Unique festival to pray for bumper crops of Dao people in Son Dong

Update: 09:07 | 19/05/2019

(BGO) - Among the ethnic groups living in Son Dong district of Bac Giang province, the Dao people have unique cultural features reflected in their daily lives and through folk festivals, songs and melodies, dances, stories, proverbs and puzzles ... In particular, the festival to pray for bumper crops - a folk festival with typical cultural and belief nuances is still maintained today.

The festival aims to pray for good weather and bumper harvests. It is an opportunity to thank the heaven, earth and gods for giving the people a warm and happy life. As usual, the festival is held every three years on the edge of the village where a temple worshipping the God of the Earth is located.

Unique festival, bumper crops, Dao people, Son Dong, Bac Giang province, ethnic groups, unique cultural features, folk festival, God of the Earth

The festival to pray for bumper crops of the Dao people is staged.

Before the festival, people repair and clean their houses, ancestor altars, and the temple. The offerings donated by families in the village include a chicken, a wine bottle, a rice bowl and money. The chief and the old man of the village are responsible for all the work when the festival takes place.

The worshipping rituals in the festival take place solemnly and the shamans are invited to perform the rituals in line with the local customs. Each shaman does his own task.

One calls the Jade Emperor, one calls the God of the Earth to witness, and another dances and plays instruments. When performing the rituals, there must be tools such knives, hammers, hoes and sickles which are associated with agricultural life of the people.

The shamans beg the Jade Emperor, the village founder and the God of the Earth to help the villagers enjoy a year with good weather and bumper crops as well as pray for peace, health and wealth to all people in the village. They also wish buffaloes, cows, pigs and chickens to grow fast and children to go to school.

During the festival, the shamans use the ritual singing style - one of Pao Dung folk songs to run the rituals. With the solemn ceremonial songs, the shamans, on behalf of the villagers, send the prayers of descendants to ancestors and the gods who come to witness the ceremony.

The worshipping ceremony takes place continuously during the festival. The shamans read Ban Ho story - a folk poem about the origin of the Dao people for all attendees to help them remember their origin. According to the custom, while the shamans work, people must keep a vegetarian diet to show their respect for their ancestors and the gods.

The festival sees the presence of not only the Dao people in the villages but also many delegations of visitors from all parts of the country, so it is very exciting. At the festival, there is a custom of singing to offer wine and feature four seasons...

Especially, the quiz songs show the thinking, intelligence, and experience of the Dao people in daily life very clearly. They quiz each other about the weather of the year, animals, flowers and four seasons... The lyrics are concise, requiring the co-singer to have a certain understanding to respond promptly.

Along with the Pao Dung lyrics, during the festival, there is also a dance to pray for bumper crops. The dancing group has 16 people, including 8 men and 8 women, dance in a circle. 

Amid the peaceful space of Son Dong mountain and forest, the sweet, tormenting and high-faluting Pao Dung lyrics are blended together with the deep trumpet sounds spreading into the space of the mountain and forest, and the hearts of the people, making the Dao people’s festival have its own characteristics that all participating people cannot forget.

The men hold long sticks while the women hold baskets with seeds. They both dance and distribute seeds, describing the process of seeds turning into trees which then produce fruits.

Amid the peaceful space of Son Dong mountain and forest, the sweet, tormenting and high-faluting Pao Dung lyrics are blended together with the deep trumpet sounds spreading into the space of the mountain and forest, and the hearts of the people, making the Dao people’s festival have its own characteristics that all participating people cannot forget.

The festival to pray for bumper crops of the Dao people in Son Dong clearly shows the education, the inheritance of cultural quintessence, and the sense of the nation’s origin. It is a cultural beauty in the life of ethnic minorities that needs to be preserved and promoted.

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