Oc Om Boc – Ngo junk race of the Khmer

(VOVWORLD) -The 3rd Oc Om Boc or Ngo junk race festival of the Khmer is taking place in Soc Trang province, drawing scores of teams from Mekong Delta provinces.
Oc Om Boc – Ngo junk race of the Khmer  - ảnh 1A Ngo junk race in Soc Trang province

The Oc Om Boc festival is organized by Khmer pagodas in the middle of the 10th lunar month. Some months before the festivals, monks select strong young men and train them as competitive sailors. 

At Tam Soc pagoda in Soc Trang province, young Buddhists gather in the afternoon for Ngo junk training. Danh Thieu, who has raced for 5 years, said that although he is very busy with farm work and household production, he eagerly joins the team because it’s his passion.

“I love to play sports. I try to finish my work early so I have time for training. It highlights the value of unity. I’m very happy and proud.”, Thieu said.

The Ngo junk team of Tam Soc pagoda has won many prizes in Soc Trang province and the Mekong Delta. They have even represented Vietnam at international competitions in Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, and China. Danh Can, the head of Tam Soc pagoda’s junk team, says they have trained 100 sailors who are determined to win.

“Our sailors have raised high their sense of unity and their strong will to win. Every day 60 to 70 people come to train,” Can added.

Venerable Lam Hiep, head of Tum Nup pagoda, says they have both male and female sailors. During the festival they will introduce a restored Ke Hau junk, which was built hundreds of years ago to carry Buddhist dignitaries and monks.

“Tum Nup pagoda is very proud to be part of the festival. Despite life’s difficulties Buddhists nurture a passion for sports and wish to preserve the traditional Ngo junk race of the Khmer,” Hiep noted.

In recent years, the Oc Om Boc Festival has become a major cultural event of other ethnic groups in the Mekong Delta.