Long Tong – a unique festival of ethnic people in Ha Giang

Chia sẻ

(VOVWORLD) - Coming to the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang in the early spring, visitors shouldn’t miss the opportunity to participate in and learn about many unique festivals, including the Long Tong (Going to the Field) Festival. This festival is imbued with spiritual meaning and the cultural and human values of the Tay ethnic minority.

Long Tong – a unique festival of ethnic people in Ha Giang - ảnh 1The Long Tong festival includes a ritual to show gratitude to the Heaven God, the genies, and ancestors. (Photo: Quang Cuong/ VNA)

The Long Tong Festival is held on the eighth day of the first lunar month in Quang Binh district, Ha Giang province. Also known as Lung Tung or Ooc Tong, the festival is a cultural and belief practice of the Tay.

The Long Tong Festival was traditionally held in the biggest field in the village. In recent years it often takes place in the communal yard in Chi hamlet, Xuan Giang commune.

Despite the cold weather, thousands of local people and visitors gather in the early morning in the hamlet to join the celebration. Nong Quang Chat, Vice Chairman of Xuan Giang commune’s People’s Committee, said the festival was an ancient agricultural ritual meant to signal the beginning of a new agricultural season. It is an opportunity for the Tay people to show their gratitude to the Heaven God, the genies, and their ancestors.

Chi hamlet is developing community tourism from the Long Tong Festival. During the festival, we pray for peace, favorable weather, and bumper crops,” said Chat.

The Long Tong Festival consists of two parts: a ritual and a celebration. In the ritual, people pray to the Heaven God and the genies for blessings. In the festival, they prepare trays of offerings.

Our offering tray includes sticky rice, chicken, fruits, and confections. We dress up in the traditional costumes of the Tay ethnic group. The ritual starts from the early morning, thus we prepare the offering one day earlier,” said Hoang Thi Thu from Chi hamlet.

Hoang Van Toan, another Chi resident, said, Xuan Giang commune is composed of 9 communes and hamlets. Each commune and hamlet prepares a tray of offerings. Then, we join together for a major ritual to pray for peace and a bumper crop.”

At the ritual, a shaman performs a prayer to the Heaven God for a New Year of good health and good luck. Then, locals burn incense to wish for a Happy New Year.

The shaman must be knowledgeable about local traditions and customs. He will choose the best time between 6 and 8 a.m. to hold the ritual,” said Chairman Chat.

Long Tong – a unique festival of ethnic people in Ha Giang - ảnh 2The plowing ritual at the Long Tong festival. (Photo: Quang Cuong/VNA) 

The New Year plowing festival follows the worshipping ritual. The person chosen to perform the plowing ritual is a prestigious man in the community who has a happy family and is most skillful in plowing.

Were happy to participate in the festival. It is exciting to meet during the early days of spring, exchange wishes for good health and a successful year, and join in folk games,” Hoang Van Toan, a local, said.

The Long Tong Festival also includes many folk games, such as tug-of-war, stick pushing, stilt walking, catching fish, and a plowing competition. These are interspersed with performances of traditional Then singing. The highlight of the festival is Nem Con (throwing a sacred ball through a ring) to pray for a successful New Year.