Glimpse of Vien Son harvest festival in Yen Bai province
A dance performed at the harvest festival in Vien Son (Photo: VNA)
As an important occasion for the Dao Do (red Dao) ethnic community in
the northern province of Yen Bai, the harvest festival has been
preserved for hundreds of years.
The festival, found in Vien Son commune, Van Yen district, begins with a
traditional ritual prayer carried out in families blessed with the best
harvest in the community. Locals pray for another bumper crop of rice
Each of the families selects a member to represent them at the prayer.
Offerings to mountain, forest and skydeities include sugarcane, which
symbolisesthe biggest rice plant in the hamlet, early-ripened rice
branches and dishes of steamed sticky rice. All offerings are homemade
to show respect to the gods.
Men are in charge of performing rituals at the ceremony, while women prepare offerings and cook dishes.
The ceremony takes place in two places inside the house of the selected
Dao Do family: in front of the main door and in the back of the house
that often borders a mountain.
On the day, a local magician chosen to officiate the prayer is the host
family’s first guest. When the right moment comes, he reads prayers for
the wealth, health and happiness for the community. Against the backdrop
of the magician praying, four young men in formal traditional costumes
walk toward the house from different directions.
As the prayer ends, it is time for locals to immerse themselves in folk
games, singing and dancing. Popular games are tug of war, ‘day gay’
(stick fight - a game where two people holding one long stick stands
inside a circle. The one remaining inside the circle in the end wins)
and nem con (throwing a ball through a ringhigh above the ground). Dao
Do people think that the first person who has his/her ball through the
ring will have a year full of luck.
Dang Nho Vuong, a resident in Vien Son, said the harvest festival
reflects not only the Dao Do people’s aspirations for happinessbut
wealthbut also their gratefulness to ancestors.
As a unique community activity that encourages farmers to work harder in
the following season, the festival receives great support from local
Ban Phuc Hin, Chairman of theVien Son communal People’s Committee, said
that the commune has worked tosustain and promote the harvest festival
for many years in the hope that the next generation will continue to