Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Important aspects of Vietnam festivals

Vietnamese Festivals are the time to bring out the best. The best food, animals and talents must be found and then it is the best that is offered to the god.


For example, at the Lang pagoda festival, the rice cooking competition takes on elements of sacrament as the winning pot of rice is offered to the god. In the yearly buffalo fight at the Do Son festival it is the winning buffalo who has the honor of being sacrificed to the guardian spirit.

Another important aspect consistent to all Vietnamese festivals is the blending of opposites. The Vietnamese word for festival is composed of two words: le hoi meaning prayer-gathering. The le is the ritual or spiritual part of the event and consists of praying and sacrificing. The hoi means gathering and represents the secular aspect. Hoi is fun; an occasion for the whole community to come together. Festivals thus achieve the complementing of opposites, of the yin and yang, male and female forces of the universe. Festivals are both deeply sacred and great fun. While there are the ritual offerings of incense, sacred water, flowers, and fruits to the guardian spirit, there are also roulette games and cock fighting and wrestling matches. A game with sensual overtones (which harks back to the fertility purpose of the festival) is played by young couples. They try to catch an eel with their hands in a large jar of water containing several slippery eels. Games of swinging, and tug-of-war represent the movement of the seasons, the fertile coupling of opposites. The most popular activity at the Lim festival in Ha Bac is the back-and-forth, alternating male and female singing called quan ho. At festivals we also often witness the graceful sacred dancing of unmarried women dressed in white. Behind these young girls are several men dressed as women mimicking the girls. The men are garishly made up and have pillows stuffed inside their blouses. They dance while beating small traditional drums in a high camp take-off on the virgin dance. Through the symmetry of opposite pairs in a festival, a kind of balance is achieved.

Thu nhỏ
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