Van village festival to pray for water source

Sunday, 2018-05-27 14:44:47
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The festival to pray for a water source in Van village, Viet Yen district, Bac Giang province, takes place every four years.
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NDO – The festival is a typical feature of the wet rice culture, expressing the desire of agricultural inhabitants for good weather and a bountiful harvest.

It is said that, in the past, the Tam Giang saints, after defeating enemy troops, went back to the area along the Cau river of Van village, where they were harassed by the black demons there. The two sides engaged in battle, under the conditions that if the demons won, they must be greatly rewarded; But if they lost, they would submit to the holy saints. Therefore, the villagers opened the festival, during which there is a wrestling competition for a ball (also known as Khanh Ha festival day) on the date in celebration of the victory.

The festival takes place at the historical Chua Van Temple and the wrestling field is the yard in front of the temple where worshiping normally occurs. The 200 square metres yard is filled with liquid mud. At both ends of the yard, two holes 80cm deep and 50cm wide are dug for the goals.

The festival is held annually over three days, the 12nd, 13rd, 14th days of the forth lunar month.

The wrestlers walk while shouting their martial arts’ spirit name out to their audience.

The village sends women out, wearing the traditional costumes of the Kinh Bac women, carrying water from the Cau river to pour out onto the competition yard.

The strongest men of each team were chosen to wrestle for the right to have the ball first.

Each team consists of eight young men wearing only loincloths. The participants from both teams fight for a wooden ball, with a diameter of 40cm, and try to score by pushing the ball into the goal of their opponents.

The temple’s yard was fully packed with villagers and tourists. The entire audience was covered in mud but they were all happy. For them, the mud is a symbol of good luck.

DANG GIANG