Mekong Delta (Nine Dragon River Delta, called shortly The West) has the area of 40,548.2km2. It includes 12 provinces and 1 big city. Those are Long An, Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Ben Tre, Dong Thap, Tra Vinh, An Giang, Can Tho, Hau Giang, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Kien Giang, Ca Mau and Can Tho City.
Three hundred years ago, this region was almost wild and has many fierce animals. This place has an interlacing river system. It also has many ethnic groups living such as Khmer, Teochew, Kinh. All makes this region have a specific cultural color. In this article sphere, we mention traditional folk festivals in Mekong Delta. There are ten festivals we think being the most famous.
1. Chua Xu Lady Festival:
The festival happens from the twenty-third to the twenty-seven of April on the lunar calendar at Chu Xu Lady Temple at the foot of Mount Sam in Nui Sam Ward, Chau Doc City, An Giang Province.
Chua Xu Lady Festival shows a deep grateful heart of the western people to Chua Xu Lady, the goddess whom they think that she helped local people in the beginning time reclaiming wasteland. In addition, it shows wish to have a peaceful and comfortable life of the people of the river and water region.
2. Ok-Om-BoK Festival:
Ok-Om-BoK Festival, also called Moon Offering Festival is traditional folk festival has existed for a very long time of Khmer people in Mekong Delta, especially 2 Tra Vinh and Soc Trang Provinces. The festival happens every year on the fifteen of October on the lunar calendar.
In Khmer people‘s opinion, this is the last day of the moon moving around the earth and also the time finishing the crop of one year. Offering the moon purposes to show deep gratitude to the Moon-god protecting and helping the drop develop.
3. Sen Dolta Festival:
Sen Dolta Festival or Phchum Ben festival is a tradition of Khmer people. It happens for three days, from the twenty-ninth of July to the first of August on the lunar calendar. The festival held aims to show deep gratitude to the ancestor, grandparents and parents, pray for dead people and ask good luck for living people.
4. Chol Chnam Thmay Festival:
Chol Chnam Thmay Festival is the New Year Holiday on ancient calendar of Khmer people. It happens in 3 days (4 days for leap year) in about mid-April on the solar calendar.
The festival aims to show the gratitude of people to ancestor, grandparents and parents, the love of relatives and friends. It helps people look back the old year and think of the coming year to have a better life.
5. Binh Thuy Temple Festival:
Binh Thuy Temple or Long Tuyen Ancient Temple is on National Highway 91, in Binh Thuy Ward, Binh Thuy District, 5 km from the center of Can Tho City.
The temple worships Thanh Hoang (the god having duty controlling a village) and many other gods. In addition t, the temple worships national heroes of Vietnam such as Dinh Cong Trang, Nguyen Trung Truc, Bui Huu Nghia and so on.
Every year local People organize Ha Dien Festival and Thuong Dien Festival.
-Ha Dien Festival (Crop Beginning Festival) is held on 12th, 13th, 14th of April of the lunar calendar yearly. The ceremonies aim to pray to Thanh Hoang for helping crop developed.
-Thuong Dien Festival (Crop Finishing Festival) occurs on 14th, 15th of December of the lunar calendar yearly. After harvesting crop, people hold this festival to show their gratitude to Thanh Hoang god who makes crops developed. This is also an opportunity for everybody relaxed.
6. Katina Festival :
Katina Festival (Frock offering festival of Khmer people) is one of the most famous folk festivals in Soc Trang Province. It is organized for 1 month, after three-month period relaxing and training of monks. It starts from 15-9 to 15-10 of the lunar calendar. Its purpose is showing the gratitude of Buddhists to Buddha and monks and praying for peace and happiness of villages.
7. Whale Festival:
A whale is fish kind having big shape. The biggest is 3,000 kg heavy. They live in the main sea. When having big wave and strong wind, they usually save people from danger. People on the coast of South Vietnam believe that all whales are a god. They call all whales is Gentleman (Ong in Vietnamese) and establish temples to worship Gentleman. Every year they hold festivals to show the deep gratitude and pray to Gentleman for helping them have a peaceful and developed life. In Bac Lieu Province, the whale Festival happens on the ninth and the tenth of January on the lunar calendar.
8. Coconut Offering Festival:
Legend says that once upon a time, in An Trach village, suddenly coming up a mound as a gong. Anybody stepped on it, the sound broadcasting. This phenomenon gradually disappeared. Khmer people thought that was a supernatural power, so they established the temple to worship.
Every year, people in An Trach village (Chau Thanh, Soc Trang) hold That-Kon Festival (in Khmer language That-Kon means gong stepping). This festival is also called Coconut Offering Festival because the offerings in the festival are mainly coconuts. The festival happens on March 15-17 on the lunar calendar in Mahasalp Thatmon. The Coconut Offering Festival aims to pray for having a good harvest and peaceful life.
9. Seven-Mountain Ox Racing Festival:
Seven-Mountain Ox Racing Festival in Seven-Mountain area, An Giang Province is a festival of Khmer people in Mekong Delta. It is the festival containing folk color and is a unique sport. The racing ox kind in the Festival is Seven-Mountain ox kind. Seven-Mountain Ox Racing Festival is organized the same time as Sen Dolta Festival (from 29-8 to 1-9 on the lunar calendar).
10. Tong On Festival:
Tong On Festival (the festival driving away epidemic diseases) happens at pagodas or temples in locals such as Can Tho, Vinh Long, Long An, An Giang and so on. The festival in these places does not happen at the same time, usually in mid-January. In the period of breaking wild land, there were many epidemic diseases harming people. The people in South Vietnam thought that ghosts and devils cause those. Therefore, they carried out Tong On Festival to drive away the ghosts and devils. Above, we introduced ten of the most famous traditional folk festivals in Mekong Delta. If you have the chance of traveling to Mekong Delta, do not forget to join these festivals.