Unique Spring Festival in Ha Giang Karst Plateau

10:24:19 AM | 26/1/2016

Ha Giang province is home to many ethnic groups, each of which has its own customs and practices that make up the diversity of common culture and unique cultural values.
Unlike the majority Kinh people, upland peoples in Ha Giang province welcome and celebrate the New Year in particular ways with distinctive festivals and rituals, with some of them recognised as intangible cultural heritages of the nation.
Going to Yen Minh district, Ha Giang province, you will see a space of colourful spring festivals. You will see vivid dresses of Mong girls and hear polysyllabic rhythms blown by hill-tribe mountainous boys to welcome Gau Tao Festival. Ha Mi De, chairman of Duong Thuong commune, Yen Minh district, said "Gau Tao is the most special ceremonial festival of the Mong people. In Mong language, Gau Tao is the festival that we play on hills and mountains to wish bless for the village.” On the third day of the lunar year, families without a son host the ceremony in three consecutive years. This is considered a major festival of Mong people as it last until the ninth day of the lunar year. A lot of traditional games and arts are played during the festival.
Forest Worship is a sacred sacrificial ceremony of Pu Peo ethnic group in Pho La commune (Dong Van), held on the sixth day of the sixth month of the lunar year. This rite is important to a tribe that used to live on forests and mountains. Protecting forests means protecting the source of water for the people. The ceremony is an opportunity to educate younger generations of protecting forests and surroundings.
Ancestor worship is a unique ritual the Lo Lo people in Lo Lo Chai village, Lung Cu commune (Dong Van), held in the seventh month of lunar calendar. The Lo Lo people wear ceremonial costumes made from forest grasses in the belief that ancestors will know their heart and bless their children, families, clan and villages prosperity and happiness.
Each ethnic group has its own customs and philosophy of life, altogether creating the cultural diversity of Ha Giang. Specifically, four districts on the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark have a lot of distinctive festivals recognised as national intangible cultural heritages. Uniquely, upland festivals may be held by a family or clan but the entire community joins to celebrate. In the third month of the lunar year, after spring festivals are tomb-sweeping days during which people pray for their families and villages peaceful, prosperous and happy. Each festival of ethnic group is organised in different time with different courses of action but it is commonly held in the spring to wish for happiness, health and wealth for families and for pumper crops.
Every year, Ha Giang province hosts an official event on the first day of the lunar calendar to welcome first guests to visit the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark to show the hospitality of Ha Giang people.
Thanh Nga