Several more traditional fests are running and drawing masses, including foreigners, in northern and central provinces, proving that though the Tet holiday is over, spring festivities remain pervasive.
Among them is the “Da cau cuop phet” fest, which kicked off on Feb 6 in Vinh Phuc province’s Lap Thach district.
Every year, the fest draws several thousand people from neighboring provinces, who come to relish the festive atmosphere and pray for blessings for the lunar new year.
According to the organizer, the fest is held to commemorate four army generals, who are credited with defeating rebels and reestablishing peace in the old times.
The brown “phet” ball is made from precious wood and measures some 35cm in diameter. It’s traditionally believed that those who manage to touch the ball will have all their wishes come true in the new year.
However, touching the ball is quite a daunting challenge, as one has to elbow one another and scramble hard for it amidst huge crowds. This sometimes causes chaos and fights among fest goers.
On the same day, the Au Co Temple fest also kicked off in Phu Tho province’s Ha Hoa district. The fest also commences several others in the province.
The fest begins with worshipping rituals and palanquin processions before a local leader reads out a speech to pay tribute to Au Co, the Vietnamese people’s legendary ancestor, and pray for her blessings.
In the main part of the fest, 12 young women dressed in sparkling traditional costumes perform a ritual to pay homage to the goddess. The solemn ritual is followed by a host of exciting traditional music performances and folk games.
In the meantime, on Feb 5, thousands of locals and tourists flocked to Thanh Hoa province’s Dong Son district, where the traditional Chuong market session is held only once during the year.
Apart from making purchases, usually nominally, to pray for good luck, fest goers merrily threw ripe tomatoes at one another for even more blessings. Youths also chased one another just for fun.
As the market session closed in the afternoon, everyone left for home with red tomato stains on their clothes and beaming smiles on their faces.
Several traditional fests are also running in central provinces.
On Feb 6, thousands of people swarmed in Phu Yen province’s Tuy An district to watch the O Loan lagoon traditional boat races, which is one of the significant fests for fishermen in the area.
The fest attracts some 100 male and female athletes who compete in races of dragon boats and fishing boats.
With the newly-built Long Phu bridge crossing the lagoon, locals and tourists can comfortably watch and cheer for their favorite boat racers.
On the same day, a fest was held at Tra Que vegetables village in Quang Nam province’s Hoi An City, with hopes for a new year full of bumper crops. This is a significant fest held every year by farmers in the village, which is known for producing clean, safe veggies.
The worshipping ritual was performed right on a vegetable field, followed by competitions of traditional crafts and cuisine displays.
The fest attracted a large number of foreign tourists who are holidaying at the UNESCO-recognized Hoi An ancient town.