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Spring- season of festivities in Vietnam (March 09, 2005)

Co Loa festival.
A village festival is often held at the communal house, which is dedicated to the village genie. The village genie could be the village founder, those who rendered great services to the nation or a legendary figure. The village festival consists of ritual and festive activities. Ritual celebrations express the villagers' honour and respect for their ancestors while the merry and bustling ambience of festive activities attract all sections of the local community. The Co Loa village Festival is a good example of this. The festival, held on the 6th day of the first Lunar month, depicts the legend of King An Duong Vuong with his magic cross-bow and the tragic love affair of his daughter. Following the sacred ritual, which has King An Duong Vuong teaching the people how to grow wet rice and build citadels and fortresses to resist foreign invaders, come the art performances and traditional games such as chess, swinging, cock fighting and wrestling.

The Co Loa Festival gives young people the opportunity to learn about their ancestors' struggles for national defense.

"We go to the Co Loa Festival every year and feel very proud of our nation's traditions. The Festival makes us learn more about our history," said Nguyen Phuong Thao, a visitor.

Each village festival has its own traditional characteristics. For example, during the Que Vo festival in the northern province of Bac Ninh, visitors have to jostle their way and bump against each other and nobody feels disappointed or angry even when falling into the pond. They actually consider it a sign of good luck for the New Year.

Meanwhile, the district of Bao Thang in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai is well-known for its Long Tong or "going to the field". Young and skilful farmers go out into the field and cut the first furrow with the plough, hoping for a bumper crop.

Whatever activities are held in the village festival, they all serve to bring people back to their roots. A local resident from the village of Phu Khe in the central province of Thua Thien Hue, said, "The village festival is of great significance for the preservation and upholding of our progenitors' traditions. It is also held to wish for peace, prosperity and good health."

According to researchers, nearly 500 traditional festivals in Vietnam are held each year. Such celebrations aim to connect the past to the present and remind young generations of their ancestors’ worthy contributions to communal development.

Reprinted from VOV News


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