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This year, Son Tra Flower Festival is held in Ngoc Chien commune, Son La province. Son tra, or tao meo, is a tree that grows in northwestern Vietnam.
During the festival, local people play several folk games. The most popular game is Tu Lu, a traditional version of spinning tops, which involves 16 teams from Son La and Yen Bai province.
Spinning tops are part of the childhood of many Mong men who learn to play the game with friends when they are just 5 or 6.
The tops are usually made of ironwood for durability.
The wood is whittled to a sharp point at the bottom on which it spins. The other end is flattened to create a target for the other players.
The spinning top’s string, called “Lua” in the Mong language, is made of linen, is more than a meter long, and is fastened at one end to a Pa, a thumb-sized twig between 40 and 60 cm long.
The game is played on any open, flat area which is large enough to accommodate a crowd of cheering spectators.
There are many ways to play Tu Lu and the rules differ by region.
During the festival, 16 teams compete following the “Tàu tùa” rules.
Mong girls get dressed for the festival.
Each contest pits two teams of two players against each other. One player spins his top and an opponent throws his top in an attempt to knock over the first top.
Each contest consists of 3 rounds, with the contestants getting further and further apart. The third and also the last round is the biggest challenge, requiring great strength and accuracy to hit the other top. This is the most exciting round and draws the most attention.
Contestants are always strong players with a lot of experience. But as a casual entertainment young and old can all participate to the delight of the audience.
A contest of grinding rice to make Day cakes is also held at the festival.
The 2023 Son Tra Flower Festival draws crowds of locals and tourists.

Tu Lu spinning top, a folk game of the Mong

(VOVWORLD) - When Tet or traditional lunar New Year comes, Mong ethnic people are excited for their traditional festivals where they play folk games. Preserved as a unique cultural feature of the Mong, Tu Lu, a traditional version of spinning tops, is the most popular. Although it is easy to play, it requires players to have good physical strength, ingenuity, and accuracy.

Tran Long, VOV correspondent in the northwest