|Playing yen badminton is a favorite game of the Mong. (photo: VOV)
Yen badminton originated from a story about a boy from the Heaven. During a trip to the earth, he fell in love with a girl. They often played yen badminton together.
The players toss the yen shuttlecock and hit it with wood rackets back and forth. This game is purely an exercise. There is no competition, no rules, and no winner, and no loser. Playing yen badminton is a popular game among ethnic people, particularly the Mong in Quan Ba district, Ha Giang province.
Vang Ngoc Xuan of Thanh Van commune said: “The Mong in Ha Giang province have many folk games, such as spinning top, pushing sticks, and tug-of-war. The favorite game is yen badminton. Anyone can play it.”
The rackets, made of pine wood, are light but sturdy. The racket hitting the shuttlecock makes a joyful sound. Playing yen badminton improves strength, speed, and coordination.
|People play yen badminton at the Mong Culture Festival. (photo: VOV)
Vuong Thi Sim of Thanh Van commune said that before the festivals and the New Year celebration, she and her husband prepare new clothes, new rackets, and new shuttlecocks and then bring them to the festival.
Sim shared her tips for making rackets and shuttlecocks. “To make the yen shuttlecock fly high and spin beautifully, we glue 5 to 7 chicken feathers on a piece of bamboo tube. We use a wooden board 35 to 40cm long and 25 to 30cm wide to shape a racket with a handle attacked to a flat circular disc.”
In a large yard, young and old people play yen badminton as a way to make friends and enhance community bonds. If a boy and a girl can hit the yen shuttlecock for more than 10 minutes without dropping it on the ground, they are predestined for each other. They may become husband and wife.
Vuong Thi Sim said: “Old and young people can play yen badminton. This game brings people closer together during the spring festivals.”