Update: 14:52 | 18/09/2018
An ancient wrestling ritual in north Vietnam is one of the world’s most extraordinary traditions, the National Geographic reports.
Young men compete in a marsh to grasp the ball during the three-day festival at Van Village in Bac Giang Province. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
The ball wrestling festival at Van village, in the northern province of Bac Giang's Viet Yen District, is held from the 12th to the 14th of the fourth lunar month every four years.
It commemorates the victory of four brothers - Truong Hong, Truong Hach, Truong Lung
The festival features ancient rituals and spiritual beliefs of wet rice civilizations, with local farmers praying for bumper crops and good weather for the rice season.
The 20kg ball used in the game is made of ironwood. It has been kept in the communal house from generation to generation. According to spirituality, each push of the ball into the pit symbolizes the harmony of the earth and heaven, good weather and bumper harvest.
“Reenacting the soldiers who served a village's protecting gods, these men wrestle with a wooden ball in a centuries-old festival,”