The Whale Worshiping festival (known as Cau Ngu in Vietnamese) took place on February 21st (the 16th of the first lunar month) in Sam Linh Tay village, Nui Thanh district, Quang Nam province with hundreds of participants.
This traditional festival is usually held by fishermen in the coastal central region and includes a chain of activities such as Whale Worshiping ritual, peace-praying ceremony, and other cultural and sports events. Fishermen launch paper flower garlands to sea to pray for the dead and honour the god of the sea. Then elderly fishermen carry a sedan from the sea to the beach.
Ms. Huynh Thi My Dung, Deputy Chairwoman of Tam Quang Commune People's Committee said: "There are 172 fishing boats in Tam Quang commune with a capacity of over 90CV operated in two traditional fishing grounds of Paracel and Spratly Islands of Vietnam". She also shared that besides the spiritual element, Cau Ngu festival also aims to encourage the spirit of solidarity among fishermen.
The earliest edition of Cau Ngu was held in 1893 in Thanh Khe village, home to 3,200 fishermen. It takes place on the 16th day of the first lunar month of the year, which is also the start of the fishing season. Most fishermen go to sea as soon as it ends.
On the same day, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism presented the National Intangible Heritage certificate for the Whale Worshipping festival to the central city of Da Nang.
Director of the Da Nang Department of Culture and Sports Huynh Van Hung stated that he festival is seen as a precious cultural asset for the spiritual life of the people and fishing, a key trade for Da Nang. “We will promote the festival as a major annual cultural landmark of the city to attract tourists to experience the longest ritual of the fishing community in Da Nang", Hung said.
By Linh Bui