|A stall selling longevity banners in Trung Khanh town, Cao Bang province. (Photo: VOV)
Near the gate of Co Sau market in Trung Khanh district, there are several stalls selling banners. The banners are 0.8 meter in height and 2.5 meters in width and always involve a red or pink color, which represents good luck.
“I have sold banners for 25 years. Each one costs about 4 USD. The items sell best between October and February, when many families celebrate longevity. Grandchildren often hang banners to wish their grandparents and parents longevity to 100 years old,” said Mr. Ly Thanh Long of Trung Khanh town.
Tay and Nung people believe that passing the age of 49 is passing the first period of human life, and a longevity ceremony must be held. 10 days before the ceremony, the host invites relatives and neighbors to the event. Close relatives prepare banners written with wishes of longevity and names of children and grandchildren.
Today, the ceremony may be delayed until the age of 61 and the scale depends on the financial condition of the family. Invited guests also bring rice, liquor, money, clothes, scarves, and hats. The messages written on the banners depends on the honoree’s age. “Blessing,” “Longevity,” “Health,” and “Security” correspond to the milestone ages of 49, 61, 73, and 85, respectively. When someone reaches 85, they receive all of those.
“My father turns 61 this year. I follow the tradition of buying and hanging banners as a wish for my grandparents and parents,” said Ms. Lo Thi Thieu of Trung Khanh district.
Banners are also hung for a house-warming ceremony as a symbol of health, happiness, and prosperity.
“The banners usually carry messages of happiness and longevity. I sell many in the first months of the year when longevity ceremonies are usually held,” Mr. Dam Dan of Trung Khanh district.