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Ha Giang Festivals

Fire Dancing Festival
Over 5,000 members of the Pa Then ethnic group live in the districts of Bac Quang and Chiem Hoa. They have retained many ancient festivals and customs, including the exciting fire dancing ritual.
To kick off the festivities, a big fire is kindled and the sorcerer recites a liturgy for about an hour. When the sorcerer beats the guitar, each youth turns to sit facing him. After that, the youths jump into the fire without fear or sensation. They dance in the fire for three to four minutes. Fire dancing is only for men. Through this ritual, the tribe members gain the admiration of their fellows.

ha giang festivals


Praying for Rain Festival
In the third lunar month (around March), when the climate is dry and trees lack water, members of the Lo Lo tribe pray for rain to pour onto the fields of Meo Vac. The festival is only organized when the weather is harsh or drought appears. Previously, rich people in villages used to pay for the cost of the festival, but nowadays each villager contributes an item to the festival such as a chicken, a dog or a kilogram of rice. These items are taken to the house of a sorcerer or village chief so he can organize a ceremony to ask the ancestral sorcerers for aid.
To begin, the sorcerer burns incense at the family ancestor’s altar and then places a cup of water and bamboo paper in a corner of the house. He covers the water cup with the bamboo paper; if the water in the cup is not absorbed or poured out of the cup, the prayers will be successful. He then burns the paper to conclude the ritual.
The Lo Lo ethnic people believe that three to nine days after the festival, it will rain. After a ritual sacrifice of dogs and chickens, villagers drink alcohol, eat the meat and dance in traditional woven costumes.


Forest Festival
The Pu Peo hold this festival on the 6th day of the 6th month according to the lunar calendar. The idea behind it is to protect the forests and pray for their well-being. There is a jubilant atmosphere during the festival with sports matches and folk singing.
During the ritual, the sorcerer faces a big tree and bows to the ground in order to pray to the local nature spirits to protect the village and preserve the forest. An altar is constructed of green bamboo and topped with squares of glutinous rice pounded into cakes and sliced carefully. On each piece of rice is a small boiled egg. At the bottom of the altar, there are two chickens which are still alive, a bottle of alcohol and a bowl and a female goat. For several hours, the sorcerer prays at the altar, waving a fresh bamboo or a dried gourd.
The rite represents the life cycle. During the first stage, the chickens and goat are still alive. In the second stage, their throats are cut and in the third stage, the meat is divided among the village families.

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