Tens of thousands of locals in the northern mountainous province of Tuyen Quang as well as tourists flocked to Chiem Hoa district on February 4 to join the Long Tong festival, a unique and most typical agricultural festival of the Tay, a big ethnic minority group in the locality.
Celebrated annually between the 1st and 15th days of the lunar new year, the festival is a religious ritual dedicated to the god of agriculture to win his blessing for verdant crops and prosperity for villagers throughout the year.
Held in a large harvested field in the middle of the village, Long Tong requires major preparations before the lunar new year. Families in the village are assigned different duties, the most important of which is preparing the offering tray. The offerings include a boiled capon, a boiled pig head, some grilled fish, two plates of sticky rice dyed red and yellow, and two cons.
Con is a small ball made from pieces of colourful cloths sewn together and stuffed with puffed rice and cotton seeds. Con is also decorated with gaudy cloth tassels.
Long Tong consists of three main parts: offering ritual which includes a water procession, ploughing ceremony and folk game playing.
Tay ethnic community in Tuyen Quang comprises about 160,000 people, accounting for 24 percent of the province’s population.
The Long Tong forms part of nearly 8,000 festivals held across the country in a year. Of the total, 88.36 percent are traditional festivals, while 6 percent are religious festivals and 4 percent are historical festivals.VNA