Festivals in Lai Chau

(VOVWORLD) - Lai Chau province is home to more than 20 ethnic minority groups with diverse cultures.  Each group has its own cultural event making Lai Chau a great destination for festival goers.
 Festivals in Lai Chau - ảnh 1Bauhinia flowers

 Ban flower festival takes place on the 13th of the second lunar month when Bauhinia flowers are in full bloom. The event is associated with a story about two young lovers who were unable to get married. After her death, the girl turned into white Bauhinia. The festival draws both locals and tourists. Thanh Huong is a tourist from Hanoi: “I have visited Lai Chau province twice on the occasion of the Bauhinia flower festival. I participated in cultural activities and folk games, and danced with local people. I love their folk dancing and songs.”

Spring is the season of festivals in Lai Chau. Tu Ti festival, held on the second day of the second lunar month, originated from a ritual of the Giay to pray for favorable weather, bumper crops, wealth, and happiness. Previously, only sorcerers and outstanding people were allowed to participate in the ritual. Nowadays, more festive activities like folk games and performance of traditional craft are added to the festival.

 Festivals in Lai Chau - ảnh 2 Tu Li is one of the main festivals of Lai Chau people

Lo Thi Leo, a Lai Chau local, said: “The Giay people have one festival a year, the Tu Ti festival, in which we worship trees in our village. We dance and feel very happy. It’s a long-awaited festival.” The Tu Ti festival wraps up with a feast involving all villagers, reflecting the friendship and unity of the locals. Dao Manh Son is Vice Chairman of San Thang Communal People’s Committee: “At the Tu Ti festival, the locals pray for favourable weather, bumper crops, health, and happiness. This year, we organized singing performances and sports competitions including Con or Cloth ball throwing, stick pushing, grinding paste sticky rice cakes, and cutting rice noodles.”

After harvesting, the Lu ethnic group in Lai Chau organizes the “new rice worshiping ceremony” which is of great spiritual and cultural significance for them. Tao Thi Da in Hon hamlet, Tam Duong district, said: “The new rice worshiping ceremony of the Lu appeared long ago. After harvesting, we organize a ceremony to pay gratitude to their ancestors and to pray for health, peace, favorable weather, and good harvest.”

 Festivals in Lai Chau - ảnh 3 Lai Chau people host new rice ceremony

The Lu hosts the ceremony at home. The house owner puts offerings on the altar and proceeds the worship ritual. After that, he invites his relatives and neighbors to share the feast. Then, he makes a wood plank, known as “ta leo”, places leaves on it, and hangs it in the front door. For 3 days, the family does not buy, borrow, or give anything, and do not leave the house, or receive any guests. 70-year-old Tao Van Pau, a Hon villager, said: “In all rituals of the Lu including the “new rice ceremony”, we often hang “ta leo” to wipe out evils and prevent bad lucks and to pray for health and luck to everybody.”

Life is changing drastically in this province. But the Lu in Lai Chau still retain their traditional festivals.