The traditional Ok Om Bok (moon worship) festival of the Khmer ethnic group opened in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh on Sunday night.
The event, scheduled to last through October 31, is offering a wide range of activities including a cultural and tourism week, a festival featuring the southern region of Vietnam’s delicacies, an exhibition on the Mekong Delta’s tourism, an agricultural product fair, a Khmer costume contest, along with traditional sports activities.
In addition to helping with the preservation and promotion of Khmer people’s culture, the festival is an occasion to introduce local people and tourism potential to visitors, enhance Tra Vinh Province’s tourism links with other localities, and attract investment in local tourism.
The Ok Om Bok is one of the three main fests, along with Sene Dolta to pay homage to their ancestors and Chol Chnam Thmay (New Year), that Khmer people celebrate every year.
It often takes place around the 15th day, or the full-moon period, of the tenth lunar month, after the harvest season.
Khmer people believe the moon is a god who controls the weather and crops.
The worship aims to thank the moon for granting them good weather and bumper harvests, and to pray for better crops in the following year.
The Ok Om Bok festival in Tra Vinh was recognized as national intangible cultural heritage in 2014.
Tra Vinh is home to nearly 330,000 Khmer people who account for 31 percent of the province's population, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
Apart from Tra Vinh, Khmer people in other southern Vietnamese localities also celebrate Ok Om Bok, notably in the Mekong Delta provinces of Soc Trang and Kien Giang, which are famous for their boat racing during the festival with hundreds of thousands of spectators each year.