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Mountain horse racing a highlight at Hanoi festival

Monday, February 17, 2014, 14:15 GMT+7
Mountain horse racing a highlight at Hanoi festival
The Bac Ha racing horses competing in full steam at the Hanoi fest.

The Bac Ha horse race, part of the Hanoi event featuring ethnic minority cultural activities that closed on Feb 15, drew thousands of spectators.

The two-day festival, “Spring hues nationwide,” was held at the Vietnam Peoples Culture Tourism Village in Son Tay district and featured some 16 racing horses brought from Lao Cai province’s Bac Ha district.

The first prize went to horse number 16, which has won the race for the past three years.

The time-honored tradition of springtime horse racing, which is practiced by the Mong ethnic minority in some northern mountainous provinces, is indicative of the Mong men’s intrepid spirit and sportsmanship, as they only wear a safety helmet and don’t use saddles.

The fest, held for the first time in Hanoi, gathered patriarchs, senior artisans, and exemplary youths from nine provinces including Ha Giang, Quang Ninh, Quang Nam, Binh Thuan, Kon Tum, and Lam Dong.

Other springtime traditional customs and folk games such as fire hopping, husband snatching, a rain ritual, and Central Highlands gong performances were also recreated during the fest.

The event is annually put on by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism to preserve and promote the 53 Vietnamese ethnic communities’ cultural identities.

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