A whale is a kind of fish having big shape. The biggest one 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 in the coast of South Vietnam believe that all whales are a god. They call all whales are 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. Whale Festival in Bac Lieu happens on the ninth and the tenth of January of the lunar calendar. In the festival, people offer offerings to Gentleman, eat and drink, then enjoy opera until late in the evening.
Whale Festival in Bac Lieu, the important and meaningful ceremony is Gentleman Greeting Ceremony. The ceremony starts at the whale mausoleum. People walk across Ganh Hao Town. The group includes lion team going firstly, clarinet secondly, ceremony boys thirdly, palanquin fourthly, soldier team fifthly, elegant girl team finally.
Motorboats decorated flags, flowers and banners were waiting for the group greeting the whale. It gets on a boat and goes to the sea in order to carry out ceremony praying to the Gentleman for coming back to the land. In the ceremony, people free millions of shrimps in the sea. The boats returns, the group continue taking Gentleman to the temple. Along the street, the lion team dances excitingly. The sound of drums and bells broadcasts continuously. People stand two sides of the streets shouting for fun.
Whale Festival in Bac Lieu is one of the biggest traditional folk festivals in the province. If you have a chance to come to Bac Lieu in January of the lunar calendar, do not miss Whale Festival.
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