu Ban.

Thousands of people came from the Red River Delta and northern provinces of Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa and  north central coast province of Nghe An to visit the markets and burn incense to pray for a properous year.

The Vu Ban district’s People Committee formed a steering committee of 16 members and set up four parking lots at Kim Thai village, with a capacity of 1,000 bikes.

Related article:
Festivals held nationwide

By Staff Writers – Translated by Truong Son

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