Apart from marveling at the UNESCO-recognized Ha Long Bay, visitors to the northern province of Quang Ninh can experience the traditional crop ritual preformed by ethnic minority natives to pray for a bountiful season.
Accounting for more than 97 percent of the native population in Bang Ca Commune, Hoanh Bo District, The Dao Thanh Y ethnic minority takes great pride in their rich cultural heritage, including their long-standing traditional embroidery, duet singing, and sophisticated wedding and funeral rituals.
Among these time-honored rituals is the group’s crop prayer, a tradition that generally marks the onset of summertime and new crops.
The commune’s lineage head, also a credited shaman, typically hosts the ceremony.
Dao Thanh Y people flock to the lineage head’s home for the crop prayer, carrying chicken, glutinous rice, traditional cakes, and sour wine, the group’s delicacy.
The lineage head and his deputy then pray to the deities for auspicious weather, blessings, and bumper crops.
Offerings to Ban Vuong, the legendary ancestor of Dao Thanh Y people, are considered incomplete without a cluster of ripe rice stems. The event is also meant to help families bury the hatchet, bolster solidarity and cement close-knit bonds among members of the lineage.
Most residents participate in the ritual at their own will and strictly abide by its rules.
Below are a series of photos by Hoang Ngoc Thach featuring the festival.
These photos were one of the entries to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper's year-long competition themed “Vietnam – Country – People" concluding in October last year.
A Dao Thanh Y girl dons traditional attire for the ritual.
Young participants enjoy themselves by playing folk games.
People gather at the lineage elder’s home to prepare offerings.
Selected men hold a chicken during the ritual.
Dao Thanh Y women serve sour wine, their ethnic group’s delicacy, to visitors.