Sapa Festivals – The Best Highlight Of Your Vietnam Tour
Locating in Western North of Vietnam, Sapa is a mountainous area of Lao Cai province — a modest and quiet land but containing many miracle and wonderful things of natural scenes as well as its culture. The place is definitely one of the most stunning highlights of any Vietnam holiday. Visitors are not only attracted by its charming and picturesque beauty but they also love this land because of its plentiful festivals. Like many others, we were so excited to discover these amazing things in Sapa and now, to show you our experience.
Sapa is known as a land of festivals which perform both ritual ceremony and interesting entertainment activities. In this blog, Asia Charm Tours will introduce to you 2 distinctive festivals of ethnic groups in Sapa.
1. Gầu Tào Festival
Gầu Tào festival of Mông ethnic minority has recently become one of the most favorite excursion tours to Northern mountainous areas of Vietnam, especially to foreign travelers.
Blessing: A family which does not have children or have few children will organize a ritual to ask for the magician’s permission to hold “Gầu tào” festival in the hope of having children.
Health: One who is sick or have weak or dead children, dying harvest and animals also ask for magician’s permission to hold “ Gầu tào” festival
Time: From 1st to 15th of January according to Lunar calendar
After the magician’s part and ritual procedure, everyone gathers to the land holding the festival. The family builds up the tents for elderly to eat and celebrate. The most flat ground is for children to play “quay”. Other spaces are supposed to organize games:
“ Khèn” dancing
Singing and dancing
2. Spring Dance Festival (Lễ Tết nhảy)
It is a Red Dao’s Festival.
The Red Dao invokes their ancestors to bless a happy and healthy new year for everyone in the families, a good weather to have excellent crops and a year without diseases for their cattle and poultry.
Time: 7 am — 7 pm, mostly on the 1st or the 2nd day of Tet holiday, very few happen on the 3rd day.
Firstly, a group of people will perform 14 dance moves to invite the ancestors and gods to attend the festival. Different dances with different purposes (i.e. inviting the ancestors, inviting the gods, inviting the angels…) have different figures.
After that is the ancestors’ statue greeting ceremony. Ancestors’ statue is the unique sculpture work of the Red Dao. The statue is sculptured sophisticatedly with the ancient costume. The statue is 20–25 cm in length; the body’s diameter is 5 cm. The right hand of the statue holds a tablet with the name of the ancestor on it. In the common days, it is enclosed by white cloth. In the festival, the descendants wash the statue and change the cloth. The water to wash the statue is the fragrant water made from the “sum mụ” tree bark.
Next is the chicken offering ceremony. 4 people will perform the dance to offer the chicken to the ancestors as well as the gods.
Finally, the flag dance takes place.
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